When I first started writing this blog I did actually consider the 'ego' side of it. Who cares what I think about anything? What right have I to write? After some deliberation I decided that it couldn't do much harm. Nobody is forced to read this stuff and one or two people might actually enjoy some of it. I certainly enjoy writing and feel that I have enough knowledge and experience of my main subject to make these pages informative and interesting. I also looked forward to some lively debate where appropriate. After all, when I go into 'review mode' I am stating opinion and not fact (although I do go to considerable lengths to show how these opinions were - and continue to be - shaped.
I was vaguely disappointed when I picked up my first adverse comment (after Little Jazz Birds and other related species) - not because it was adverse but because it was illiterate, spiteful and anonymous - but I let it stand. I didn't bother to reply to it at the time because I doubted very much if the perpetrator would return to these pages (unless, of course it was to see if he/she had scored a hit and got a rise out of me). Then a couple of days ago I got another one (after Jazz, delicious hot, disgusting cold) which was again anonymous and intended to offend. Two things became apparent after reading this one - (1) The perpetrator was unlikely to be the same one and (2) he/she had patently not actually read the piece in question. I subsequently went back and posted a reply to both comments and gave as good as I got.
I'm a big boy now. I can take criticism. I can take offensive remarks come to that and hand them out. But there seems to me something very puerile about this kind of anonymous sniping on the web. A little research has revealed that this is very common practice all over cyberspace. People who plainly would not have the courage to make such remarks in person will gleefully shower bile and poison around behind the cloak of anonymity. 'But surely' I hear you cry, 'You hide behind a 'nom-de-blog' too'. Well, yes, but it's not actually very hard to work out who I am if you know me and if you don't know me then it doesn't matter that much anyway, but I DO give an email address at which I am contactable and will happily enter into a dialogue with anyone who has a serious point to make. In fact I will happily enter into a dialogue with anyone that has an entirely frivolous point to make - I am, after all, in the throws of growing old disgracefully - but in future no further anonymous remarks will be shown in these pages.
One last thing before I stop ranting. There is a major difference between 'like and dislike' and 'good and bad'. I can tell the difference. 'I like/don't like this because...' is an opinion, something which I go to great lengths to make clear at all times. Furthermore I have been - and will continue - laying out the details of the life time's accumulation of musical information that has led me to these opinions. You don't have to read them. You don't have to agree with them, but if you don't then for goodness sake tell me why you think I'm wrong. Don't just sneak past and piss through the letterbox.