Just a note that I’ll be pausing Landline. Not sure for how long. For Landline’s paying subscribers, that means you won’t be billed until I start posting again. I’m pausing because over the last few months, I haven’t been posting as often as I’d told people I would, and when I do post… well, there doesn’t seem to be that much of a positive response. On the one hand I want to be bullheaded and just do my thing, whatever that is, and if people enjoy it, great. Whatever. But there is another hand, which says… waitasec, how is a hand speaking?… anyways, on the other hand, I am interested in being of use to folks, with whatever skills/energy/time I have left in my middle age, and perhaps those could be better employed elsewhere/elsehow than sending occasional emails into the generally indifferent Void.
I've got a job that's taking up a lot of energy/time but I still intend to resume Landline at some point, cuz there's sooo much I want to share with y'all. In the meantime, I've started posting stuff on/via Substack Notes, which is kind of like twitter for substack writers/subscribers. Head to https://substack.com/notes or find the “Notes” tab in the Substack app. As a subscriber to Landline, you’ll automatically see my notes. Feel free to like, reply, or share them around.
I love Landline. I think many of us, myself certainly included, have simply had our attention spans so thoroughly destroyed by years of internet use that it's hard to spend the time with it that it deserves.
I would still love to have just random thoughts and musings from you. But I certainly understand if it's just not worth the squeeze at the moment. That said, I will sign up for a paid subscription just as a placeholder.
Longtime fan. Best to you Jay. Maybe after the war??
Hey, Jay! Thanks for your response. All is well with me and Denice here in So. Calif. Heading to Portland OR for a Thanksgiving week visit with friends. We are so fortunate and I work hard to remind myself of that, though it can be hard with all of the outside influences. I wish I could walk over and have a coffee with you and chat with you. The 'personal' is so much more fulfilling than the 'social' aspects of modern life. I hope you are enjoying life in Tucson; great town in a beautiful region. Wishing you much joy! All the best, -T
I do also agree with another commenter about it being something you set aside because it requires sitting down with it and looking at links etc. I view it on my computer and I hate sitting at my computer. I rarely do. I think that is were podcast have an advantage. They are car time, hiking time etc. Not (for me) time I could be drawing or painting
Yeah, I have recommended your newsletter to people but never subscribed. My bad. Hopefully it is an incentive to move forward. I totally get where you're coming from tho. The benefits of your unique perspective, and unique community is exposing normies like me to cool stuff we don't normally see... at the same time (I can only guess) living on the edge comes with a bit of isolation and the feeling of swimming up stream constantly!
I vote you go with the flow in your consciousness stream ... Write when it hits you. You will always have an audience, though silent they may be and remain.
I've adored and respected your writing for many years; it's made its mark on my bookshelves, music collection, podcast choices, obsessions in a couple cases ... but I also get it because I'm the exact same position (albeit with a much smaller readership). I don't know what to do, either, and at this point in my life (I suspect we're roughly the same age), I agree that perhaps my skills and insights are better used elsewhere... anyway! Lots to think about. All the best from the lower Midwest.
Thanks for sharing where you are at Jay. FWIW your voice has been an important part of my life since Arthur Mag. I’ve engaged as a lurker the entire time. It’s an interesting thing for me to examine how much my lurkerness is a negative thing (taking and not giving despite “pair subscriber” status etc.) I have indeed taken more from you than I have given back (like your pointing to the recent Ecstasy of Gold stuff on Bandcamp, which I never would have found without you, for example).
How the fuck do any of us “engage” in this almost dystopian world we live in? I would love to host a weekly pot luck to share food and drink and music tips yet alas we all live so far away from each other. And my apartment is not big enough.
Anyhow, what you have done for years has deep importance, and it saddens me that the fucking structures in place don’t make that apparent.
I started to share this, because I attribute a lot of what I gather from your frank and honest presentation of your state of mind, I'm tempted to relate to what I consider is what I feel is most positive about the underlying facts of it. Above all else, your bio is considerably underreported in the way that key figures in other sites that appear to have what you perceive is lacking here. My hunch is that maybe the others are less intelligent, therefore more accessible and easier to assimilate and digest. In today's online marketplace of ideas, if Landline (by any other name) could feature a similar historicity for progressive, woke, pluralistic issues that blurs the generational lines between our pre-millennial generations of the music and its culture, with the today's post millennial technology-driven music and culture mixed in with the political/economic/environmental and social populism, and somehow knit them together into a movement-oriented site, maybe with some celebrity buy-in from the start, it would move forward in the ways you sense are missing now. The phrase/concept metaphor that comes to mind is "the Knit". BTW, the only reason I don't have something more material to offer: at 78, I live an expat life abroad on a $700/mo. SS benefit. I hope you'll keep picking at this scab and it will all heal up w/o scarring you. I appreciate what you've done.
Well, I hope it never goes away for good. I've been getting Landline since you started it. Landline was/is always one of my favorite things, and why I eventually subscribed. Seeing a new one in the In Box always had the thrill of getting something cool and unexpected in the mail. I loved the whole humble, under-the-radar quality to it. A decent person, reporting on things other decent people are doing (or did), for other decent people in world full of terrible people. You hipped me to a lot of cool stuff over the years, and I really appreciate it. Maybe just ignore the bells-and-whistles, analytics, stats bullshit that Substack offers and just write and promote what you want anyway and not worry if enough people are responding, etc. As someone else already wrote: The Void is listening. Anyway, a Landline every now and then would still be appreciated!
Hi Jay, I don't know you in real life but was an Arthur reader and followed along from there. I'll expand things a bit as I think many writers / newsletter folks are still trying to figure out the Substack model. I'm not a paying subscriber and read the updates when they come out, but it is hard to articulate what I'm "looking" for, exactly.
I've found that you have a foot in many doors that lead to interesting places, and part of what I like is that there's no sense that you are always on the hustle trying to find more and more stuff to share - you pass along the things you really appreciate. So infrequent/irregular is sort of a virtue, really, but obviously not much help for the "how much would someone pay for this" question. It's more like getting a message from your thoughtful friend from a while back. So I'd say take all the pauses you need, and thanks for keeping the one sided conversation going this long!
I totally get the question about whether your energy is best directed toward a project where the observable impact is nearly negligible. I dealt with much the same with EarthEar (highlighting truly creative soundscape art) and Acoustic Ecology Institute (tracking the science/policy impacts on our living soundscapes), both now sunsetted, though the WFAE has kept AEI’s archives alive...I think! A few big time cheerleaders, but each post: crickets. Do your thing Jay, online as you are inspired, but especially offline! Life is rich, no need to feel diminished by however your shouts of enthusiasm echo down the infinite halls of the internet....
The tribute to Mark Lanegan and the Diggers stuff made this worth it on their own. Not to make excuses but I don't really have extra money every month due to circumstances, but I appreciate every issue of Landline]. We have a lot of similar interests and taste in music. Hope you continue at some point. Thanks.
I wish I could offer Landline subscriptions for $1/month but Substack doesn't let you go under $5/month.
Whenever I get a landline in my inbox I feel hope. My intention is to go back and check out the links in your pass dispatches. Especially the stuff about libraries. I admire your work and dedication. I think there is a general cultural malaise and loneliness that is hard to overcome. So don’t be hard on yourself. Saw this written on the bathroom wall of the bar that let’s us have free improv shows: punk’s not dead. It’s just watching Netflix.