About Me

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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Blogkeeping Past 100,00 Views

Some time on Saturday night, Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) passed the 100,000 view mark. Since the start of this daily blog on January 18th of last year, there's been a fairly consistent rise in the number of views we get here. It took just under a year to accumulate the first 50,000 views, then just over four months to double that figure. Sure, 100,000 views is nothing in the real-world sense--there ain't a blogger in the world quakin' in his or her P.F. Flyers in fear of competition from the lowly likes of me--but I'm still proud of the number, proud of the blog, and still convinced the modest number is pretty good for an unknown writer hawking his idiosyncratic site solely via Facebook and word of mouth. I thank everyone who checks in here at my dusty little corner of cyberspace, and I aim to continue providing at least one post a day, each and every day. That's the Boppin' way.

I confess there have been more than a few times when I've been tempted to skip the blog for a day here and/or there, but I've resisted that so far. I don't think anyone would call me out if I missed posting one day--indeed, relatively few would even notice--but I say if I skip one day, then I'll wanna skip another day. Then another. Then...well, suddenly the blog would lack any sense of urgency. And I think that sense is important, at least to me as I write these things. When I was freelancing, I thrived on deadlines; knowing a piece had to be completed and in front of my editor by this time--no later!--made me a more productive writer. I made a couple of editors pretty nervous along the way (though never Goldmine editor Jeff Tamarkin, who always trusted me to get the work done on time), but I never missed a deadline. And I'm not gonna start, even with a self-imposed deadline: a post a day, every day. Or else, no cupcakes for me.

(And, of course, the presence of paid subscribers to Boppin' serves to remind me that I've made a commitment to keep doing this on schedule. For as little as $2 a month, my patrons receive the blog every day, and also receive one bonus private blog post each month: Fund me, baby!)

I've been feeling reflective and occasionally melancholy of late. This is neither new or unusual, mind you, but I think it's currently fueled in part by my daughter's recent college graduation, and the knowledge that her time living at home is likely nearing its end, far sooner than I'm ready for. Time is the enemy. June marks the 40th anniversary of my graduation from high school, and I suspect a lot of my posts these past couple of weeks may have been subconsciously influenced by all of these factors. I've been looking back at college, high school, eighth grade, and retroactively finding fault in things I did. I spent decades blaming others for unfortunate events and circumstances, only realizing in recent retrospect that I shared culpability in many cases. I wish I'd been better than I was. I'm still trying to be better now.

Me with Linda Damiano in The NorthCaster, 1977
The unexpected (to me) passing of a high school classmate last week led me to a decision I would have thought unlikely a month ago: I'm going to my high school reunion. I'm not generally a reunion guy, but life is just too goddamned short to miss an opportunity to celebrate any potentially positive element. (Lovely wife Brenda is going with me, so at least I've got a date.)

The act of looking back--always a big component of this blog--will manifest soon in a new series called The NorthCaster, reminiscing about the three years I spent as a staff member on my high school literary magazine. I've written about The NorthCaster on several occasions already, but this will be my first real attempt to recount the experience, from my first tumultuous year (when I wound being dismissed from the staff) through my subsequent return, my nascent blossoming as a writer, and my ascent to the position of Assistant Editor. The NorthCaster was the first time I ever experienced any success as a writer, but it was also a bittersweet period because, y'know, lonely misfit teenager. I look forward to telling the tale, and I hope you'll be entertained by its telling.

And honest to Micky Dolenz, I've got a lot of the more general interest stuff coming, as well. Comic Book Retroview's serialized chronicle of DC Comics' 100-Page Super Spectacular has a concluding chapter due soon; after that, near-future editions of Comic Book Retroview may focus on DC Special and the Limited Collectors' Edition/Famous First Edition dollar tabloid comics of the '70s. I've just begun writing a piece called "My 1970s," a '70s music sequel to the previous My 1960s. Second-Hand Sound, a new series about used LP purchases, will commence with an entry about Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. by The Monkees. I'll decide within the next couple of days whether or not I want to write something about the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper. There will be much hype forthcoming about our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4, and about the 40th anniversary of The Flashcubes. We'll also see the return of Batman's Degrees Of Separation (including Charles Manson, Raquel Welch, and Veronica Mars), plus the returns of The Greatest Record Ever Made, Rescued From The Budget Bin!, Groove Gratitude (A Gift Of Music), Lights! Camera! REACTION!, Love At First Spin, The Notebook Notions, What If? So What?, Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery, and the conclusion of Unfinished And Abandoned: Jack Mystery. The Everlasting First will resume with O Is For The Ohio Express and The Outsiders, following a sidebar edition this week recounting such ephemera as my first published writing, my first appearance on TV, my first radio gig, my first kiss, and my first girlie magazine. Behave.

Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) remains so much fun for me to do; with 100,000 views under the ol' belt, I'm gratified to think it's also fun for some hip folks out there to bop along with me. Bop on, my friends. Bop on.