First, I’d like to start things off by saying that I love what I do at this magazine.
Too ominous of an opening? I’d hate to give the impression that I’m moments away from announcing my resignation or some other final note, but assuredly that’s not the case. I just wanted to make it exceptionally clear that I love my job before I continue any further.
Why am I fan of being editor-in-chief of Discorder? I get to work with a whole cast of amazing characters, I get to be on the frontlines of what’s happening with the Vancouver music scene, and I enjoy the taste of accomplishment that comes with putting out a great magazine every month. It’s the whole package. But hot damn, if there’s one aspect of the job that sometimes gets me down, it most certainly has to be the complainers.
Ninety-five per cent of the people I interact with through Discorder are sensational. One of the reasons why I’m such a supporter of the arts is the sense of community that inevitably drives everyone together. It’s the kind of sense that, “Well, this isn’t the best situation to be in but we’re all in this so we might as well be in it together.” With that in mind, I’ve met some top-of-the-line knobs during my tenure — namely musicians who get offended when we don’t have nice things to say about them.
To our dear readers: if you’re only interested in the stuff that’s sugar-coated, then perhaps these pages aren’t your thing. It’s not like our magazine is the edgiest, most radical around town, or even the harshest for that matter, but some people get really distressed about the truth.
One of the cornerstones of music writing is having an opinion. We could be a magazine that gives nothing but glowing reviews to every concert we attend and every album we listen to — but that’s boring. The whole “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all” ethos doesn’t apply here. We don’t have to be dicks but we’re not your mom; we’re going to be honest with you.
Despite being the head of a music magazine, I’ve never been a musician myself. (I tried learning guitar in junior high, developed calluses, and then forgot all about it the following week.) I’ve never spent months of my life pouring time and dollars into something and had a complete stranger say bad things about it in a print-publication. I don’t know what it’s like to receive a bad review but it’s something no one is immune to. I openly dislike Radiohead. “Christmas in Hollis”? I don’t see what the big deal is. Heck, some people don’t even like the Beatles. You might disagree with any or all of these statements but that’s just because you have a different opinion.
I know it’s hard to take criticism but it’s just something everyone has to accept. For the most part, it’s meant to be something you absorb and take into account for the future. Even sitting down with our art director after the first redesign issue last month meant going over things that worked/didn’t work with the new format. The underlying message is, “This can be better and this is how.”
Opinions are a ravenous thing. They’re important to have, but their significance can diminish the louder you voice them. It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician or an artist or someone working at Burger King. Learn to take the criticism and move along with your life. No one likes a person who can’t let others have a different viewpoint.
But hey, that’s just my opinion.
So it goes,