I'll do it as long as someone will publish it for me
June 25, 2009 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Greil Marcus writes Real Life Top Ten for the Believer Magazine, in which he lists "anything that remotely has to do with music, a dress Bette Midler wore at an awards show or a great guitar solo in the middle of a song that otherwise wasn't very interesting." But he's been writing this column online for just about 10 years.

Not to mention the previous incarnation in Artfourm, some collected at Bnet.

Not to mention that he started writing the lists in 1978:

"The point was not to just be a list of records, but anything that remotely had to do with music, a dress Bette Midler wore at an awards show or a great guitar solo in the middle of a song that otherwise wasn't very interesting. At some point, Doug Simmons, the music editor at The Village Voice, said, "What if you made that into a real column, annotated each item?" I'd never thought of that. So I made it a monthly column for The Village Voice in around '86....

It's not a central focus, but it's a kind of organizing principle. I do it for fun. It keeps me looking, keeps me listening, keeps me alert. " Powells interview.

"If I have an argument to make for the Top Ten, it's that you can find culture everywhere. Culture is always at work, it's always changing or manipulating or exploiting our perceptions and prejudices--what we want and what we're afraid of--and you can find very smart, dedicated people working on those premises in shopwindows, in advertisements, in painting and sculpture, in records, in performances. It's like being at an amusement park with these incredible surprises happening all the time. That's the sensibility, I suppose, that this column invoked when I was doing it as I should have." Artforum 2003

Greil's most recent book is "The Shape Of Things to Come" (video excerpt).

posted by Potomac Avenue (4 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Greil Marcus has carved his own niche in American culture. He invented his own job. He staked out his territory and worked it, slowly and patiently. He's coined phrases that will outlive him and his insights are as much a part of our appreciation of what we now call "roots music" (ugh) as the music and performers himself. He's provided the backfill that has made the music seem both more real and more mythical than it might ever have been had we never read him. Greil Marcus. What a writer.
posted by Faze at 12:58 PM on June 25, 2009

I've enjoyed a lot of Greil Marcus' writing over the years, especially Like A Rolling Stone and In The Fascist Bathroom, but on the other hand...if they ever hold The Pretentious Olympics, he'll medal for sure.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:43 PM on June 25, 2009

Lipstick Traces changed my life.
posted by escabeche at 2:45 PM on June 25, 2009

Your favorite critic does not suck. Thanks for the post.
posted by Edward L at 7:42 PM on June 25, 2009

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