You force the music section to take a Pentax K100 on vacation, and we reward you with a Payback Time T-shirt and two tickets to a Live Nation club show of your choice taking place in Vancouver within the next four weeks. Here’s this week’s winning whine.
Dear Payback Time: Well, maybe no one is writing to Payback because it is always the same conversation. Member of the public: Your concert review stank! [Band whatever] was great! Payback: MY review was excellent. YOU stink! Thus the fine art of music criticism is advanced.
> Annie Amos
Mike Usinger responds: Dearest Annie—For the longest time, I have blamed both the Internet and the stupidity of the average Vancouverite for the drop-off in letters to Payback Time. What kind of cretin chooses to voice their complaints anonymously on the Straight’s website when they could be getting rewarded for writing the same thing to Payback Time? Let’s use your letter as an example. Had you gone the usual instant-gratification/spineless-chickenshit route, you’d have posted it on our website under an article anonymously, perhaps using a name like USINGERSUCKSBEAVERBALLS, knowing full well that I, along with most others on staff, have a policy of refusing to feed the trolls. Instead, you sent your missive to firstname.lastname@example.org, and, for your trouble, walk away with tickets to four shows (an estimated $360 value) of your choice, as well as a Payback Time T-shirt (priceless). Best of all, I didn’t suggest that “YOU stink!” If only you could give the trolls who post nasty things about me and others daily on our website a lesson in how an intelligent, reasonable, and non-chickenshit person can rake in free stuff. Sometimes there’s more to life than instant gratification. Unless, of course, we’re talking about taking photos. You know what stinks? Although I never thought I’d say this, it’s film. God bless Hipstamatic. While that statement doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with music criticism, it is a great example of how you advance fine art.
You can voice your impotent rage by snail mail or by sending an email to email@example.com.