Tiny Mix Tapes did a Xiu Xiu interview recently that is the holy grail of awkward fan-musician courtesy waltzing. I really sympathize with the guy, and I think the result is totes better than he thought it was. I have done exactly two interviews in my life, and one was great, but the other was Mirah on live radio, and I had to watch about six hours of My So-Called Life beforehand to try to control my nerves. I spent the entire interview trying desperately not to to say, "Oh my God! Me too!" or kick her in the shins whenever I uncrossed my legs under the table. When you read or hear an interview, you never think about the spatial dynamics of the place it was conducted in--where the people were sitting, how they were oriented in relation to each other. I now believe there may be a secret epidemic of interviewer-interviewee shin-kicking running rampant in small radio studios across the country.
When we, the worshipful, starry-eyed shin-kickers of the world, are allowed to go back to our bedrooms to write free-for-all fan confessionals, the results are inspiring and opaquely personal at the same time. Witness Sara Sherr's Hot Rock-era Sleater-Kinney panegyric in the Village Voice; it has more than a couple of those magic music criticism moments where you realize why you do this in the first place, why you slog through all the hype and posturing and bitterness that are rock journalism: to find someone saying exactly what you had always believed in yr heart, but never said aloud. This style of writing is easy to take down. It's messy and esoteric and reads as if it were written in one frenzied, caffeinated sitting. But it's the mess and the esoterica that salvage the bits of shared emotional truth that traditional music journalism leaves behind. And without those, we're just auto-piloting our separate paths through record stores and murky clubs--alone.