Page Two

Page Two
1998/1999: In our family, this past New Year's Eve was generally subdued. We went out to dinner with good friends, Chinese, of course, because we waited until the last minute before trying to decide where to go. Afterward, we went to a small party which we left just before midnight, knowing that if we stayed to watch the ball drop we would be there another hour. Instead we were in the car as the New Year began, driving home, listening to KGSR play "1999" by the artist whose name we won't even go into here. It took longer than expected to calm the family down after we got home, but then, it was 1999.

When one becomes a parent, one discovers that the term "winter vacation" is a euphemism for pain. For parents with a child on vacation from school, there is no vacation. If no journey is involved, the child will go increasingly cabin-crazy, no matter how much you get out. The beneficiary of these moods are the parents. January 5, 1999 was a good day. The young child went back to school. Lives were saved.

In one of our last editorial meetings of last year (when editorial meetings tended to stack upon themselves like a deck of cards from a cheap motel), we were talking about Top Ten Lists for our Jan. 8, 1999 issue. These lists are an interesting subject. There are those that love them, who keep them all year, constantly revising them. Others are more nonchalant, throwing them together at the last minute. Finally, there are those that loathe them. I generally fall into this camp; there is something about the exercise that trivializes it. Happily, for our readers, I'm in a suppressed minority. Readers expect them. We do them.

During this particular 1998 meeting, Nick Barbaro suddenly suggested that in honor of 1999 we should do Top Nines instead of Top Tens. This was met with instant enthusiasm from the whole staff. Well, enthusiasm might be too strong a word. Producing three issues -- around 380 pages in a short period of time -- had the staff too overwhelmed to be enthusiastic, but they sort of smiled and chuckled. We took it as a good sign.

We have assured them this is a one-time only thing and not a trend that will continue. In 2002 we won't be doing Top Twelves, in 2003 no Top Thirteens. By 2000, we expect to be back to Top Tens, where we will stay.

Are there any differences between Top Tens and Top Nines? Well, yes. One slot. Otherwise, it is all conceptual.

The Austin Music Awards poll ballot is running in this issue. It may sound like the same old song but it is worth noting this is your moment to comment on Austin, 1998, the year in music. Look over past poll results -- despite what critics write and pundits offer, the poll through history proves a reliable guide to the realities of Austin music. This is because it is your voice that determines it. Vote! Fill out as little or as much of the ballot as you like and send it in. Don't leave it to us, the media professionals. Make your opinion known.

It is also time to call attention to the Musicians Register. The life of the Register is now not just the physical issue of the Chronicle, shipped all over the world and stored by desks for the whole year, but also the Web version. All year long, professionals and fans around the world will access this special issue, a guide to working Austin musicians. It is up to you to get your act listed and make sure your information is accurate.

1999: Welcome to the new world.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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Page 2, Nick Barbaro

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