The Weekend Files: 09.16.2022

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Jump in my ride, ooh ooh yeah,
It’s Friday night, yeah, yeah, yeah…
Living it up, livin’ it up, oh, yeah,
Friday night,
Livin’ it up, livin’ it up – at last

Bell and James: Livin’ It Up (Friday Night)
Songwriters: Casey James & Leroy Bell

Billboard Hot 100 #15 – April 1979

A big ol’ Friday Hello to all! Welcome to the tnocs.com Weekend Wrap-Up!

For reasons that will become clear in a moment, we’re going to switch it up a bit today.

On this particular Friday: We’ll hold up on the traditionally scintillating opening commentary, until we reach the end of this bit.

First, let’s present the our Weekly Recap of Recent Cool Stuff that you may have missed –

Are you sure about this, Dad? It sounds a little confusing.

Fear not, Goodboy. Our audience is very smart. They’ll catch on. And our crackerjack IT team is at the ready, in the unlikely event that we should experience any unforeseen, tiny little glitches. I’m sure that we’ll be OK.

“Tiny, little glitches.” Sure. Hey, I know: let’s deploy a major change in the format,
without submitting the FC-1427 Usability Analysis Form.
Just brilliant. Really, I’m fine.
I’ll just sit here, until the flood of totally unnecessary tech support calls begin.

Sorry, Gary. I owe you, yet again. The Red Bulls and Funyuns are on me.

In any event: Let’s do this!

This Past Week’s tnocs.com New Articles:

Hail, Monday. Hail, Britannia. And while we’re at it, Hail Contributing Author JJ Live At Leeds, who provided a welcome explanation as to just what in the Sam Hill is going on in the UK…


and on a Two-for-Tuesday: To immediate acclaim, Contributing Author Phylum Of Alexandria  launched a thought-provoking new series


…while Merry Prankster and Erstwhile Varsity Cheerleader thegue shared a hilarious tale, direct from the teacher’s lounge.


Wednesday brought us Contributing Author and ace bargain hunter Chuck Small with a… collectalouge?


And on Thursday, we read a beautiful and thoughtful Series Finale from Contributing Author and good soul Pauly Steyreen


Ahh, Friday – and just as it should be: Contributing Author Bill Bois graced us with a delightful and scholarly essay on the whys, the hows, and the whens of the origins of Rock & Roll.

Remember, gang: please continue to send your ideas for articles to submissions@tnocs.com . Everyone is welcome to write an article. Need some encouragement? Hit me up!


And now, as threatened promised, a fireside chat, of sorts.

Many of you TNOCS veterans will remember the thrill, as a fledgling web series of articles about old records morphed into a small, virtual PLP. And how it exploded into appointment viewing.

More and more people joined in the fun, the discussions, the running gags, and the genial spirit that we had all accidentally created.

Before we knew it, we had a community. It was pretty glorious. And then, after a few years and for varied reasons, the luster began to fade just a bit.

You may or may not agree with that last sentence; it very well could just be me.

I began to feel that some of the old vibe had gone missing. And I had the unfounded audacity to think that I could do something about it. That I might be able to recapture some of the old lighting and put it back in the bottle. And in the process, give everyday folks a forum to write featured pieces about anything that is important to them.

So, six months in, here we are. I’m trying very hard to keep growing this site. To that end, I have been doing my homework. I’m constantly trying to think of ways to attract more writers, commenters, and viewers. And the more I pour myself into the deeper analysis, I realize that, on paper anyway, I’m doing a lot of it wrong.

That’s not self-effacement. Nine of ten experts agree.

I had another in a series of online meetups with website/blog mavens this week. It was like a peer review gone bad. (Pro-tip: Always do these kinds of video meetings in a darkened room. Makes it easier to hide your flop-sweat.)

I struggled to explain to the tribunal just what the heck we were doing here. Not unlike our previous gathering, it didn’t go well.

  • “I don’t get it. Is this site for music, or philosophy? Current events? Comedy? Nostalgia?”
  • “You should to be focused. This feels too ‘all-over-the-place.’ “
  • “You’re publishing religion and politics? Prepare to be flamed.”
  • “Too much variety. People don’t want to be surprised. Pick a lane.”
  • “What’s with promoting the comments? Are you sure that your viewers actually care about this?”
Tough crowd.

