Beer and Pavement

Gentleman Dabbler

Posted in Intersections, Manifesto by SM on July 25, 2011

In the August Spin[1], Stephen Malkmus shows off his living room. At some point, he describes his record collection…

I have all kinds of weird records that I could talk about – not as many as deep collectors, but as a gentleman dabbler, I have some stuff.

The part of that quote that caught my attention was the term “gentleman dabbler,” a term that seems to refer to someone who is experienced and knowledgeable on a particular topic but not as much as the “experts” of said topic. A gentleman dabbler has a nice collection with some unique pieces. His knowledge is vast enough to know what’s good and what isn’t, but it – like his collection is not comprehensive.

Take Malk’s record collection. It would be hard to believe that someone who has been in the business as long as Stephen Malkmus has doesn’t know a thing or two about records. However, he openly admits that he’s no completest record snob. Unlike Thurston Moore[2], Malk can openly admit that he doesn’t own every record.

It is tough to admit that one doesn’t own every essential record or hasn’t tried every beer when others look toward someone for blanket consciousness. Let’s imagine that someone publishes a blog on a subject…or two. Should he be required to know everything about those subjects? I don’t think so. It’s not possible.

The gentleman dabbler allows for holes in knowledge base or collections. These holes allow for learning and discussion. I feel as though I am a gentleman dabbler. No one comes to this blog for research purposes or expertise[3]. They come here for entertainment and discussion. If you want expertise, you’ll look elsewhere.

That said, I struggle to fit into the beer blogosphere. Anyone can write a music blog. We give our opinions with varying degrees of knowledge. On beer blogs, a certain amount of expertise is expected. This is troubling as I get a lot more attention for my beer posts than I do for music. Luckily, most people have been kind.

So, keep in mind that this blog is for the gentleman dabbler. I dabble in indie rock. I dabble in craft beer and home brewing. This is not a place for expertise. This is a place for discussion and entertainment. Thanks for dabbling with me. There’s more to come…

1Yes, I read an issue of Spin. I had to fly this past weekend and left my book at home. This was the best choice on the airport magazine rack. Spin is my generation’s Rolling Stone. That should tell you all you need to know.
2The scope of Moore’s collection is legendary. He only keeps a small portion in his apartment, but there is a storage space somewhere that would be every indie geek’s wet dream.
2Well, except for poorly written SPAMbot messages I get from time to time. Something like: “I so hapy I find you blog. It will help with a reserch project I must compete. Keep up the good wok!”