Drew Angerer/Getty Images
There are far fewer fingertips smudged and squeaky with newsprint ink today than there were even an armful of years ago. Now, there are soon to be tens of thousands a week less, as The Village Voice ends an epoch, removing newsstands that for 62 years contained the lean and mien of an unparalleled city. (It has to be said that oftentimes, in my experience, those stands were as likely to be filled with bottles of urine as they were papers, though I only got there after the door was free to open.)
The Voice had most — all, it can seem — of the world’s best music writers pass through its pages. Below you’ll find a lot of words by some of those writers, whose work collectively smudged millions, people who remember reflexively the importance of a sentence’s contour, a well-placed swear and a well-executed takedown. It’s easy to say nobody cares any more — about music, about writing, about anything… but reading the stories below, that seems pretty impossible to believe. — Andrew Flanagan
Robert Christgau — music editor from 1974-2006, forever the Dean of American Rock Critics
Walking to Veselka for coffee with the great Carola Dibbell midway through a hectic Thursday morning, I found time to b**** about how NPR thought I could polish off a single shining anecdote that summed up my experience of the music coverage at The Village Voice. I mean, really. That coverage wasn’t the center of my life from 1974 until 2006 only because Carola was. I don’t want to merely call it my professional life, however—emotion was always a crucial part of it, for me in my own writing and in the writers I sought out for the first 10 of those years, when I was the music editor. The Voice provided autonomy and a sense of fellowship like no other outlet while paying enough to keep me and Carola afloat in an East Village that’s now very nearly as chimerical as the online-only Voice itself.
So I b*****d, to the above effect. Whereupon Carola proved her greatness yet again by coming up with two anecdotes worth repeating inside of 45 seconds, one for me and one for her. Sum up they don’t‑-in 2015 I published a memoir called Going Into the City that makes a pass at that feat and doesn’t sum up either. But at least they have the right flavor.