“Conscious Estrangement”: I am linking to this because it’s very nice about me, oh yes, but also because I don’t quite agree. Firstly I don’t think ‘we’ have had any impact beyond the individual level – it’s flattering to dream otherwise but visitor stats suggest that these sites are a tiny, if well-regarded, concern. I also don’t agree, though, that music is a ‘neutral commodity’, even if it seems like we write about it as such. A small but persistent thread of writing on ILM, for instance, involves the contradictions of being in love with product whose existence does seem to rely on very large and possibly very unpleasant corporations.

If Freaky Trigger is anything – and this wasn’t even in my head when I started it – it’s a way of providing an answer to that question. I didn’t really want to write about pop as an alternative to writing about ‘indie’, I wanted to write about pop as an alternative to what was already being written about pop, both the dismissive coverage accorded it by ‘proper’ music critics and the PR-controlled vacuity of entertainment industry mags, neither of which seemed to have much of a grip on what someone listening to a pop song might be thinking or feeling or doing.

I wanted to write about pop, in other words, as if it meant something to some people: I don’t know if I’ve been successful in this but it’s always nice to find readers who have enjoyed the attempts. But this has never been the same as approving or enjoying the “pop industry” and its wiles and ways. Maybe pop music’s status as a high-turnover commodity and its status as something people – like me! – relate to aren’t at all separable, but we won’t know unless we start by pretending they might be. (You see, I do believe in the “Indie Dream” really!)

(One reason I’m talking about this again is that I’m doing a long e-mail interview and need to think this stuff through more. But also another reason is that I realised there is probably an element of ‘taint’, for me, in professional music writing, at least in writing about very public and easily available music. If a goal of mine is to try and get people to relate to music as if it wasn’t a commodity. attempting to get paid for doing so would seem counter-productive.)

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