Ottawa, Canada
December 15
Greetings! I am a terminal music fan who will be writing about my life as a concertgoer from 1975 to the present. It’s about the music but also about the lives lived along with it. Many entries will feature a scan of the original ticket as well as a recollection of each gig as a whole experience rather than simply being a description of the performance. Therefore, this blog will be a mixture of memoir, concert review, music history, and philosophical musing. Concurrently, I will be writing about shows that I am seeing in the present. Thanks to Cublet for artwork assistance. **** I’m on Facebook ( mylifeinconcert) ... and have just launched a YouTube channel, VATV ( I also re/cross-post on my stand-alone blog ( Non-OS members who wish to comment can do so over at that site. *****

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JUNE 3, 2011 8:44AM

One Year Anniversary on Open Salon ... Crivens!

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One Year Anniversary on Open Salon via Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols  

You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

From Once In A Lifetime” by the Talking Heads (1980)

It's one year after my first posting on Open Salon and, as unfashionable as this is to say right now, I'm rather happy I stumbled into the joint and that it continues to exist.

As for how I discovered it, heres a funny thing: I was aware of OSs existence for close to two years without it even occurring to me to click on the tab for it. Why? I began reading big Salon in the late 90s and voyeuristically scanned the Letters that accompanied most of the articles. At times, I would be rather amused by the surplus of white-hot grousing found there but, overall, I became increasingly bored and saddened by it all. I found a significant portion of the regular letter writers to be one-note, marinating-in-hostility contrarians who appeared to have little else to do with their lives but sit a computer 24/7 trashing everything and everyone in sight for no apparent reason other than spite and their own unhappiness.

Many are still there and I wouldnt dare mention their names so as to give them any further recognition. Lots of people on OS read those same letters AND YOU KNOW THE VARIOUS HOTHEADS THAT I SPEAK OF!!!!!! (wink)

I envisioned that this Open Salon place would merely be the Salon Letters pages writ large. And, as we all know, occasionally it is, but let's not go there. Overwhelmingly, the people I have personally interacted with here are terrific.

I eventually ended up at OS via a Google link and, once I realized where I had landed, started digging around and was surprised and impressed by what I found.  There was lots of interesting writing and entries with a variety of tones and perspectives.

Concurrently, I had been wanting to return to writing for some time but wanted a focus.  It was when I discovered rosycheeks peerless blog detailing her fascinating life story that I got the idea of writing a series of some sort. I knew that I didnt want to write a Whats On My Mind Today kind of thing because others are doing it and doing it well, so I really had my heart set on an ongoing project with a theme. I thought on it, waiting for the right idea to hit me, and then one day as I stood in our kitchen in the winter of 2010, I looked at my framed concert ticket collages and presto: there was my idea.

After spending a few months writing, researching, defining parameters, and creating a backlog, I felt pleased enough with the results to hit that daunting "Update" button for the first time. I now realize that this  exercise is going to take years to complete, be it here or elsewhere. Oh well. I like a challenge. And besides, it keeps me off the streets.

My plan was to build things one step at a time, trying to come in through the textual back door as quietly as possible. I knew I was taking on a topic that did not have wide appeal but felt there would be a niche for a certain group of persons who might be interested.

The idea was that I would gradually inch into a groove and tone for the series as I went along and that, over time, the kind of person who would be into what Im writing about would eventually stumble onto what I was doing and, if they enjoyed it, would realize it was part of a series and might go back and read the predecessors. Slow and methodical was/is my mantra. I think that slow and methodical are underrated.

It appears to have happened to some degree as its in the weeks and months after publishing that the numbers really start to accumulate, and they all seem to go up fairly in sync. I'm pleased.

It didnt, however, go exactly as planned as I was stunned to get a comment on my Introduction posting right off the bat, courtesy of fellow-music-fanatic lschmoopie. I truly thought it would take multiple entries before I got any kind of feedback or views, so this pleasantly threw me off. When I got a few more on that post (a few of which are now erased with the members departure), I took that as an unexpected encouraging sign. So, thanks to rosy for the inspiration and thanks to lschmoopie for all your support (I think I speak for many here on OS in saying weve missed your writing and warm presence and are looking forward to your ongoing return).

I also realize that I may not be making the process easy. Its said that blog writing should have an instantaneous, in the now pulse, whereas I am largely writing about the past with the idea that it will be read at some point in the future. Theres not a lot of today in my writing, but ... sometimes I think we may just have too much instant in our world. In a home of hares, I stubbornly remain a tortoise.

Blogs are also supposed to be brief and immediate, but those of you seeking out something short and concise are SOL with mine! I guess I see each entry more as a chapter, although I'm getting better at divvying the larger ones up. Besides, long(er)-form writing is one of the specific components I wanted to explore with this project. I realize that Im sacrificing some potential readers with that as a key ingredient, but that's how it goes. Id rather have a smaller audience based on what it is I do want to do rather than a bigger one based on what I dont. One cant be all things to all people and the project has to be satisfying on a personal level. Just call me the Anti-Twitter.

So for those of you who have stuck with me through some dense writing, I bow to your patience and support and am honoured by your taking the time to read and energy to comment.

I guess I could talk about the tiring dust-ups, the excess of meta, and an over-fetishization of EPs to the detriment of seemingly everything else, but ... another time.

I will say this: it is my sincerest hope that I am successfully balancing the detail-oriented aspects with a warm, human touch. The head must be tempered by empathy, a generosity of spirit, and humour.

