Hullo all! For a project I am working on which I shall reveal soon(ish), I would like your wise suggestions in four categories:

A: music writers all should read (two parts)
B: music writing all should read (two parts)
C: zone of exchange that all should learn from
D: music-related film or documentary all should see

Eventually there will be polls and everything! (Note: this already went up at LJ on Poptimists, so you can also put answers up there if you like. Also read answers. But it has reached that stupid LJ point — 50 replies in — where the thread folds in on itself. Also NOLJies are afeared, I know, and RIGHTLY SO NO DOUBT…

ANYWAY: the four sections above will entail SIX tranches of nomination, as follows…

1: First, imagine you were inducting a reasonably intelligent outsider, of natural curiosity and openness, into the world of strong, useful, insightful or inspirational writing about music: which FOUR writers would you point them to? (Note: it can be any kind of music AT ALL…)

To start us off, I am going to name nine writers not to bother naming: they get a bye into the poll. DON’T WORRY OR BRIDLE: If you hate them, this is your chance to vote against them! I just want to get a slightly wider pool of potential entrants, really. The nine not to name are: Richard Meltzer, Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs, Jon Savage, Paul Morley, Ian Penman, Richard Cook, Simon Reynolds. ALSO: Don’t name me. I will be all over any project I am involved with. Known and active contributors here or on LJ (me aside) you can of course name, though you’re all kind of a given just by turning up. Since this is the nomination stage, no need actually to nominate anyone or anything already taken care of — though you may wish to state it for the record. (viz “I am not NOMINATING Loyd Grossman’s “A Social History of Rock Music” as it is already nommed, but I wish to note for the record that no finer tome blah blah…”)

2: Now imagine the pool of writers we generally get to see in a “best of music writing”. Which FOUR writers would you like to see added to it that currently don’t get in? (This can be based on a much smaller body of work I think…) Which writers do you think are overlooked or poorly understood? Which writers have an approach — perhaps mainly directed at some “non-popular” music, or indeed some NON-music — which you think would be valuable if others adopted it? (Over on LJ, I see this has been short-handed as “Four writers who AREN’T the Usual Suspects that you’d like to see anthologised” — if you feel terms aren’t being well defined enough, feel free to DEFINE THEM YOURSELVES to SUIT YOUR AGENDA)

re 1&2: Please append to any writers nominated an exemplary work –book, interview, review, sleevenote, whatever, long or short, typical or atypical. Links are very useful!

3: Name SIX books about music that everyone should read. It can be about ANY kind of music. But it can’t be by any of the folk you nominated in 1 or 2 (so yes, you may have to do some juggling to get the results you favour…). If six such books do not yet exist, please say so.

4: Now name FOUR pieces that AREN’T books — can be reviews, blog posts, comments — that everyone should read (they can be collected in books, though needed’t; they just can’t be books). Again: not by any of the folk you named in 1-3.

5: Name THREE zones of debate or discussion that were really hoppin. Thus for example: the Zigzag gossip column 1977-79; the comments threads on the War Against Silence in 2001; the reviews pages of the East Village Eye in 1967… They have to be accessible — so eg not pub discussions on that amazing night or so-and-so’s tutorials when x was in her class; they can be the whole of a magazine across a slice of time; or a website; or whatever you want that fits the bill. This is a question about chemistry of voices, voices that haven’t perhaps been so strong or interesting when divorced from their co-squabblees.

6: Name SIX films or documentaries about music that everyone should see: ; non-fiction; fiction; biopic — whatever. What matters is the question of how they deal with music itself: how they make it the subject, or backdrop, or whatever they do. (Interestingly, responses in this section have so far been somewhat less wildstyle.)

(PS: Feel free to air reservations about my methodology or assumptions! I am A: anyway making it up as I go along and B: as interested in the process of decision as the final result. This isn’t about what I want out of it; it’s about what YOU want out it!) (He said disingenuously…)