Over the summer, I read Dig: Sound and Music in Hip Culture for the purposes of an interview I would conduct with the writer, Phil Ford, on behalf of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (US branch). I have been reading academic books in a wide area of disciplines for the last 10 years and most of them seem to be following a very specific formula. This is really helpful as one can easily read through a book, find immediately the parts that are of interest in relation to their work.
There are some books, however, that escape that formula. I still remember reading Michelle Kisliuk’s Seize the dance: BaAka musical life and the ethnography of performance – an ethnography written in chronological order, like a diary, with an unexpected twist in chapter 7. Or, Alfred Gell’s Art and Agency, one of the most difficult books to conceptually understand, but no one can argue that it is well-written.
Dig is yet another example of academic reading pleasure, wonderfully organised and written, on a subject that should be of great interest for those working in the field of popular music. Hipness is everywhere you look – usually mediated in entirely different ways.
I was really enthusiastic about conducting the interview with Phil Ford, who spent a lot of his time replying to my n00b questions. You can read the final interview here. Don’t forget to download the PDF version of the hipness timeline!