Today, the nostalgia for pre-Internet life is pervasive. What was it like back then, wandering around in an eternally unknowing state, scrounging for bits of information? Is what we get out of a performance today any different now than it was then? No, it’s the same thing: the need for transcendence, or maybe just a distraction—a day at the beach, a trip to the mountains—from humdrum life, boredom, pain, loneliness. Maybe that’s all performance ever was, really. An unending kiss—that’s all we ever wanted to feel when we paid money to hear someone play.
—Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band
Some music I fall in love with at first hearing, a phenomenon limited to what I've been exposed to culturally and have a natural preference for. Much of the music I love isn't stuff I grew up with. I discovered them by accident—but rarely by ear.
Most came from books.
I wouldn't have known how to understand, how to appreciate, the full body of The Beatles' work without reading Here, There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick, one of two Beatles books I picked up and started perusing while bored at a friend's house as a teenager. I would never have found Sonic Youth if not for Kim Gordon's Girl in a Band, which I bought on impulse after reading her interview in The Happy Reader. She has so much soul. And were it not for Ben Fong-Torres, I would never have discovered Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. These would have all been terrible losses.
Years ago I read a study that found only 6% of self-proclaimed music enthusiasts care about the words in the music they listen to. I am part of that 6%, and in the worst way—it's often words that get me to music in the first place. I cannot separate a melody from the people, their story, their words. The place where my unending kiss begins is inextricably tied to that great totem of pre-internet life: In a book.
Photo Credit: [carlo cravero] via Compfight cc
What is "Inklust"? Boy am I glad you asked. Here's the manifesto: part I and part II.