April 15, 2003
BOT Pt. 6: We'll Always Have Roger Miller

I had only been on the job a short time when I learned the secret of being an editor. Two of my colleagues came up to me with a question to which there was no apparent right answer. Maybe it was about the reader service card, or something to do with an ad. I took a deep breath, looked at it a minute and made a decision. They said, ďOK,Ē and walked away. I was startled because they accepted my opinion so quickly, then I realized that most of the time, people just want you to make a decisionóeven if you donít really know the answer.

This is the rule I have operated by ever since. And itís the reason I couldnít go back to those BOT days. For better or for worse, I have become used to being the person giving the orders. This was somewhat antithetical to the way the magazine was put together, although I never really tested the groupís limits.

Although music brought us all together, BOT doesnít reflect much of it. Sometimes all I can remember is that Roger Miller records played over and over at the parties (in addition to a bunch of other stuff). Maybe it was the only thing everyone could agree on. How could you not like Roger Miller?

Well here I sit high, gettin' ideas
Ain't nothing but a fool would live like this
Out all night and runnin' wild
Woman sittin' home with a month old child

This is the most meaningful conclusion Iíve come to from this little excursion back into those days. After BOT #3, we never did another issue, although it was discussed from time to time. The moment, whatever it was, had passed.

The culture around us changed rapidly, too. Early in 1991 we were on the brink of the ďgrungeĒ hype that would catapult ďalternativeĒ music and the punk rock lifestyle into a media spotlight of sorts. K Records and Sub Pop and all the rest were no longer blessedly obscure. Suddenly, it was all the rage to be disaffected. No one affiliated with BOT particularly identified with this trend, but it and the zine boom of the early and mid-Ď90s subtly changed the context. The Internet, with its promises of greater connectivity, changed things even more.

Dang me, dang me
They oughta take a rope and hang me
High, from the highest tree
Woman would you weep for me

Where did everyone end up? All over the place. Some of the coconspirators moved to Louisville and they can be found here. Mike lives in Seattle. Gus still lives in Bloomington. Ed is an itinerant philosophy professor. And so on.

Writing this retrospective was not a nostalgia trip. I donít want to go back to 1990. Itís been instructive and fun, though. The response from people who remember and total strangers who donít even know me has been encouraging, and their enthusiasm helps me to remember what fun it all was the first time around. I am grateful for having had the luck to do this magazine and for the forum to remember it now.

Just sittin' around drinkin' with the rest of the guys
Six rounds bought, and I bought five
Spent the groceries and half the rent
Lack fourteen dollars of having twenty-seven cents

Some absences are noted. Iím not in touch with some of the BOT posse any more. Time and distance are largely responsible for this. The Internet and the grapevine being what they are, I expect that sooner or later theyíll connect with this site. I donít imagine theyíll agree with all my choices, but thatís OK. Agreement was never the point.

They say roses are red and violets are purple
Sugar is sweet and so is maple surple
And I'm the seventh out of seven sons
My pappy was a pistol
I'm a son of a gun.

Posted at April 15, 2003 09:20 PM