Outside Looking In

“Now, back to 1978. In the middle of that backstage scene, I was aware of being on the outside looking in. Sure, I was inside, in a small sense, and that was cool. But something was nagging at my conscience: If you were on the inside, could you still be a critic and write with honesty? Decades later, after I was established in my career, I felt a shiver of recognition watching former rock critic Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical film Almost Famous, as Crowe’s rock critic surrogate starts hanging out with his favorite band and struggles to walk the fine line between being a journalist and being a fan. That night backstage with Bruce, I glimpsed that fine line for the first time, and knew that, soon, I would have to choose sides. Backstage passes and schmoozing with the star were fun, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t where I was meant to be. I was meant to be outside, admiring at arm’s length, writing it down, decoding What It All Signified. And that’s when I knew for sure that I was a born critic.”
Joyce Millman, “Backstage with Bruce, or, How I Became a Rock Critic” (from her blog, The Mix Tape)

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