Over the weekend we moved our big three-year-old son into his new big-boy room. That meant listening to a lot of Beastie Boys (fantastic moving/packing/unpacking music) and it meant swapping the home-office and the kid’s bedroom. This meant finding all sorts of rubbish. Including … hate mail.
I have angry letters dating back to, well, the time when people wrote letters.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but blog comments will never hurt me. The real fire is when someone writes you a letter. When someone is so wound up by a single review of a single show that they put clacking keyboard to word file and hit print, or – in one case – old fashioned pen to paper in an increasingly angry scrawl.
The most hate mail I ever received for a single piece of work was The Donny Osmond concert. I used to have a file of the letters, only because the editor of the newspaper printed them out and sent them to me, commenting that it was the most hate mail they had received for any one piece of writing in some time. An inordinate amount – or something like that. The volume of letters had made the editor question my position on the show. His action was to send me a letter asking if I had really been fair. And to prove how unfair he could be he included a whole lot of nonsensical “arguments” from Joe and Jane Newspaper-Reader. I don’t have any of those letters anymore but the whole story – and review – is documented in that link up above there. (Or here).
I do still have a couple of the letters from when I wrote about Amici. There were plenty. People were very upset – you see one of the members of Amici was from New Zealand (in fact he went to the same school I did – I didn’t know him, he was much older). So that gave Amici a free pass in this country because, well, they had made it. A Kiwi had made it! The world stage. And here he was back home for a victory lap. And I made the comparison to when I saw the Russian Circus on Ice as a kid and the bears, chained to the ring, were slow-stepping their sad dance. That’s what I thought of when I heard Amici’s “popera” take on Frankie Goes To Hollywood’sThe Power of Love. But the rest of the review couldn’t keep up such a positive spin…
So the fans were pretty angry. Their water-cooler conversations spilled over into letters backed up by anecdotal evidence that I was wrong. They – of course – were right.
“You suck BRO”.
She, a Queen fan, was outraged that I dare suggest Queen was anything other than the greatest band of all time. Of all time.
I used to be the music reviewer for the Good Morning TV show. This basically required holding up a handful of CDs and saying one or two sentences about each. One week, back in 2005, I made mention of a Queen tribute album. I praised it actually. Some pretty cool cover versions on it. From memory it was The Flaming Lips’ version of Bohemian Rhapsody that I focussed on – saying I enjoyed it or some such. I also tossed in a line about finding Queen being perhaps not quite as great as some of the band’s very passionate bands seem to think.
It was nice to find these letters again. I had forgotten about them. But every few years I remember that one from Tracey. From Rotorua. She cared enough to write.
Between late 2007 and early 2016 I wrote a daily music blog at Stuff.co.nz called Blog On The Tracks. I’m reposting some of the entries here because the discussion is still valid or entertaining or because you might have missed them the first time.
Click here to see the original post from 2015.