Wednesday 1 December 2010

On Music Journalism

One of the joys of what I do is that some of the time I have the chance to write about wonderful music, ranging from the sublime to the bizarre. In the last week, for example, I’ve covered The Sound of Siam, vintage music from the 60s and 70s in Thailand, easily one of the strangest discs I’ve ever heard, Angola Soundtrack, some excellent rock from Angola in the same period (and hard to believe the capital rocked so hard during the war for independence and the ensuing civil war, and Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Ségal’s Chamber Music, a series of duets for the kora (a West African harp) and cello, a disc of intimate beauty.

That I’m paid to listen to and write about this stills amazes me after 17 years of doing it. I’m sent CDs in the hope I’ll review them, so I have a small mountains of music, which can lead to lovely discoveries periodically. I’d have listened to those discs anyway, but perhaps not with the same intensity.

I’m lucky in what I do. I’m lucky to be a writer who makes a living at it (although I do work bloody hard and often long hours). So few do. I have the job I wanted when I was 15, even if it took a few decades to get there. Writing is never a chore for me, it’s a pleasure. Maybe not always an easy pleasure, when words won’t flow quite the way I want, but a joy nonetheless.

What makes it even better is that this particular outlets for me means I combine my two loves, music and writing. I was never good enough as a musician to make it. But I can help those I do believe it to hopefully win a slightly wider audience.

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