According to Councilwoman Leslie Knope of Pawnee, Indiana today is Galentine’s Day. It’s the day before Valentine’s Day when you celebrate all the smart, fabulous women in your life. On this Galentine’s Day, I would like to send my affection and admiration to The Current, specifically the smart, amazing women who they put on the air.
Now, as you know I’ve been a long-time listener to The Current, since the very first day in fact. My love-affair with radio is long and bumpy.
You know what else has been long & bumpy? My search for female voices talking about Rock & Roll. I can’t count how many times I’ve turned to my friends, readers of I Will Dare, and various Internetizens begging for books written by women about Rock & Roll, and what it’s like to be a female Rock & Roll fan. I wanted the female equivalent of Chuck Klosterman or Rob Sheffield or any of the other white dudes pontificating about music.
Every time I asked I came up with bupkis. I’ve read a lot of books by rock & roll women (think Kristen Hersh’s fabulous Rat Girl or Patti Smith’s Just Kids), but they weren’t what I was looking for. I wanted women who were more fans talking about their experience. I searched for many, many years and then I found Ellen Willis and it was like finding a rock & roll godmother. Sadly, she died in 2006 and though her writings mean more to me than I can express, her era of Rock & Roll is not mine.
And so, last week Lady Gaga played Minneapolis or St. Paul, one of the huge venues. I’m mostly apathetic when it comes to Lady Gaga, whatever. I liked her better the first time when she was called Madonna. Anyway, the dudes from the major papers were tweeting about the concert, barely hiding their disdain and I thought “Gee, it’d been nice if a woman were reviewing it.” Not that men don’t have a valid point of view. I grew up worshipping at the keyboard of Jim Walsh. But you know what? I’m sick of men always getting to weigh in on all the music stuff.
I was a little agressive when I asked a Twitter pal if any women were reviewing the Gaga event, and he was all? I dunno if Andrea Swensson is covering it. She was, and is, as far as we know the only woman writing about rock & roll in the Twin Cities. I can name handful of dudes who are, but only one woman.
That makes me sad.
But then a few days after this Twitter conversation it came time for me to pony up my annual MPR membership funds which I’ve done ever since The Current went on the air eight years ago. Founding member, right here!
As I was typing into the message box about why I was donating I started with Mary Lucia, because, duh. And then I added Barb Abney’s name. And then Andrea Swensson. And then Jill Riley. And then because I was running out of attention span I forgot to add Jade and Jacquie Fuller.
And as I was typing I was like OH MY GOD! HOW FABULOUS IS THIS?
Here I’d just been bitching about the lack of female voices talking about Rock & Roll, when they’d been in my ears all along. I just hadn’t realized it. Why? Because my bias is always for writing.
Now that I’ve realized this I cannot convey how much it matters that so many women are here in the Twin Cities talking about rock & roll. It matters! It matters! It matters! It matters! And if you’ve never been the girl who feels like none of the other girls aren’t listening to the same kind of music you do. Or that you only love the rock & roll to attract a boy. Or that someone might make fun of you because you don’t listen to music the same way the boys do, then you too know why this matters.
And I get a little weepy writing about this, not only because it’s taken me FORTY! years to find this but because I think of my lovely fifteen-year-old niece, Jaycie, who has really discovered music in the last year. She makes my heart swell bigger and bigger every week when she asks me about Neko Case or Tegan & Sara. And watching her talk about her upcoming trip to Coachella is seeing pure joy in action. But perhaps what I love the most is that she’s going to grow up in a city a world where her musical voice will be validated whenever she turns on the radio, because of course she’s a listener of The Current, and she hears not just one or two, but a myriad of female voices talking about something she loves.
That people, is fucking awesome.