Last week I adventured to the continuing transport black hole that is Stoke Newington in order to do some in-house editorial work at The Stool Pigeon. On one day I missed the correct bus stop and ended up in Tottenham, then on another I was traipsing Hackney's streets on foot utterly clueless in this maze of high-rise flats and, for some reason, honest cockney-jon, old-style bakeries. I had me a bagel.
Anyway, this work I would go as far as to say has reenergised me for this strange art of music journalism. Not only is the quarters of this very special publication an extremely fun place to be (literally half of one day was spent poring over this), but it was a timely glimpse and a vital reaffirmation of what it is to actually work for a proper music publication that is managed professionally, is completely independent and finally, shows respect for the writing - and therefore the people who do the writing - over all else. It also helps that everyone involved has a knowledge of music, across all styles, that borders on the terrifying at times.
There is no chaotic, mono-maniacial 'management' from ham-fisted bullies whose ignorance is only matched by their malice (like a certain publication I have previously had dealings with...in case that wasn't obvious), just a calm enthusiasm both for music and journalism. While the practice of writing about music still seems fatuous on a theoretical level, something I'll go into another time, at least some of the bitterness I previously held towards it has been removed by this realisation that it can still be done in a way that is truly critical, not hindered by cliche and without toadying to external influences (labels, PRs and the like). This revitalisation will probably last about three days, but nevermind; may The Stool Pigeon continue to prosper.
Elsewhere, 'in other news', Penrith Panthers got an unholy 35-0 twatting by Newcastle Knights, meaning that we finish 11th, firmly outside of the top eight. I hear Matthew Elliott is stewing on this, but to be fifth little more six weeks ago and then to finish eleventh, below Souths for Christ's sake, is shocking. Penrith have just had four players named in the train-on Australia squad for the four nations and have a bunch of young players the equal of most of other teams in the NRL, so it's a case of underachievement rather than 11th being their rightful place. The loss of Petero Civoniceva is the obvious main reason for this embarrassment, and no one foresaw the rampant rise from Parramatta. But still, 35-0 to Newcastle in a final game where everything was to play for... even the wooden spoon year of 2001 didn't sink that low. So Penrith's season, coupled with NSW's loss in Origin, equals a general disgruntlement with my league teams that stretches back to October when Australia dropped the World Cup. Miserable times. I'm now gonna go for Dragons in the finals series, or maybe Manly. Or Eels.
Three songs: 'When I'm Sleepy' by Wild Beasts, 'Just Ain't Gonna Work Out' by Mayer Hawthorne and 'Next Season' by Port O'Brien