Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Apologizing to Ellen McIlwaine, plus Drug Dealers Next Door Part 2

Here's a convoluted one, a tour through a blogger's conscience:

1. I went to see the talented, engaging slide guitarist Ellen McIlwaine at the Western Front about a year ago. I'd been aware of her work for awhile (since I'd chatted with this interesting, cute, but, alas, not-single Purolater Courier truck driver and guitarist at a New West library record sale some time ago; sometimes I check out music that people recommend to me solely on the basis of my wanting to sleep with said people -- don't you?). At the concert, I really enjoyed what Ms. McIlwaine did -- she was witty, her songs were passionate, her yodelling is kind of delightfully odd, and she even scatted a bit in Japanese, telling us anecdotes about her childhood in Japan -- where I'd spent three years, myself. Thing was: she was wearing these sweatpants on stage, and I really didn't like them, thought they brought her image down a bit -- they're a kind of housewifely thing to wear. I wrote a generally positive review of her show -- but I included a snide comment about the sweats. Actually, it was less specific than that... Something about how her wardrobe reminded me of Peg Bundy. Ouch. (But, you know, the character wore sweats all the time). It really was just the sweats I didn't care for...

2. I then e-mailed Ms. McIlwaine, because I thought she might like some Japanese outsider folk I'd been listening to -- Kan Mikami and Tomokawa Kazuki, two odd, passionate, little-known folk singers/guitarists from the Japanese scene. Offered to send her some CDs, said I really enjoyed her show. What I didn't realize was that my e-mail included a signature invite to visit my blog. She replied to my e-mail, most politely, and said she was going to look at my blog, whereupon I panicked. Oh no! She'll see my cutting remarks on her sweatpants and be hurt! I rushed to modify my review.

3. I then contemplated how being a reviewer, even in an obscure forum such as this, required tact and discipline, which I hadn't realized before. (Most reviewers seem to write like they don't give a damn how they affect the people they're writing about... I've worried -- say, when writing about Grant Hart, below, whose show I walked out on -- if I'm being fair, civil, etc... It seems like it must be hard enough to get up on stage without later having to read snide comments by completely insensitive assholes who let the world know your failings).

4. I sent off the CDs to Ms. McIlwaine, as promised, and never heard back from her. Whereupon I began to worry. What if she'd read my unrevised blog, expecting fan writing, to discover a cruel potshot instead? What if I'd hurt her feelings? What if she didn't have particularly thick skin? What if she'd worn sweats because of her hip problems (which she mentions on her website) or for other such reasons and was in fact self-conscious about them? Perhaps (I worried, whenever the thought crossed my mind) I'd destroyed her ability to perform in public!

5. It also seemed possible that she never actually read the blog entry, never bothered with the CDs, and that I was worrying for nothing. But I'm the type of guy who, once I've constructed a worst-case scenario for myself to worry about, ends up dwelling on it. What can I say.

6. Anyhow, I woke up from a nap today to discover that some dim part of my mind had returned to worrying about my effect on Ellen McIlwaine! Gah! Enough of it! I needed to get this off my conscience. I wrote her, just now, another e-mail, explaining the above briefly, and apologizing for my comments, in case she actually read them.

7. Whereupon I now worry that she'll read the e-mail and think I'm some kind of nut. (Particularly if she also noticed my offer, some months ago, to let Diamanda Galas sodomize me - which I'd snail-mailed to Ms. Galas and published here -- alas, to no response).

Let it be known: the responsibilities of blogging weigh heavy on my shoulders.

On a lighter note, the drug dealers next door have finally been evicted! No more booming hip hop coming through the wall at 3 AM! Yaaay!

1 comment:

Allan MacInnis said...

Heh. Ellen had never looked at my blog, knew nothing of my comments, and is now trying to find the CDs I sent her, which she never got around to, previously. I, uh, hope I managed to amuse her a bit, anyhow... She didn't seem offended.

All this worry I wasted...