Music to Your Ears
So Terribly Pretentious
The farewell column: It’s an exercise in self-indulgent sentimentality that’s become a tradition amongst exiting editors of the Alibi. Alas, no amount of alliteration or attempts at humor or expressions of gratitude could capture my thoughts on my time here. (Plus, I’m sure most people would rather read about the ’80s band that’s doing some shredding at one of the local casinos this weekend.) So in lieu of writing my goodbyes, I thought to make a breakup mix that everyone can use for whatever farewell occasion they see fit—listen here.
Then again, this is the last week that the music section will ever be mine, and it might be impolite not to acknowledge forces that led to and accentuated my service to the paper. Here’s the back story: I moved to Albuquerque to attend UNM when I was 17. New Mexico had called to me since I was a little kid (seriously—I selected New Mexico for my fourth-grade state project). On my first night in the Alvarado dorm, I sat at my desk reading the Alibi in a stupor of awe. Though Louisiana-born, I spent all of secondary school in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and whiled away summers in Shreveport. Both towns, but especially the former, were gripped with the stagnation and beigeness that comes with conservatism, and certainly neither had an alternative newsweekly, if a decent publication at all. (Cape Girardeau had a mural of hometown hero Rush Limbaugh on its Mississippi flood wall, though.) When I read the Alibi, it was proof of the existence of culture and diversity in my chosen new city. I vowed to work for the paper some day.
Two years later, I was hired as an Alibi receptionist by a tight-ponytailed, boot-wearing cowgirl. Shortly thereafter, the same cowgirl fired me for reasons still unknown to anyone. It was for the best. I promptly got a job at KUNM where Marcos Martinez hired me as a reporter and initiated my entry into the world of journalism. I loved that job and thought I wanted to work there forever until one night when I ran into Devin D. O’Leary at a party. He informed me that the Alibi was hiring a staff writer and encouraged me to apply. I did. And then, for reasons still unknown to anyone, they hired me. Actually, it was because I wrote a review of the 2005 Stereo Total show at the Launchpad, and the insightful former Editor-in-Chief Steven Robert Allen thought it was funny. Thanks for giving me a chance and letting me roller skate around the office, Steve. Also, thank you to his successors, Editresses-in-Chief and my dear friends Christie Chisholm and Laura Marrich. Words can’t express my appreciation for you two ladies, so just let me make you dinner soon, OK?
It’s been seven-and-a-half years now, not counting the receptionist stint. To be perfectly honest, I’m leaving because I no longer care to share my opinions on music with the public on a weekly basis. It used to be all I wanted to do ... when I was 23. This week I turn 31, and these days I spend a lot more time thinking about things like abating wrinkles, what piece of furniture will go in that corner, and my five-year plan than I do about going to see music each night of the week. The paper needs the fresh ears of someone new. Samantha Anne Carrillo is that someone, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased with her crisp cerebration and devotion to local music.
In 1992, Alibi founder and co-owner Chris Johnson was quoted in the Tribune as saying, "When you're doing something like this that's terribly pretentious, you have to have a sense of humor. If you can make fun of yourself, you can make fun of other people." I always thought, or at least hoped, that was the paper’s true essence—criticism balanced with hilarious self-deprecation. I also hoped that could always be the basis of my terribly pretentious efforts. Once my Alibi hangover subsides I intend to chime in every now and then—probably about mod music, urban planning or fried foods. Hopefully the jokes will be good.
P.S. Thanks for inviting me to your tea party, Nick Brown!