It’s been a long time, friends—but I’m back, improved, and excited to be trying out this whole internet thing. Thanks to my long silence over the airwaves and extended sabbatical from Walkmans all over the world, I’ve got a larger than ever trove of things I’d like to share with you all. For those of you who are returning to bear witness to my monthly (or so) Blasts in this new format—welcome back. For those of you joining me in this new, better stage of Roger Presents, welcome. It’s good to see you. It’d be even better to hear from you.
Roger Presents was conceived in the hills of Laos while I was living in a small shack, far from my previous life and very much alone. I lived there for the better part of two years, beginning around 2006, and while there I maintained a vigorous correspondence with CC, who was at the time living with Phil in Brooklyn (this was years before Phil revealed himself to be a back-stabbing assclown). Each week (or so), CC would send me a package bursting with prose on loose-leaf paper, magazine pages, newspaper cutouts, poems composed on typewriters. These works were written by friends of his and people who’s work he would stumble across and admire. Over time, at my behest, he began soliciting work from those I had known and would include their works in his weekly dispatches. In this way I would stay involved with, or at least alerted to, the development of my many talented friends who were, I found, consistently surpassing their earlier works in directions both startling and overwhelmingly positive.
This wealth of reading material provided me with a kind of mind-petrol. I was working with a young Laotian man who was in the business of reproducing European sitcoms for distribution on recycled VHS cassettes; my days were unexciting and my nights unfulfilling—I yearned for thought. Not long after my correspondence with CC began, I acquired a microphone and an eight-track recorder, and I soon found myself drawn towards the recorded word, to the nostalgic sound of an old-school radio deejay, and I was taken by an urge to share the things that were impacting my ever-changing worldview. I found the content provided to me by CC engaging, enlightening and greatly in need of further distribution.
So I began responding to CC with a cassette tape containing my thoughts. The tapes were short, concise introductions to the works and the impact that they had had on me; that is to say, I wished to convey at least a little of what it was that had so provoked my thoughts. Roger Presents, in its earliest incarnation, was born. CC would take my notes, reproduce them, and along with the work I so admired and was impressed by, would share them as a package to the interested parties.
This went on for the better part of two years, and I truly found joy in curating material. After a time, life intervened and my recordings ceased; many of you worried what had become of me. Indeed, I did struggle. I lost faith, despaired often, felt hope rise and fall. Felt the crashing of waves, rode out the tide. But I fought back, with the very core of my humanity at stake, and I again emerge a better man. A stronger man. Phil will never cherish any victory over my character.
And in this way, I found a life in Shanghai and will again share what I can. Roger Presents is a collaborative effort, and I feel blessed to have many friends with so very much to offer the world. In every Blast, I will provide an explanation of the content; who created it, what it means to me and why it is important. The Blasts will include (generally), fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short films, music, radio broadcasts and other audio in a variety of mediums. Occasionally, I will write something, or record something; each and every word is a chance to let something go, be it an insignificant missive, a treatise of the utmost importance or something otherwise interesting or startling. It is this uncertainty that keeps us reading, writing, watching. It is a matter of looking for something that inspires or relieves.
You may wonder what a Blast is. You may ask why I call them Blasts, when such a more descriptive word is at my behest. (The word “Issue” is, of course, the issue here.) To that I would say this: why don’t you start your own website, and eat my shorts while you’re at it?
But really, good-natured ribbing aside, I would like to think of each Blast as a small window into the world I inhabit and in which I live every moment. These days I spend quite a bit of time knocking down walls and changing the structure of the building I live and work in. For every major change I make, for every hole I blast in the crumbing drywall, I see uninhibited potential as the space is transformed and remade.
Opportunities abound; through violent, drastic change I see the world anew, and I hope that some of the material shared here will inspire similar, provocative reactions in you.
It is all we can we ask for, after all.
It is all we have.