The (Unannounced) “Worst Village Voice Media Music Writer” Contest Has A Frontrunner

Oct 15th, 2007 // 17 Comments

typewriter.jpgYou (hopefully) have better things to do with your day than read the bold and edgy blogs the New Media folks at New TimesVVM have slapped all over their newsweeklies’ sites. Of course, when you’re gathering material for your day at a music blog, you comb even the least likely corners of the Internet for content. Of course, any Internet that would allow someone like me to pontificate on the music world ten times in a day is inherently dubious, but we stumbled upon a blogger in the VVM chain who is managing to bring shame to the industry itself.

Meet Matt Neff, former shoe salesman and recent college graduate, whose unique brand of circa-2002-Pitchforkian indecipherablity and fierce dislike for anything outside his personal preferences that puts him atop the leaderboard for the “Worst Village Voice Media Music Writer” contest that I just invented (and probably will never be mentioned again after this post).

The clips that earned Matt his nomination:

From “Some Call It Pronk: Coping with The Cardiacs“:

It was a typical Tuesday morning. I was browsing through the used videocassette section of my local public library, musing over a fifty cent copy of “Hanging Up” when I heard a familiar phlegm-filled cough. My insides full of forebodings, I slowly turned around and faced my old high school nemesis and drinking buddy, Doug “Creosote” Huggins. His rangy limbs had not diminished in size and his shoulder length auburn hair was still flecked with pieces of orange carbohydrate from his job at the Cheezit cracker factory. “So, Neff,” he sneered in the inimitable Creosote way that so drove the women mad, “I see your taste in videocassettes has not improved.” I laughed in a manner that I hoped sounded courageous. “Not improved nothing Creosote. I was just considering purchasing this copy of Yankee Doodle Dandy, winner of three Academy Awards and item number 100 on the American Film Institute’s ’100 Years…100 Movies’ ranking list.” He appeared dumbstruck but quickly recovered, putting on a contemptuous face. “And is your stomach still as weak as it used to be?” he asked, referring to the many shameful defeats I had suffered at his hands at the drinking table. “No,” I said, speaking boastfully. “Now my stomach is lined with iron unlike yours which is lined with cotton candy.” Once again he appeared flabbergasted but quickly spat out a retort. “Oh? Then perhaps we should test both your taste in videos and your digestional abilities with…a video-watching contest on the popular internet video site ‘You Tube’?”
“But what will be the prize,” I mused, “for the winner of such a contest?” “Ah,” he spoke, noticing a weathered old photograph that had portentously just fallen from my wallet. “Perhaps we have found a candidate. I wager your prized collector’s edition 1992 World Series commemorative Coca-Cola bottles–still sealed of course.” My insides curdled with horror at the thought of such a loss but I kept my expression placid. “I accept.” We retired to the computer lab of the library and began the contest. Creosote came out of the gates hard with a video of a man devouring a live alpaca. I swallowed my surprise and came back with montage of close-ups from the canned-peach eating contests held annually in a certain Madagascar leper colony. He kept his bewilderment admirably under control and showed me a clip of two children writing swear words on their sleeping father’s buttocks with green sharpie markers. I wiped away my forehead sweat and debuted the video of a Cheezit factory burning to the ground. Creosote’s face drained of color but he parried with a well-directed piece on Japanese bukkake/waterslide fetishes.

A 464 word lead. A premise involving an imaginary friend. The use of the word “portentously”. A Neff classic, even ignoring the actual music content.

From “Fame, Shmame: Overlooked AZ Hall of Fame Nominees“:

“Hall of Fame” conceptual problems notwithstanding, their choices usually suck anyway. As a certain local music snob with ears full of sarcastic wax (and a close friend) remarked to me the other day, “Hall of Fame? More like Hall of Shame!” I laughed at his brazen wit and we both went out for chianti and pizza. Actually what he said right before that was: it’s not that Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks and Glen Campbell are simply old, it’s that they’re old, irrelevant, and BORING. They haven’t made any interesting music since 1976, and even then just barely. Sure they’re famous; they’re also limp, money-ridden geezers who couldn’t tear the roof off a Play-Skool pizza parlour. They support the notion that every twenty years all the popular music celebrities on the planet should be loaded onto a rocket piloted into the sun to make room for all the young hellions who are still artistically relevant, in their prime and deserving of fame and fortune.

