As I grew up, grew my hair, taught myself guitar and dreamt about being in a famous band, I had one rather odd music-related foible.
This quirk was that I refused to listen to any Led Zeppelin. Sure I knew some of their more famous songs but I staunchly refused to listen to anything else and in my burgeoning LP and CD collection of rock and heavy metal any other fan of those genres would cast their eye over them and ponder why the obvious gap under “L”.
It was quite simple in my young mind, I was tired of reading reviews of bands I liked where every journalist writing the piece would describe certain songs as Zeppelin-esque. In my mind, if my songs became popular and some reviewed them with that lazy hack term I would be able to turn around and say “no, a-ha, I never listened to Zeppelin therefore what I’ve produced is my own work, without any direct influence from the band you mention. I am brilliant and original.”
Then at 18, looking through a second hand shop’s wares I found a double-CD set of Zeppelin’s greatest hits for £7 – I’d spited my own ears for long enough and besides journalists will write what they want anyway.
If you look to the right of this piece you’ll see my blogroll of some blogs I like.
The frequency that these blogs are updated varies wildly and some are archival bits of useful info more than up-to-date musings.
Some of the authors I follow on twitter and am therefore more likely to know when they’ve published a new piece, though sometimes timings are out and I’m sometimes only made aware by someone else’s retweet.
Truth be told there are about 5 blogs on that list I actually make a point of reading, or at least click on once a week to check for updates.
Those blogs aren’t necessarily better, more entertaining or more knowledgeable than the others on the list (and the many others out there) they just appeal to me more. But every time I read a new piece I always hope they aren’t going to cover the same(ish) ground of a blog I’ve been working on.
Granted blogs (and vlogs and podcasts) are all about having a larger conversation, about exchanging ideas and usually responding to something you may fundamentally disagree with but there is a hell of a lot of white noise out there. This blog is far from anything resembling good but it is at least mine.
My problem is I’ve listened to far too many podcasts and read far too many new blogs whose style seem to follow a pattern based on those who are perceived to be leaders in the field.
They are cold, banal and trite. Cookie-cutter fodder, following the formulae laid out as when one Led Zeppelin becomes successful there are then another dozen copycats riffing in their footsteps.
It dilutes the well while also elevating mediocrity to unnecessarily high levels and this then impacts on everyone’s ability to read, write and critique with any effective objectivity and impartiality.
Write, blog and talk from your heart and head. Not from you wallet.
Thanks for reading.