Thursday, June 11, 2009

Aaron's iFAQ #6: What the F Does "Bootleg" Mean?

J writes:

Hey Aaron! You have no idea how much time I've spent reading your archives since I first found your blog. I have to confess that I don't get the "Bootleg" nickname. For as long as I've known you I've never heard it and I've heard you refer to yourself by at least two dozen nicknames that you've given yourself over the years :) Give my love to [Mrs. Bootleg] and Jalen!

HA~! By printing your e-mail, I'm opening myself up to a small wave of verbal abuse from those who've known me longest. Sadly, none of my own nicknames ever stuck and you people simply fell back on "Cam" (fine); "AC" (meh…) or "AJ" (which I hate…).

Anyways, there's been a bit of an uptick in new readers 'round these parts and I've gotten a few variations of this same question, so why not dust off the "iFAQ" tag?

"Bootleg" was simply the shortened title of my weekly music column that first ran on and then moved to Inside I've told the story so much that even I'm sick of it, so here's the short version:

I started writing CD reviews for 411 in December 2002. A few months later, the Friday music column opened up and I jumped at the chance. The first Friday Music News Bootleg ran in February 2003. I've linked to it before, but it's such an awful, awful piece of pandering dreck, that I'll leave to you to find it on your own.

(Fun fact: The original concept for the column was to feature the top five music news stories of the week – countdown style. The original column title was to be "I Got 5 on It". Of course, "original" is probably not the right word to use there.)

Back in the "caveman days" of this decade, AOL was the most popular IM vehicle and one night a random reader started a conversation with me – even though he had no idea who I was:

Reader: Why do I have you on my buddy list?

Me: Uh…

Reader: Do you write for 411?

Me: Yep.

Reader: You're that bootleg guy, right?

For some reason, that tickled me to no end and I immediately lifted it – and capitalized it – for my own use.

Hey, whaddaya want from me? I never said the "i" in "iFAQ" stood for "interesting".

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