Attacking the “Hall of Fame” concept, and non-contemporary artists not perceived as “cool”. Brilliant. Note the recurrent use of the conversation with an alleged “friend”.

Finally, a selection from “Winks ‘n’ Links: Sunday Blog Logistics“:

The kindly goblins who orchestrate the inner machinations of this here web-hole were nice enough to finally equip me with two things: 1) a list of links more befitting my “tendencies” and 2) an email account. So it is now that I beseech, nay, beg you to grace me with personal correspondence at matt.neff (at) newtimes.com. Suggestions, review requests, pizza recipes, and ferret-care tips are all welcome, but make sure you know what you’re doing–I don’t want to be knocked out in bed all week humming some nasty pop punk melody or sniveling with the woeful knowledge that I trimmed Chompy’s furry lil digging implements to the detriment of his (currently robust) health.
Also, we’ve blown out those dusty old links and pasted up a fresh set o’ new ones. I considered walking through link by link and explaining the relative merits of each, but I know you’re all grown adults. Instead, I made a Mix ‘n’ Match game, complete with walkthrough explanations, to really help you learn–lest your minds wilt like the sad begonias they may or may not already be.

I’ve run out of things to say. The links as “Mix ‘n’ Match” game made my head explode a little bit.

Surely, there must be some competition for this prestigious honor, so keep your thesaurus at hand, Matt Neff…you never know when someone might get a “obscure word of the day” calendar for Christmas and give you a run for your money!

Up On The Sun [Phoenix New Times]

  1. loudersoft

    reading those pieces was like a study in desperation and the search for personal relevance

  2. Anonymous

    I’ll give him some credit…at least he didn’t trash The Tubes in his article about the AZ Music Hall of Fame.

  3. Kate Richardson

    I gave up at “My insides full of forebodings.”

    Is there really not a better way to say that? Maybe just not at all?

  4. janine

    What’s with the olde timey language? Is ball and hoop big with the kids these days?

  5. mike a

    You’re forgetting one important component of the analysis: the nerd engaging in nerd-bashing. It’s usually most common in complaints that so-and-so artist doesn’t “rock,” is too “safe” or lacks the requisite “danger.” Our friend Matt here tear(ing) the roof off a Playskool pizza parlor.” You see this most often from recent college grads, so perhaps we should revisit Mr. Neff’s prose a couple of years later and see if he’s outgrown it.

    I also don’t understand the Glen Campbell comment. He’s saying Glen just doesn’t write ‘em like “Rhinestone Cowboy” or “Southern Nights?” (Did Glen even write ‘em? I think at least one’s a cover.)

    Honestly? I’ll take Bill Wyman’s blowhard sellout talk over a clueless writer-with-imaginary-friend any day.

  6. Dickdogfood

    Didn’t Tony Ortega declare a jihad on ye olde timey words some time ago?

  7. Nicolars

    Sounds like VV is nostalgic for old school Pitchfork reviews.

  8. Bob Loblaw

    NOOOOOOO! AWKWARD CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP FLASHBACKS!

  9. perdothegit

    The Cardiacs are great and nobody ever writes about them. Sadly, after reading Matt Neff’s article it appears that, still, no one has.

  10. mackro

    someone gone done made a testtube bastard of Dave Eggers, Dennis Miller, and a second-hand thesaurus from 1987 bought from a flea market from a former porn dealer.

  11. iantenna

    so he’s never heard tusk?

  12. sovietpanda

    Whoever does the list of 5 songs for City Pages is a definite contender for this award

  13. plasticaisle

    I guess I’m irrelevant since i listened to Wichita Lineman 3 times this weekend. BFD.

  14. NoNewYork

    seeing as you guys seem to have gotten your hands on his resume, do you think it’s possible you could send me his address along with a generous amount of plastic explosive?

  15. westartedthis

    he mentions pizza in every single article, then?

  16. Dan Gibson

    @westartedthis: To his credit, Phoenix is well known for its pizza.

  17. PrinceHal

    Ugh, shades of Brent DiCresenzo.

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