Time for credits to roll on ScreenTime
After 20 years, Greg Locke says good-bye
It was January 2003 when this all started. I remember it better than I remember most things. An ominous 9/11-fueled malaise still ran the mood of the day, but I was about to turn an important personal corner.
To set the scene: In January 2003, I was living alone in a tiny studio apartment while working at the FYE store in the mall (back when it was actually a music store) and the Wooden Nickel on North Anthony Boulevard with Tim Hogan, a wonderful guy from my experience. I was unthinkably poor (a constant in my life) and too dumb to be miserable (yet).
Music meant everything to me, and since I already worked at the two best music stores in town (at the time), what else could I do? So I sent in a review I had written for The Microphones’ Mount Eerie to Whatzup. It was published and I was urged to do more.
The feeling I had the first time I turned a page and saw my name in print was unlike anything I had experienced. Here I finally had the proof that I was a human who lived on Earth. Beyond that, I’m not sure why “getting published” meant so much to me. Validation? Acceptance? A further sense of identity? An easy way to make mom proud? Who can say at this point, more than 20 years later.
For the first five years of “my career” writing for Whatzup I had no clue what I was doing. Writing did not come naturally to me at the time, and I can recall sitting and staring at my computer, trying to figure out the best ways to say the simplest things. I worked hard for a lot of years, and somewhere along the way, I kind of figured it out and became, I suppose, some sort of writer.
I never at any point believed that I was actually good at writing, but I spent enough time reading, thinking, and living to be able to fake it. What I did know at the time was that I was a good fan. The best fan. World-Class Fan right here. I was very much equipped to say, with a lot of passion, “Hey, look at this guy, he’s great.” Look at Mark Hutchins. Look at Josh Hall. Look at Lee Miles. Look at Kevin Hambrick. Look at Jon Keller. Look at Sankofa. Look at Matt Kelley. Look at Left Lane Cruiser. Go see this film.
Eventually, I moved from album reviews and feature stories to columns and everything in between. My first column, Beatmisner, which ran from 2004-06, was about local hip-hop. The one after that was Ease Down the Road and was mostly about rock bands touring and putting out records. My old friend, the amazing Chris Hupe, has been writing his version of said column since I stepped aside in 2008.
Finally, in 2009, came this column, which I am now writing my last. Since starting ScreenTime, I’ve done four cross-country moves, written and directed three feature films, had zero children, lost most of my hair, and, sadly, lost many friends and family members, including my grandparents and mom.
This 20-year period of writing about music and film and art for Whatzup has been the only constant in my life during this period, and so maybe I held on to it longer than I should have. A selfish act that I would like to apologize. If a writer has a column but no longer has a passion for the work, I think they should clear out for someone who does have the fire.
And so here we are.
Writing for Whatzup has meant a lot to me, clearly, and has been instrumental in helping me “find my people.” Y’all know who you are. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement over the years. It’s certainly been fun sharing all this fandom with you.