8 Oct 2020

Simon Sweetman - The Death of Music Journalism

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:45 pm on 8 October 2020

Music journalist and blogger Simon Sweetman is releasing his first poetry collection – The Death of Music Journalism.

Simon tells Jesse Mulligan he's been writing poetry since he was 13: "I've clocked a good 30 years at the wheel and I finally feel comfortable releasing a book of poems."

Simon Sweetman

Simon Sweetman Photo: Supplied

death music journalism sweetman

Photo: The Cuba Press

All poetry is a kind of diary, Simon says, and his poetry is especially so.

He's waiting a long time to be ready to present a collection of his work – and is more excited than daunted.

The title is open to interpretation – Simon says he just found it funny and quirky.

"I thought maybe people would pick it up and wonder if it was some giant rambling essay [literally] about the death of music journalism."

The book contains no less than 79 references to pieces of music and a QR code on the back will take readers to a Spotify playlist featuring all of them.

The Death of Music Journalism is published by The Cuba Press. It launches at the Wellington venue Meow on Sunday 11 October.

Taxi by Simon Sweetman (via Off The Tracks)

he's in the back of the

car, as usual, and i'm

his taxi driver.

my son asks me

if the day he was born

was the best day of

my life.

and i say"yes.

of course".

"what about when

you and mum got

married?", he quizzed.

"second. nearly as good.

can't have one without the

other".

he nods. and i didn't go on

to tell him that the third best day

of my life was when he had

just turned two - and we were

driving to hawke's bay

for christmas. he and his

mother asleep.

and i had the ipod connected

to the car stereo. and i had made

a playlist.

the theme from the tv show 'taxi'

on a loop. (so that i didn't have to

keep pressing play, or find

the repeat function - instead

i had the same track loaded

30 or 40 times…)

bob james' perfect fender rhodes

instrumental - with

ralph macdonald on percussion and

idris muhammad on drums. sounds like

eric gale's guitar slow-burning in the

lava-lamp glow.

i was their taxi driver. i'd look

to the left. then to the back-left.

that music from my childhood guiding

the way.

it was like i was the yellow-cab in a time-loop

(a new york minute?) driving over (and over)

the queensboro bridge.

checking my buckled passengers.

seven o'clock.

and

nine o'clock.

resting. their beautiful

faces. those wondrous souls.

all fire. all glitter and gold.

first and second.

(first equal of course!)

And the music my mantra, my

meditation, taking me back to the

friday nights when we'd wait

for dad to come home with the

fish'n'chips, when we'd laugh

at louie's anger and jim's madness

and the weird and silly and wonderful

latka…

me and my brother and my

mum and dad were maybe

at our closest watching m*a*s*h and family

ties, blackadder, the young ones, cheers,

married with children (and a few others).

definitely taxi!

but here i was…

driving the white lines with this

music that was taking me back

and taking me back as i was edging

ever-forward…in the yellow-cab of my

imagination.

whimsy. nostalgia.

and so much more than that.

(does there need to be more than that

though? those two things are so

beautiful, so joyous and sad all at once,

they've helped me along in so many ways

through so many ways…)

profound beauty all wrapped

up in that slick and lovely groove.

people would maybe call a song

like that 'soulless' - to me it's the very

embodiment of soul…

and so it rolled on and on

and i did too.

checking their faces. me

elated. the calmest i'd been

in an age. or more.

and i was never

bobby wheeler.

i was their alex reiger.

but i was

better than alex reiger.

because they didn't just

have me. i had them.

and we had the music.

even if it was only

me listening…

that was the third-best-day

of my life.

and if i whispered that

it was the best,

well, that was only

because they were

asleep.

and i

was their taxi.

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