Fair enough. Let’s get meta, and wrap up our own wrap-up. This week, we published and featured headlined articles, referring to:

  • The political landscape and general angst, happening in real-time in the United Kingdom
  • The start of a multipart, in-depth analysis of The Gospel According to Mark
  • A reminiscence about school, teaching, and hijinx, from someone who has a great sense of humor
  • A relaxing and fun tour of vintage record stores, provided by someone who appreciates their value
  • The final wistful, yet validating chapter in a series about a young volunteer living in Nepal
  • And, an educational and masterful analysis of the roots of Rock & Roll

Got that? So, the obvious question is: “What do these articles all have in common?

The oddly yet alluringly-forenamed Wolf is technically correct. But perhaps, trying to not be exactly like everyone else’s website has its merits, too. Such as:

  • The kindness and support to each other in those “unimportant” comments. They often get me, right in the heart.
  • I get the nicest mail from folks who are IRL very shy and lack self-confidence, and they appreciate the tiny opportunity to shine, just a bit.
  • I learn new things. <– This x 100. Every week.
  • Depending on the article or comment, I get to have a huge laugh… or maybe get a little quiet, and ponder.

It works for me. I hope that it works for you as well.

But I’m channeling my inner Marc Anthony; please comment below: are the experts on to something?

  • Are we too scattershot with the topics?
  • Should we rein it in a bit?
  • Or – What are we missing?
  • Is there a common denominator that I’m not seeing?

Sorry. Just what you all needed this weekend: homework.

I owe you all, yet again. Your preferred version of Red Bull and Funyuns are on me.

Have a great weekend, be careful, take good care of yourselves and each other,

… and good on you all.

-mt58

4

mt58

Your grateful host. Good on you all.

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JJ Live At Leeds
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September 16, 2022 4:01 pm

Its a tough one. For me I like the variety of the scattergun approach, you don’t know what you’re going to get week to week. It keeps it fresh and the variety of everything from pop culture to weighty topics of politics and religion feels like what makes the site unique.

On the other hand I can appreciate what the mavens say in that by not having an overriding theme people on the outside may not get it. There’s perhaps an issue in that we feel comfortable raising the thorny issues of politics, religion and anything else because we trust each other and know that people will be respectful in their comments. In that sense it works because its small scale; the more people that log in the more likely it is that someone will look to take offence and open it up to flamers.

I have wondered if there are others over in the #1s commenting community that would come over once Tom has run his course. They might feel they dont have the time to invest in another community right now but once Tom is up to date they’ll be looking for something else to fill their time – that’s part of how I ended up finding Tom’s column in the first place, looking for something new.

It does seem that we need more writers. That’s not meant as a criticism of any of us. I’ve really enjoyed having an outlet to write and its great how supportive everyone is which makes it easier. There’s been times I’ve thought that I have no idea what else I could write about and so far something has always popped into my head. Without new contributers though there may be a danger of the well running dry.

If the site is to grow then perhaps we do need to listen to the mavens and be more focused but I’m guessing its the case for a lot of the regular commenters that that would take away part of what makes tnocs a special place for us.

In summary, I’m not sure any of that helps, just random immediate thoughts in response to what mt has said. What I do know is that for me its a great place to visit 5 days a week.

Aaron3000
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September 16, 2022 8:01 pm

I suppose IRL it would be cheating on my homework if I just copied everything JJ said, but I completely agree with it all.

Personally I’d stick around no matter whether or not the subjects were more “focused”. My worry is that if you narrow it down to just, say, music for example, you’re running the risk of running out of article ideas even sooner. Not to mention it just becomes more like the dozens of sites already out there. I think it’s the variety that makes it more special… That, and of course the community, which I’d absolutely love to see grow. I did expect more of the mothership regulars to poke around over here, but it certainly makes sense that until the virtual timeline catches up to reality it may be too much for some folks.

Or maybe we’re just the handful of oddballs who enjoy variety? If so I’ll fly my oddball flag high.

Aaron3000
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September 16, 2022 8:18 pm
Reply to  Aaron3000

Wanted to add: That’s also what makes the original TNOCS at the mothership so special; while it’s ostensibly about the song at #1 that virtual week, there’s so many different threads and rabbit holes that you end up with a bounty of insight that’s not necessarily about pop music (or music at all). Which, of course, is what drives the rest of the Stereogummers crazy. We really *are* oddballs. But there’s so many of us, and hopefully more will find their way over here.

