It doesn’t matter how hard you try to avoid it, sometimes life is gonna’ get in your way. At those times, it’s important to be mindful of the concept of acceptance. Some things you just aren’t going to be able to change, and you have to do your best to navigate them, learn from them, and move on.
To cut a story short, I was unexpectedly forced to look again at what I write here at Skin Back Alley this weekend; why I do it, what I want to achieve with it, and how best to go about doing that.
As well as checking in on my own internal values, motives and goals, I sought some external input, too. What does Skin Back Alley look like from an outside perspective?
One message came back and stuck in my mind: essentially, hold back on the superfan vibe; people will see you as a shill or a suck-up if you don’t make them fight for space on your site, or if your reviews are largely positive.
So I mulled that over for a while and bounced it around with other aspects of what I do here and why I do them; things that I do out of choice, and some that are a simple consequence of circumstance.
And I came to a conclusion.
I’m not at all inclined to hold back on any vibe that suggests that I am a fan of the styles of music I write about. The simple fact is I AM a fan of that music. I am very passionate about it. That and the best quality writing. For goodness sake, I love both so much that I’m trying to make writing about that music WHAT I DO. I think that’s part of what makes Skin Back Alley different.
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t write blindly or without insight in to what I am hearing; I won’t write thinking “If I do x, y band will love me.” In short, I’m not about to give a favourable writeup to something that is shit, regardless of whether it is in a genre I love. I mean what I say in the “About” section of this site. Skin Back Alley is not about personal prejudice.
But it is about PASSION. The writing WILL reflect that.
As for being a shill? Well, if you’re cynical enough to think that, then bollocks to you. That says more about you than it does about me or Skin Back Alley. The simple fact is that Skin Back Alley doesn’t have a vast swathe of staff writers to call upon (yet!) Therefore I do have to carefully select what gets covered in order to do it justice; in order to write with PASSION and INSIGHT; in order to write with Skin Back Alley’s brand values at the forefront of my mind.
I want Skin Back Alley to be a professional space, of course I do. I want it to have integrity. I want it to be seen as somewhere that fans and bands – indeed any and all people who are passionate about the music that I am passionate about – can come and engage and share in that passion.
I DO value this space; more than most things in my life. Do I expect anything from fans or bands in return? Well, I want them to value themselves and their music in the same way first; then I want them to value Skin Back Alley too, respecting why it was founded and what they’ll find here should they come.
You like Skin Back Alley? Great. Tell me. You don’t like Skin Back Alley, feel free to tell me that too! You want to use some of what I’ve written somehwere else or in your marketing or PR materials? Ask me! Credit me! I’ll probably say yes!
I want engaging with Skin Back Alley to be a mutually beneficial experience for ALL.
Maybe you think that’s all naive bullshit. Maybe you’re right. But until such time as I am proved wrong, I’m going to ensure that Skin Back Alley continues to do what it set out to do, and become what I have intended for it to become.
I hope you’ll join me.