Did you think Paper Thin Walls was a piece of installation art too? What else could a new music start-up with no revenue stream be? Apparently it wasn’t. I knew it was too good to be true. It paid! Now it’s gone.
I was there in the beginning. I don’t remember exactly how I got involved. I may have worn editor Christopher Weingarten down or he may have asked me to help him out of a hole while editing the first Holiday Mixtape. It was a baptism by fire, all done for free, or out of some vague belief that I might actually get paid for all the nonsense I was doing back then. It didn’t, but I volunteered for more as my unemployment wound down.
In the end, it was all worth it. Working with Chris Weingarten (and Brandon and Tom) was an opportunity not to be missed for a couple of reasons. First, it was refreshing to find someone so dedicated to music writing, in and of itself. I felt that he was really trying to recreate Chuck Eddy’s version of the Voice’s music section. It reminded me why I liked music writing in the first place. He was curating the sort of site I wanted to read all the time.
Secondly, and this is really a corollary of the first point, Whiney’s just a great editor. When I’d sign on in the morning, I’d check Pitchfork and find umpteen typographical errors in the lead review or feature, things that could’ve been fixed with just a little proofreading. I’d joke with Chris about them, saying, “So many editors, so little editing.” Perhaps it was because of this that Chris held himself to a higher standard.
It’s more than a little sad to see a site like Paper Thin Walls go. It was one of the last bastions of music criticism that didn’t frustrate me. The reviews were short and to the point, which helped keep the writing lively. When I worked on Bullhorn updates for the news feed, I felt like I had an opportunity to lay waste to the publicity cycle in 10 words or less. It was the sort of outlet that struck a critical balance between gonzo antics and formalism and kept music crit as it should be first and foremost: fun!
Last, but certainly not least, Paper Thin Walls helped me get my current job! I celebrate that fact every other Friday morning at midnight. Thanks for everything, Whiney. Your hard work and patience will not soon be forgotten.