Last edited 11 days ago by Aaron3000
Logan Taylor
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September 17, 2022 11:24 am

“I have wondered if there are others over in the #1s commenting community that would come over once Tom has run his course. They might feel they dont have the time to invest in another community right now but once Tom is up to date they’ll be looking for something else to fill their time“

This is exactly why I don’t read or post here too often. Tom is still covering my Nostalgia Zone and mentally I only feel able to devote the posting portion of my free time on SG. And yeah, that might change once the songs don’t hold as much resonance to me.

Pauly Steyreen
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September 16, 2022 10:00 pm

I think the vibe we have going and the variety is perfect. However, it’s hard to branch out beyond SG loyal commenters… it’s baked in the name of our website, an inscrutable acronym to outsiders… What non SG person would randomly encounter our website and comprehend it?

The Number Ones Comment Section (TNOCS)

I think rather than narrow the focus, maybe change the branding to appeal to a wider audience. And that brand should lean into what defines us: TRUST, OPENNESS, CAMARADERIE, and FUN! (Any other adjectives people want to recommend?) Then maybe change the name of the website and the branding to lean into this brand. We are a diverse group who like to talk about everything in a respectful and generous manner. No trolls allowed. All ideas welcome. Leave your judgment at the door and bring your curiosity.

It would be the same place it already is in spirit (which I love), but it would seem less like an insider endeavor and more like a beacon to like-minded folks who want to share in the conversation.

Thoughts?

JJ Live At Leeds
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September 17, 2022 2:53 am
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

I think you may be onto something with the branding. At work the use of acronyms can be infuriating when you don’t know what they’re referring to. I’ve just googled tnocs and we come out as the number one search result but after that tnocs represents various other impenetrable acronyms. And once the acronyms opens up, the reference to number ones comment section while it is representative of who we are doesn’t represent the breadth of content. Maybe it is off-putting to newcomers who don’t know what it means as it suggests they aren’t part of the community.

It does make perfect sense to us as a brand given that’s how the site came about but maybe we need to have a think of whether a rebrand rather than a narrowing of focus would make it more enticing for other like minded folk to join in.

Virgindog
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September 16, 2022 11:19 pm

Many years ago, I had a job interview with the owner of a classical radio station. I thought it was going well but then he asked what ideas I had to improve listenership. I said adding news at the top of each hour would be good.

He said, “All the radio people I’ve talked with suggest that, but I also talk with our listeners and no one has ever said they want news. If anything, they want even less talk.”

Now, I was in no way qualified for this job, but the professional radio people had also suggested news, something that would have failed. So the experts were, you know, wrong.

I think what the experts you talked to are missing about tnocs.com is that the subject matter isn’t as important as the community. Maybe that’s the angle to emphasize.

I’m saying the same thing Pauly just said. He or JJ or Chuck or thegue or any one of you guys could write about, I don’t know, 19th Century wallpaper paste and I’d read it because I know it’s passed the tnocs seal of approval. It’s going to be interesting no matter the subject. It’s going to be interesting and well-written and thought-provoking. Same goes for the comments.

If we do say so ourselves, tnocs.com is the internet but for smart people. Smart, open-minded, considerate, hilarious, people. And like Pauly says, no trolls allowed.

The question becomes, how do we wrap up the tnocs ethos into a snappy slogan and get the word out there safely?

And would someone write about 19th Century wallpaper paste? Now I’m curious.

Pauly Steyreen
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September 17, 2022 10:39 am
Reply to  Virgindog

I agree: to some extent, the experts are idiots. The SG Discord server is not all music at all… there are forums to talk about movies, television, books, video games, or other things.

I think people just wanting ONE THING is so 2010’s. I think it’s time the lean into the variety and lean into the vibe.

Edith G
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September 16, 2022 11:25 pm

I have nothing to suggest, and I don’t mind about the variety of things to talk about, by the way, the religious theme brought by @Phylum of Alexandria was nicely handled and I’m looking forward to see what comes next.

