“I Used to Have a Really Cool Job”

An interesting thing about the on-coming economic crash is that this is old news for lots of people, some of them impressively articulate, in both the music biz and the music criticism biz.

Last year a wonderful magazine about what is now known as Americana music called No Depression gave up its print run. They've gone on-line, but if you happened to hear the editors talk about it on NPR, you heard them say they have no illusions that the web version will be as good as what they had in print, for the simple reason that almost no one wants to read essays on computer monitors.

I was really touched by this essay about the demise of No Depression and life as a music critic by a Northwesterner not previously know to me named Grant Alden. Once he was a critic, watching Nirvana and hanging out with Radiohead, now he's a barista. But he still has a really cool job. Take a look:

Nothing on the web is permanent, including the music now housed there. Someday, somebody might find a copy of No Depression
and wonder what the hell that was and who we all were, and why none of
the artists we wrote about so lavishly ever amounted to much. I’m not
sure how they’ll find the music of the new downloadable age…not in
thrift shops, in any event!

In an hour, I will turn off this computer and walk down the street
to a coffee shop. There I will try not to botch a vanilla frappé for
one of my neighbors (they’ve gotten over occasionally seeing me on
national TV), and to keep the dishes clean. Later, if I’m lucky, I will
drive to my father-in-law’s place and try to spend an hour or two
cleaning up the garden and feeding the chickens.

I used to have a really cool job. Someday I’ll have to explain it
to my daughter. Right now, she’s all too happy listening over and over
and over again to the first song on Lucinda Williams’s new album, and
she doesn’t believe me for a minute when I tell her Buddy Miller is
just as good.

The truth is, I have a really cool job now: I get to feed my
family. We’re about to double the size of the garden, the orchard we
began a couple years back is coming along nicely, there’s nothing
better than farm eggs, and we put up at least 125 quarts of greasy
beans for the winter. And now I have time to listen to all that music.

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