Who Am I and Why Should You Care?

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stephen Douglas Barling III. 

In 1999 I approached Hawes Spencer, founder and editor of Charlottesville, Va.’s weekly city paper, C-Ville, about writing a live music review column. The paper published a music column but rarely had any serious reviews of local acts. As a small-time local musician, it seemed to me that dupes like myself would never see the light of print unless somebody rolled up their sleeves and, you know, got down to it.

Thus, Cripsy Duck was born.

For two and a half years, Cripsy’s Crawl was a clearinghouse for stories of drunken shenanigans and the hundreds of bands who played their soundtrack. I had fun. I wrote a lot. I went out too much. I saw a ton of killer music that I never would have seen otherwise. (No cover charge? – sure I’ll come in.) I also saw a lot of crap.

This can get tiresome. And expensive.

If memory serves me, September 11, 2001 fell on a Monday. My column was due the next day. I scrapped the bands I’d been writing on and ranted about the attacks. Hawes refused to print it. I quit. Every cartoon in the paper talked about the World Trade Centers and I couldn’t? See ya.

A couple months later I tried to contact Hawes about an idea for a humor mag only to find that he’d been scrapped – from the paper he created. He bounced back quickly, however, taking the entire editorial and art staff of C-Ville to found The Hook, an alternative alternative weekly, while I was drawn back to C-Ville where copy editor Chris Rikken and I held the paper together for a few weeks until Cathy Harding was brought in to run the show.

I was hired on as a staff writer, cranking out 4-6000 words a week, including my 900 word Crawls. The romance lasted about five months until, in the summer of 2002,  I was canned. I don’t think I was playing all that well with the others – working too much from home (where I could concentrate). Whatever. Publishing can be an unforgiving mistress.

I wrote a couple pieces for The Hook, but soon gave up. I stopped reading local papers.

In the meantime I’d become a political junkie. There was a lot to see. The election of 2004 was riveting. And revolting. Then Katrina. Two endless wars. On and on and on.

Late in 2007, I contacted Kyle Redinger at cvillain.com about adding some music content to their local gossip blog. He liked the idea. I wrote a couple pieces. The first was widely read and the comments were pretty fun. The second review sort of flopped. It dawned on me that the people over there didn’t really need over-thought in-depth content, they just needed something to start a conversation (or more often, an argument) with.

I gave up. No money. Going out every night to see bands I didn’t know or care about. That’s a young man’s game. Besides, it’s much more fun to play music than to write about it, and I’m playing a lot these days. And criticizing your fellows can have some weird karmic blowback. 

I’m writing now for myself. And you, dear reader. I can’t tell you how nice it’s been in the last six years to have people come up and tell me that my column was sorely missed – that even if they didn’t agree with me, it was still a great read. Several local musicians have even thanked me for being hard on them. One fellow said he hated my guts back then, but that I’d put a much needed fire under his band’s ass. And they got better. Three cheers!

Anyway, there you go. Check back for local stories, national nausea, music musings and various crap.

Nice ta meet ya!

-Cripsy Duck

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6 Responses to “Who Am I and Why Should You Care?”

  1. Kyle Redinger Says:

    Good luck, Cripsy!

    Perhaps you can find some inspiration for quality content over at our sister site, !

  2. Kyle Redinger Says:

    *that’s http://www.cvillemuse.com .

  3. cripsyduck Says:

    Thanks, Kyle. Cvillemuse has turned into a great spot for relevant stuff on our local radar. Cheers!

  4. The irony here is that out of your posted blogs, I chose this one to read because it had 3 comments. Wait, what does irony mean again?

  5. Breeden Says:

    Shut the Deuce up Dave,

    You wouldn’t know Irony if it walked up, played dumb, and tried to get you to define something you didn’t understand just to dispel your argument.

    4 am Sunday mornin’ crackin Irony jokes on the www? sleep it off turtle head.

  6. I’m glad this response section is staying so topical……..and there was a lesbian in my bed, I couldn’t sleep.

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