I think I said it before, the site it’s taking life of it’s own and you’re doing a great job, something remarkable for a page that it’s not even a year old. I’m sure that some of us would like to participate more often, in my case I can’t read the page daily, but I enjoy the things that I find here.

cappiethedog
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September 17, 2022 4:43 am
Reply to  Edith G

I have a question about reggaeton, Edith G. Where I live, locals who like traditional Hawaiian music are irked by a hybrid called “Jawaiian”. It derives, I suspect, from a monolithic love for Bob Marley among my generation as kids. I learned the hard way. When somebody asks you: “Do you like Bob Marley?” You answer, yes, not, oh, he’s okay. It’s a mix of contemporary Hawaiian and reggae. And they have their own flag; it’s green and yellow, in opposition to the official state flag. Purists complain that their fans know nothing about Rastafarianism. So there is a sort of schism between two factions of people with indigenous blood. Jawaiian is more popular than traditional or contemporary Hawaiian. Is that what’s going on in your neck of the woods? Is reggaeton more popular than the music native to your country, be it folk or mainstream and everything in between?

Edith G
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September 17, 2022 1:41 pm
Reply to  cappiethedog

Sadly, I could say that reggaeton is the most popular genre in Spain and Latin America, that’s how big it is, maybe the second most popular here is Mexican Regional, and those two coexist with pop.

Logan Taylor
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September 17, 2022 11:38 am

Mt, I must say you’re doing a fine job. People on the outside can’t fully appreciate how much work gets put into an endeavor like this, but you do a standup job captaining the ship.

-Already said it in reply to JJ but to reiterate: Tom is still covering a period of time that represents my formative years. I’m getting a lot of enjoyment out of his reviews and the mothership (nice words, Aaron) tnocs crew. Once we start to migrate into my boring adult years, you might see more of me.

-I will say I’ve been reading old mothership comment sections from just a year ago and man, it feels like the community over there was just a little more active? I’m jealous I joined late and missed a lot of that camaraderie. The end of nostalgia is what it is; I can’t make anyone stay interested in the music currently being discussed over there. But i miss those days. You can ignore this bullet point, I’m really just lamenting the normal passing of time! Things change.

Aaron3000
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September 17, 2022 9:48 pm
Reply to  Logan Taylor

I can’t take credit for coining the term “mothership”, Logan (I can’t remember at the moment which one of our other contributors originated that one), but I agree it’s a fine descriptive.

While the passage of virtual time has certainly had an effect on the activity over there, I still contend that the site still hasn’t fully worked out its bugs since the comment section revamp (I still have problems with random errors and refreshes just trying to read what’s posted, let alone posting replies of my own…whether on mobile or desktop), and that’s at least partially responsible for some of the original group going MIA…

Pauly Steyreen
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September 17, 2022 10:54 pm
Reply to  Aaron3000

Plus we too old…

Logan Taylor
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September 17, 2022 11:09 pm
Reply to  Aaron3000

This is true. Hell, having to uncollapse all the replies is cumbersome. And that’s ostensibly a feature!

Virgindog
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September 18, 2022 12:21 pm
Reply to  Aaron3000

The new comment section is precisely the reason I don’t participate as much as I did before. Love Tom’s writing and the few comments I manage to read before getting exasperated, but the bugs and the performance are so awful I either give up or don’t bother in the first place.

Phylum of Alexandria
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September 18, 2022 9:49 am

At the airport again, back from a great trip to Florida. I’ll be more productive from now on, I promise!

dutchg8r
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September 19, 2022 11:59 am

I agree with folks have already said over the weekend here. I like having a variety, I like discussions that are totally unpredictable and yet utterly fascinating. Single topic forums are useful for those singular topics, but that usually means I’m having a weird issue with my car and I want to see if other folks have encountered similar issues. Or something like that. They aren’t like your local bar where you can wander in and hang for a bit, which is the vibe we’re trying hard to establish here.

This site was initially established to be where the Stereogum Number Ones party could continue once Tom gets caught up to date, so maybe there’s like-minded peeps who haven’t even considered to wander over here yet. We need to just keep dropping reminders and links over at the mothership.

mt, you are amazing for staying so committed to building this site, thank you for all the effort you continue to put into this gathering place. 🙂

lovethisconcept
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September 19, 2022 12:42 pm

Missed this over a very busy weekend, but I wanted to weigh in. I love the variety. It gives us a chance to really get to know others in the community, on a deeper level than a discussion of any one topic could ever do.
Plus, I think that it will help us to gain the membership that we want. I have invited a friend of mine who is very interested in any kind of Bible study to join us for our discussion of Mark. Not everyone has to read every article (although they really should, because they are all great).

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