I first became aware of I Love Music through what was then called New York London Paris Munich (a.k.a. Freaky Trigger), and I became aware of the latter because Simon Reynolds bigged it up in an end-of-year round-up in the Christmas 2000 Wire. Mainstream published music writing meant next to nothing to me in those days; the theoretical rush which had powered the writing with which I had grown up and by which I had been influenced seemed to have totally vanished, to be replaced by demographic-friendly waiter’s lists, things which told their desired audience exactly what they wanted to hear, rather than things they didn’t know. I went to Reynolds’ then blog for further info, traced the links, and NYLPM/FT looked like the kind of place where my kind of music writing flourished, or had even been resuscitated. ILM kicked off as a comment box to NYLPM/FT and expanded from there.
I first posted there in April 2001, with some comments about the then state of the music press and specifically the NME (yes, it was MC Stuck Needle even then). I didn’t intend to follow it up at all but this guy Robin Carmody responded and actually remembered me from the old combative days of the Melody Maker letters pages (perhaps fortunately, my numerous Letters Of The Week have yet to resurface online) so I stuck around. My then partner Laura was pretty sceptical about the whole thing, thought that reading it was a waste of time, let alone posting to it. But Laura was busy studying for her professional librarian qualifications and so my presence on ILM was an excuse for me to keep out of her way (at her request).
Things worked pretty well for a month or so. Then Laura fell seriously ill, was diagnosed with cancer and deteriorated rapidly. She died nine years ago this Wednesday just past. And I went to pieces, pretty publicly. If I wanted to erase any internet carbon footprints they would constitute the vast majority of what I posted to ILX (as it had then become, ILM, ILE and its sundry satellites) after August 2001; talk about redefining the term “projection.” Still it has to be said that the people who (for me) counted on ILX were remarkably patient and supportive of me, even when I was at my worst, and through the networks of friendship which opened up for me via ILX I was able to carve a path through to the renewed life which I now live. An extended meditation on Pulp’s We Love Life which I posted on ILM in October 2001 was republished shortly afterwards on FT at Ned Raggett’s request and the reception gave me the confidence I needed to go ahead and set up my own blog. The rest is history and doesn’t need to be retraced here.
I hung on in there for just over eight years, and times were more often than not stormy. If I had the time over again I wouldn’t have said around 98% of what I did say and a lot of people there still haven’t forgiven me but there’s nothing I can about that; people are people and I can’t force them to like me, any less than I can compel them not to slag me off for something I posted nine years ago, when my life and circumstances, and therefore my beliefs, were entirely different from what they are now. But then you had the collective community response to 7/7; what can I say, that proved how important ILx could be when push came to shove, and the response helped drag me out of my self-destructive purpose-free ennui and, again, towards the life I now have.
I stopped posting regularly in June of last year; there was no big precipitatory factor, I simply drifted away. This was just before the Bimble business but that certainly didn’t encourage me to return. In fact since June 2009 I’ve posted precisely twice on ILX; once to note the passing of Harry Beckett, and once to provide a link to an old CoM piece which somebody couldn’t find. And both of these were within the last month, which may or may not signify something. ILX belongs to others now – the second generation of the community – and these days I tend to break bread with the old school ILXors in the Popular comments boxes, the more patient speed of which agrees more with the sort of things I want to talk about. The last decade has been akin to going to school again, but in a good way; learning how to live once more was the main lesson and I would have been a goner without it.
And, just to clear things up, I am definitely not Geir.