Especially humour. And plain old comic absurdity and irreverence. I think that a love or appreciation of the ludicrous and nonsensical and sometimes downright playful silliness can be a transgressive act of resistance against the tyrannical, po-faced forces of miserablism constantly working toward erasing joy from our world. I know that in real life, if you dont have a skewed, developed sense of humour or cannot confidently laugh at yourself sometimes (which is a very different beast from self-loathing and self-hatred), I doubt were going to get along. Having a good laugh is a sorely undervalued and uniquely human experience.

Shout outs of appreciation also go to Yserba Berrington/Kevin, Scarlett Sumac, dirndl skirt/Sharon, Abrawang, ChillerPop, Algis and The Wizard of OS herself, Linda Seccaspina, for your support along with a number who were here at the beginning but have since left the site, and all else who have taken the time to read or comment. I also wish Patricia S. would return and write more art pieces. I'm an art groupie by nature and loved her entries.

Love'n'thanks also to Cublet, MZ, Ms. P, and VA Jr. for your help and contributions.

On a more serious note, Yserba/Kevin's recovery is proving challenging so let's keep him in our thoughts.

Here's to Year Two.

 And now, some silliness: 

 © 2011 VariousArtists

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Happy 1st Various. I'm glad you eventually clicked the link. I've enjoyed your music posts and over the weekend I'll go back to read a few of the earlier ones from before I started reading you. Keep up the good work and thanks for the enjoyable reads and listens.
I am going to tell kevin about this when I talk to him today. Yep, let us keep him in our thoughts please. I cannot believe he is still in the hospital..:(
Good post and through OS I made a new friend.
Thats what it is all about Alfie isnt it??:)
Linda gives the BEST cyber hugs, but I'm puckering up for a big smooch,VA! Your first post is the one that introduced me to Open Salon when I got curious to see if anyone else had a concert ticket collection to rival ours. But it is your witty, detailed concert memoirs that keep me coming back for more. I wish my memory was half as good as yours! You've also expanded my cd collection considerably as I learn more about the punk scene where I have such a learning deficit. Did you know Iggy & The Stooges are coming to San Francisco--and I can't go! Wah! I've found a kindred soul in you and a few others here. Now pucker up baby: MWAH--much love to you & yours from California to Canada. I'm baaaack!
Oh, and happy anniversary!
Glad you're sharing your "holiday in the sun." I think we should have drinks in Ottawa this summer. Btw, I'd take SOL with a longer intelligent blog, any day!
Abrawang: Thanks so much and please come back. Lots more to come.

Linda: Likewise linda. And a Bacharach/David reference is always welcome.

lschmoopie: So glad we discovered each other here and I've particularly appreciated your support right from the start. It's cool that we're heading into our second year here together. As for missing Iggy & the Stooges, oh damn. I'm dying to see the reformed band but haven't been able to yet. So glad you're back on OS!

Scarlett: Absolutely. Let me know if you're going to be 'round these parts.
Happy First Anniversary to my fellow anti-twitterer! And "Here's to Rosy!" who inspired me as well, and all the others you mentioned for being who they are :) As for you, VA, I will quote Little Peggy March here: "I Will Follow Him" :)
Congratulations. I'm not much of a music buff, but I do like good writing. I'm embarrassed to say this is my first visit to your blog, but I like your writing style. Cheers to another year! - Chicken Maaan/aka Matt Paust
Happy 1st~

I am psyched to settle down sometime and take a look through some of your older posts. This is my kinda irreverence! (I tried to leave this comment early this AM but no cigar...oh! there's the doorbell, it's past dinnertime but Natty came anyway!) Cheers to year no. 2~
dirndl: "Here's to Rosy" indeed -- and to yourself. Both of your blogs are such evocate personal stories of a place and time. As for Little Peggy March ... did you know I am H U G E fan of the early 60s girl groups and singers -- and Brill Building pop overall? Please continue to follow along ... I'm just getting started. Thanks so much.

Chicken Maaan: Thanks for the Congrats and I love your chicken avatar. And pleased don't be embarrassed for having not visited ... there is so much on OS I can't get to either. There are only so many hours in the day and so much in life to juggle. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by.

Catch-22: Yep, irreverance is a good thing. And I'm so glad Natty Dreadlocks came back for dinner -- tell him I said "Hi" (btw, that song has now been stuck in my head for the last few months after your reminding me of it).
Wow, one entire year and how proud I am to be one of the contributors to this site who made you consider joining us. I can only wish you a second year as successful as this one past and congratulate youon what have always been interesting and thoughtful posts. r
rosycheeks: Since you were my intital inspiration, your congratulations and kind words carry special meaning. Thanks. As always, looking forward to your next entry.
Well Never Mind the Blogging!

VA, all I can say is I'm glad I discovered your blog. It's been constantly entertaining and eerily relevant to some of my own experiences and music fandom. Let's hear it for Year 2!
Happy anniversary! Daisy & I look forward to your fabulous posts. Continue on with the greatness and rock on my friend :)
Chiller: Ah, The Internet: Helping Identify Synchronicity, One Blog at a Time! More relevance coming your way soon. Thanks so much!

poshpudding and, of course, Queen Lepus, Daisy: Glad you're enjoying et merci beaucoup pour les bon mots (Monsieur M serait fier en ce moment!).