Posts filed under ‘nerdery’

Rock Townsmen and Townswomen


Rob Sheffield and Chuck Eddy influenced my writing stylistically but it was seeing Evelyn McDonnell and Ann Powers in The Village Voice, and reading Rock She Wrote that made me think that my own little voice might have a place in the world of rockcrit, or any world for that matter.

So that makes me look forward to Evelyn’s upcoming book, “Mamarama,” a portrait of a rock mommy. So far, this is my favorite line from the excerpt on her childhood. I can’t wait to read more:
“Though record collecting now seems to have become the ultimate nerdy fanboy domain, it was we girls who traded 45s while boys fretted over baseball cards.”

She points out later, however, that later, she and her older brother’s music habits began to diverge slightly:

Brett and I shared 45s and LPs. He was at least as obsessed with music as I was, and since he was older, I learned about bands from him. He checked records out of the library: Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Cream. The first one bored me, and the second one scared me, but Wheels of Fire, I dug. When our ages were still in the single digits, I owned more 45s than he, but once we hit the doubles, his LP collection outpaced mine. I wasn’t focused enough; I was buying clothes, jewelry, posters.


This might explain the lack of female membership on the listserv-turned-blog Rock Town Hall, but many of my friends on the list have played the part of my older brother over the years. These days I’m scattered between vintage dresses and TV and movies and gay culture and so many other things besides music, especially the kind of rock discussed on RTH, where I simultaneously feel like too much of a poptimist and a punk to fully partcipate and appreciate the discussions. Nevertheless, for those about to rock, I salute you!


One person who would have understood the link between dresses and rock and roll is Rob’s late wife Renee, punk-rockingly lionized here. I miss her and I’ve never even met her before. I even dreamt about her while reading the book. She kept telling me not to worry. I promised her I would stop worrying. And then when I woke up, I broke my promise to her several times. I guess I’m just wired to worry.

My favorite parts are about her taking control of her body and making her own clothes, the notes she leaves in the pockets, and her hats that he leaves all over Central Park.

But really no one’s nailed the review better than Mairead Case:

Sheffield isn’t the first rock critic to attempt an autobiography of loss, nor is he the first to write about a girl who isn’t in his life anymore—Klosterman did it, and so does Cometbus. But Sheffield goes a step further, because he gives Renée a voice, too. A couple of paragraphs are copied directly from notes he found in her pockets, and whenever he talks about her body, it’s about how she felt inside it, not what he wanted from it.


January 23, 2007 at 6:25 pm Leave a comment


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