Sunday, May 02, 2010

On becoming literate, part two

In my teen years, I became addicted to rock and roll. I bought CDs by the handful. I took up drums. I started collecting band discographies--first The Who, then Led Zeppelin, then Pink Floyd. I’d visit the library to borrow and read every rock and roll history book they had. Rock music even infiltrated my hockey world - I developed the superstition of listening to Live at Leeds before every game (goalies being the superstitious type). The time and energy I'd once spent on Doug Gilmour, Damien Cox, and developing my butterfly technique was now being spent on David Gilmour, Dave Marsh, and developing my drum roll.

When my family got an Internet connection, I spent most of my web time reading three websites: Mark's Record Reviews, George Starostin’s Music Reviews, and CosmicBen's Record Reviews (at least when I wasn't as updating my wrestling column). As their titles would suggest, these websites were one-man operations, dedicated to reviewing albums both past and present. Prindle, who still keeps at it, had the wackiest style of writing I'd ever seen: off-the-cuff, stream-of-consciousness reviews that somehow always seemed to pick out the soul of an album. Starostin, a Russian writing in English, was amazing for his productivity; at one point, the guy seemed to be churning out multiple 1,000-plus word reviews daily. And CosmicBen was an insightful and intelligent critic with none of the pretentious, holier-than-thou attitude that still occasionally plagues more widely read music sites. These idiosyncratic and passionate writers gave me an education in rock music and music writing that I couldn't get anywhere else.

So I decided to be one of them. Sometime late in 1998, when I was seventeen, I launched my own personal music review site: Rock Is Dead - Long Live Rock. At the time, I owned about 100 CDs. Over the next five years, I published over 120 album reviews, sixteen concert reviews, five shorts stories, six short essays, and a series of fast food restaurant reviews. I updated inconsistently, my prose was riddled with typos and grammatical errors, and some of the opinions I spouted were just plain stupid. It’s painful for me to read some of what I wrote then now. Still, I had the occasional bit--a paragraph, a sentence, a word--that I can look back on with pride. I took the site down from the Internet when I got my first full-time job in journalism. This time, though, I backed up the files.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dani Ursi said...

Marco, great blog and I'm glad you're writing again. However, you were 15 in '98, not 17 (although you seemed like it).

Your sis,

Dani :)

4:38 PM  
Blogger Marco Ursi said...

Hmmm, you're right. I don't know what the math is! Maybe I started in 2000...

2:45 PM  
Blogger Marco Ursi said...

Hmmm, you're right. I don't know what the math is! Maybe I started in 2000...

2:45 PM  

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