A pretty good year for boots and drivel

As I peck this out in a Notepad file, the computer is busy copying the second disc of a Bright Eyes set from Feb. 27, 2007 that I’m sending on to another member of VINELIST, the Yahoo Group I moderate.

I haven’t been that good of a moderator, ever since a co-moderator split to concentrate on cabin songwriting (No hard feelings about him splitting, either – man the music he’s making is great), and as such the activity on the list hasn’t been too exciting as of late. I wouldn’t say our group is in decline because we’ve had more messages posted in 2007 than ever before, in fact the group has improved under my leadership.

Not that I’m to credit. It was started by a great person who had to leave it for personal reasons, but before he did he asked who wanted to help out. Being new to the hobby again, and believing one can never have too many friends, I volunteered, and so did about four other people and so we had a quasi-Committee of leadership.

But then, one by one, the authority dwindled, and I’m the sole surviving leadership figure, though I probably don’t deserve to be. I don’t police the group as much as I should and I haven’t been doing what the last moderator who split thought every member should do: Offer up a lot of good music regularly.

For those who may not know – and who have patiently read this far in an effort to understand what the hell I’m talking about – it works like this: A VINELIST member posts a message to the group, which can be received in group members’ e-mail in-boxes or just read from our archive Web site, and the message is basically a listing of the bootleg concert the member is offering to the group. It lists the date of the show, the artist(s), the set list – basically, all the info that is known about the show to the collector. And in that message, there’s typically a variation of the following: “This one goes to the first with an address and a promise.” You see, the first member who replies to that message with a promise to re-post to the group when the receive it, and their mailing address so the offering member can know where to send it, gets it. And, it keeps being offered up over and over by members until it has reached everybody in the group who is interested in it.

But lately, not many people have been offering up new vine offers, and I likely know the reason why … it’s very time-consuming and actually, a little bit expensive. I mean for me, the hobby means I have to always have on hand: blank CDs, packaging tape, bubble envelopes, a case to put my CDs in and sleeves to put CDs in that I’m sending to other people. I can probably count on both hands the number of really active members we have, but we’re a pretty tight-knit group and I have actually befriended many people thanks to it all. (But only one was kind enuff to send a Christmas card, which was actually just a lot of bootleg concerts in an envelope.)

Anyway, I’m glad to have kicked out about 8 new offers this week (in case you care: they are a little Dylan, some
classic David Grissman and his quintet, a Drive-By Truckers quickie performed two days before the birth of
my daughter, the aforementioned Conor Oberst, a Warren I’ll-Sleep-When-I-Die Zevon boot, 9 CDs from Janis Joplin – all squeezed onto a DVD data disc titled Blow Away My Blues, and some great outtakes from The Beatles), it makes me feel like I’m contributing to the vast illicit underground library of bootleg recordings, which I have tapped numerous times to enrich my own library and I guess this long-winded post is just a sort of vow to try to keep improving the group this year, even though most people are moving toward doing nothing but online swapping over bit torrent and other high-speed Internet technologies.

I guess my new-found interest in doing what I should have been doing all along is spurred by this year’s New Year Resolution, which was composed on the spot when a person asked me what mine was.

Background: The person who asked me is someone I admire, a real hard worker – the type who does their best every day and never seeks recognition for what they should be doing, anyway. So when she asked me what my resolution was – which, is quite the personal question so it caught me off guard and I only answered because I’m the type of person who will give a well-thought out answer to a question posed by someone whom I respect, though most would tend to just brush it off with a string of cliches – I kind of sorta fumbled, and said, not likely as coherently: “Well, I dunno, I quit smoking last year, and that resolution took all year to realize ((It’s true folks, not one cigarette so far this year! Cigars – well, they’re not cigarettes!)) and so I guess this year I’m gonna vow not to use long unconstrained stream-of-consciousness blahty-blah-blah sentences in blog posts.

No! That wasn’t it. Sorry. I told her, “well, I quit smoking last year, which was really hard, so if I can do that, then this year,
I’m gonna do everything else.”

So there, I bled my heart out to a kind person I hardly know because she asked and yes, it was still a restrained answer (ooooh, that would be a good name for a blog) which was pretty generic and not really telling and really, really open
to interpretation. I hope she didn’t interpret that I have other addictions I want to kick, which I do not, or that I’m on one of those tedious self-improvement missions that involves shedding 25 pounds. That is not gonna happen here.

Not if I have any say in the matter.

One thought on “A pretty good year for boots and drivel”

  1. Hey, Brandon

    I think you’re a great moderator, and I think the people in the group respect you. Glad to hear you quit smoking… way to go. It’s good not to be “Stinky.”

    I’m going to put in a “ton” of Townes soon, compliments of Andy Thorley, although I don’t think he’s in Vinelist.

    Best regards,
    Mary Ann

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