A few weeks ago a cool, accomplished peer of mine told me that she doesn’t understand why anyone would want to be a critic – it strikes her merely as a way to put oneself on a pedestal and opine as an authority. However, these voluntary critiques of mine do a lot more than that for me. The opportunity to run my virtual mouth to dozens of like-minded Google searchers a day is appealing, to be sure, but the opportunity to broadcast (narrow-cast, actually) my opinion is just a small part of why maintaining this media outlet is somewhat fulfilling to me.
That conversation made me realize that a lot of people probably don’t “get it,” so, for your benefit, and mine, here are the reasons I’ve kept dayafterdaydc going all this time.
1. Documenting the Scene
The main reason I started the blog is that no one else was doing it. Punk in D.C.’s not dead, it’s vibrant as hell, and it still can be whatever you want it to be. This blog is a way to get the word out. I don’t want to write an essay teaching you about what punk is. Suffice it to say: Get your rules away from me. If I want to write about heavy metal or soft indie or anything else under the rubric of a punk blog, I surely will. To me, that’s punk, and in addition, you don’t need permission for anything, and punk really means being different by being yourself, and the envelope shouldn’t be pushed, it should be ingested. That’s the whole appeal to me – that and the fact that I prefer the musical aesthetic for reasons I can’t fully explain (I think the best explanation is that it validates my ever-boiling hatred, anger, angst, need for speed, etc. – my feelings).
Though punk rock is damn near 40 years old, that initial musical aesthetic and its progeny still appeal to me in a way that few other things do (particularly other aesthetics) – and is 40 years even really that old for an artistic aesthetic / sub-cultural ideology?
I don’t really know, for I formally studied political science, not art history (tell me yr thoughts in the comments!), but for a sub-cultural ideology, it isn’t.
When something better comes along, I’ll be the first in line. I’ve been actively and passively trying to invent that for years, of course.
The DIY thing is great too, in addition to the aural aesthetic, and I guess the fact that I see such a personal, poorly-disseminated endeavor as still offering merit and being a good use of my life places dayafterday squarely in the DIY tradition (FTW).
The music appeals to me in such a compelling way that I’ve spent much of my life immersing myself in it – and I wish I could devote myself to it more, to be sure – and my aesthetic preferences seem to be shared by significant numbers of people (based on the turnout at the shows I go to).
However, these types of music and their attendant subcultures are almost never afforded any respect by the establishment press (or the “hip” alternative press), and I’m not familiar with anyone trying to document the contemporary local scene on an accessible underground level, so I decided to do it myself.
I generally dig the bands/people/scene/community and I want to help people learn about all of the above.
In particular, I want to help kids and young adults like my erstwhile self learn about fun times and fast bands in the big city – in the time in which we’re living. There’s far too much focus on the past.
I like the vast majority of the bands I write about here, and I feel this is a good way to support them.
My favorite bands in D.C. almost never get any press coverage. If you want something done, do it yourself.
Why document the scene? To support it.
2. Providing information
Based on the impressive variety of Google searches that draw people to this site, it is obvious that there is significant public interest in reading about subjects such as “Corpse Fortress parking,” “Nicktape and chicks,” “Ian Svenonius interview,” and “Jen Hauser.”
Where else can all these presumably wretched wretches – hunched over their keyboards as their lives slip away, searching for meaning and squinting into to our modern oracle – turn for information about these and all the related subjects this blog covers so insightfully? Certainly not Wikipedia!
It’s cool to be able to provide legitimate info to the fans, the vain, and the curious potential fans. In a world of marketing, hype, personas and the like, I am happy to provide actual information.
I like the fact that people all over the country (and presumably beyond) looking for info about cool D.C. bands and the state of the contemporary scene can get that information from someone who actually knows something about the underground scene and cares about it.
Also, the site is a potential time-capsule for the future. Think about it.
3. Creative outlet
This aspect of the blog is far more important to me now than ever; it’s actually the most important reason now.
Between the ages of 17 and 29, I was a student journalist and then a professional writer blessed with a steady flow of work as an arts, sports and news reporter and editor – all of which encourages one to write creatively, straining to produce prose which is at once vivid, entertaining, insightful, informative, descriptive and economical.
Even so, in those halcyon days I wanted an outlet where I could raise my freak flag to half-mast half-anonymously. I couldn’t be weird or obnoxious – or write about my friends’ weird, unambitious, unpopular bands – in the newspaper, but I could do that here, for fun.
When the life-sustaining stream of freelance assignments dried up I realized just how exceedingly blessed I was that I’d always found it easy to find journalistic employment after college.
With no work flowing my way, I spiraled down a vortex of debt and madness and sought refuge in a well-appointed office where I currently correct the spelling and grammar of businesspeople and financial analysts. Consequently, I crave a creative outlet.
This blog allows me to write with the verve which must be bleached from my daily assignments.
… I also initially wanted to start this blog to try and do some funny writing which professional journalism often doesn’t encourage. If something on this site seems really weird or dumb to you, it’s probably a joke. Ha, ha!
A lot of dayafterdaydc’s humor is derived from its extreme narcissism. This aspect of the site exists to make fun of and highlight the striking narcissism of the time in which we’re living, as well as to mock my own narcissism (I prefer to call it solipsism).
I also endeavor to treat members of the local D.I.Y. music community as celebrities, an obvious formula for absurdist hilarity, ha ha.
4. Compiling material for a book
I’m hoping to publish a book one day rife with interviews with my favorite local musicians and reviews of local shows. This blog is a rough draft of a book which will likely be no more directly remunerative than its source material, but which will, hopefully, give me more credibility with prospective employers.
5. Putting myself on a pedestal
All I’ve ever wanted in life is to be put in my rightful place.
So that’s it. If the overwhelming narcissism of this piece offends your sensibilities, please remember that it’s all a big joke, much like your life, and mine (just kidding, mine’s a tragedy). See ya in the pit!
Fan response: critics are less useful than even musicians, and I think punk is dead, personally.
Response to response: This is journalism, not criticism.