15 września 2005

 

Grey Baloon Deflates

None of you read Tucson Scene, do you?

Tucson Scene is a blog that covers local music from more of a fan's perspective than the much more professional Tucson Underground. Both are excellent, and both have at one point or another asked be to write for them. I didn't for various reasons that have to do with my personality and laziness.

Tucson Scene is headed up by James Hudson, who can usually be seen at shows as the guy in the suit with the camera. The empress of Tucson Underground is Cia Romano, who can be seen at shows dressed like a gypsy with a far more expensive camera.


Anyhow, Tucson Scene has a blogger/columnist named Grey Baloon. This name is probably a reference to a novel I have never read. Maybe one by someone hip like Dave Eggers.

Grey Baloon is quite contraversial, he has, at various times, sent arrows, nay, cruise missles at just about every local act of any consequence. His writing is good, but, unfortunately he seemed to waste his talent on smarmy personal vitriol. His smart alecky attacks led to an equally smart alecky response from producer Craig Schumacher. (If Schumacher sends a verbal assault your way, are you being heckled?)

By the way, his writing has a sexist tinge to it. He made a bizarre personal attack on Neko Case, and his reviews of the excellent Sweat Band seem to revolve entirely around the fact that the band is fronted by a pair of attractive women.

For a while, I thought that the guy was a joke, some put up job by webmaster Hudson. Apparently, he's for real. Today, he outed himself, sort of, and is apparently about to get fired from his day job for his posts:
The time has come for me to confess my identity: I am actually a priest. Why confess now? I accidentally left an unsigned draft of my blog in the rectory of our church, and now I’m in some trouble.
Apparently "the church" is Hotel Congress. There is also a reference to a "bishop" (Richard Oseran?) and a "church secretary". He also makes a bizarre attack on a "sleazy priest" who is "jealous of me", who could only be Sidewinders frontman Dave Slutes. Bear in mind, I don't think Slutes is sleazy or jealous (except of Josh Rose), but it just seems that the other "clues" in the post point that way. Given his tone and his words, it's hard to take any the strange charges Baloon makes in the post seriously, especially if my guess as to who Mr. Baloon is is true.


Mr. Baloon has a good point burried under the poisoned cream pies he likes to throw. There is a bit of smugness present in those that are "in" compared to those that are "out." This happens in every "scene," heck, I see it in local politics too. I don't think it is as severe as it could be though. I'm basically a social mutant, but I'm pretty much accepted by the "scenesters," even if I don't consider myself one. One thing that has helped is that my brother lives in the same neighborhood with people like Howe Gelb and Emily Marchand (see, now I'm name dropping), enabling him to act as a sort of "ward boss" for them when they want something from local government. This means I get to hang with these folks too. Tucson is a strange world where Tom, of all people, helps me to get in with the cool kids.

There is a bit of incestiousness though. Baloon crystalized this most articulately when he complained that any show featuring Galactic Federation of Love, The Fashionistas or Naim Amor seemed to have the same audience, composed of people who were in whichever two of the bands wasn't playing. He refered to this "crowd of 30" as "The Galactic Fashionistas of Amor." True, I was at Surly Wench one night and was suprised to see Neko Case and Tasha Bundy in a place they normally would not be seen in. Turned out that Naim Amor was playing that night with Al Foul.

Also, this can result in thinking that what you are doing is far more important and popular than what it is, and you can miss some great things. For example, one of the most popular local bands is The Bled. They rated a small article in Entertainment Weekly, have a CD out, and are far more likely to fill a room than, say, Greyhound Soul. No invite to the Club Congress Anniversary though, no mention in High and Dry. Why is that? They play at Skrappy's, a teen club that is of course, not frequented by cool scenesters who like to drink. (By the way, there is a Rock en Español scene that is mostly cover bands right now but is on the verge of being huge here, right down the street from Hotel Congress at Shark's...no cool scenesters there)


So, now you ask, "Ted, why all this detail, I really don't care..." (Elizabeth Rogers is asking this)

Well, there is also another point. Baloon wrote well, and given his job, had an excellent view of what was going on. The trouble is, it seemed he had a huge chip on his shoulder. This colored everything. Instead of his writing being valid and needed criticism of what was going on, it just came off as the rantings of a small man who wanted to piss in the Kool-Aid of the cool kids. This made what he said totally useless.

It can be easy to do this when you blog, since you can send out the very first thing that pops into your head to the entire planet with no one saying, "eh...hold on..." Most of us have some degree of anonymity, making it easy to say whatever the heck we want. We bloggers have to be careful to keep all of this in balance, or else we end up being just spit ball throwing nitwits.


Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Comments:
Hey, the detail was annoying but that point was very sharp. The "In" crowd thing is so irratating especially when you do something and they all copy you after mocking you for it.
 
you mentioned my hubby's name! Wow, Ted---I take it to mean I am special?

And you must tell me who Grey Balloon is...i want to know.
 
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