GUILTY PLEASURE FROM THE LOVE/HATE MASTER
Many 'name' people in life claim to offer an 'unforgettable experience'
when you meet them.
Ross Halfin never fails to deliver.
And don't even think of disputing whether he's a 'name' or not.
It's been about a decade since I last saw, or spoke, to him.
We'd first met sometime in 1983 or '84 when I was 16 or so and
scratching around the world of rock journalism, a young pup in
need of some help.
I wouldn't say he ever directly helped me in those first 6-odd
years, indeed, I would get very very nervous whenever I knew he
was going to be around as I always found him exceedingly rude,
incredibly obnoxious and extraordinarily intimidating.
He would sort of just show up and 'bark' things at people ("OI!
CHEESY! IT'S YOUR ROUND!"), one-liners, catchphrases...I don't
think the cadence of that voice will ever leave my memory.
I remember when I finally got the courage to speak up to him.
At a festival, in Brazil during January 1991. He was accusing me
of some desperately sycophantic act (a regular accusation I might
add, and rich I thought considering his band relationships were
legendary!) and made it clear he was merely tolerating me at the
breakfast table. I started yelling at him to 'come on then!' my
patience finally at it's end. He snorted, told me I needed to apologize
to a third party for insulting them and left!
But from that point on I can say that I saw a whole other side
of Ross Halfin.
Someone who was actually a nice bloke once you dug beneath the
insecure torrents of harsh sarcasm and abuse.
I found that actually, I rather liked him.
Still never felt confident talking to him, no, he is one of only
two people I've met in this hoary old game that used to truly intimidate
me (and a thousand others I'm sure).
I have to say I actually found him to have a great sense of humor
once I tuned in, and once I put up the 'insecurity' filter (his
as well as mine) to screen out the rudeness, he was, well, y'know,
a pretty good bloke.
Somewhere down the line we stopped running into each other.
I can't imagine he's ever much thought about it...and neither did
I until I stumbled across this website and his diary.
Despite myself (I hate bloggers!) I found myself reading said-entries...they
made me laugh. A lot. And slowly, like the dirtiest of pleasures,
I found myself returning to his diary over and over.
I could hear the voice, the phrases, the one-liners...all as I'd
last heard them. I even agreed with a higher percentage of what
I also remembered those earlier, uglier times.
But fuck it, that was then eh? And we're all a bit older, right?
Anyway, when push comes to shove, the bloke only says what's on
his mind, and in the music business you learn (and not always quickly)
that this is a rarity.
So here I am, writing this e-mail to Ross Halfin because I think
it's finally time I 'fessed up and admitted it:
I ENJOY READING THE ROSS HALFIN HOMEPAGE AND DIARY.
Because truth be told, the geezer is a rock 'n' roll legend who
still crops up in many conversations I, and so many others of our
And in this increasingly pathetic world we live in, I have to
say there's a strange sense of comfort in knowing that Ross Halfin
is still out there, still shooting rock bands all over the world,
still being obnoxious, still spieling classic one-liners, still
a major presence in the rock press, still showing a higher degree
of raw honesty than so many of his peers and still basking in
the absurdity of it all.
If I do see Ross Halfin again, I'll happily buy him a drink or
...I finally, finally feel that I might owe him that much.
San Francisco 2004