Looking back, looking forward: For a young Dan Mangan, the Straight was the place every musician wanted to be

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      By Dan Mangan

      Music section feature, concert listings, Savage Love. In that order. Every week, and usually consumed in the same coffee shop. The Georgia Straight was the local bible for musical goings on, and nearly the only source on the matter. 

      Pre social media, print was the access point. It was your personal IP address where you could tap into the vein—people beyond you. Cooler than you. Folks who could name a favourite record from the broken-up band that had recently re-formed as a new genre-bending ensemble that you’d gladly pretend you’d heard of. 

      I ached to join the tornado. I’d have thrown everything I owned into the cyclone, in hopes that it would abduct me also. 

      I remember when Nice, Nice, Very Nice was about to launch, and sending a cold email to the music editor, via my friend who worked at the front desk at the Georgia Straight. The subject line was “10 Reasons why Dan Mangan should be on a cover of the Straight in August”. It was the longest long shot. And it fucking worked. 

      I was working at The Keg still. We stocked the Straight in the bar, and a co-worker called me “rockstar” when I came in to work to see my face staring back at me. I wanted to punch him in the nose. All the work. All the heartache. Reduced to a pejorative trope that describes the fantasy. But I didn’t want fantasy. I wanted something real. I’ve hated that word ever since. 

      It would be hard to describe to my kids now how much thumbing the local music mag meant to me as a teenager and emerging musician. I even loosely refer to it in my song, “Tina’s Glorious Comeback”. But I miss it. Discovering a band in the Straight was like discovering a band at a listening station at Zulu Records. 

      I hope my boys have their own similar experience of discovery, in whatever medium makes sense in their teen years. I think it’s important.

      Here’s to inky finger tips and perfect sips.