Linked to this stylistic evolution was the development of the cult of the rock journalist, in which the figure of the writer took on the romantic attributes of the rock star. Journalists of the 1970s, such as Nick Kent (United Kingdom) and Lester Bangs (United States), carefully cultivated public images of themselves. For instance, at the start of his retrospective review of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, Bangs places the record in relation to his own experiences and to popular cultural myths relating to late-1960s burnout: ‘It was particularly important to me because the fall of 1968 was such a terrible time: I was a physical and mental wreck, nerves shredded and ghosts and spiders looming and squatting across the mind’ (1991, 20). Kent’s writing is peppered with references to his own drug-taking, hedonism and personal relationships with such infamous rock stars as Sid Vicious and Keith Richards. Hill (1991) describes music journalists of this time as a ‘fraternity [which] unerringly reflected the culture it documented’ (173). The figure of the journalist can thus be linked to the specifically male image of the romantic bohemian figure entrenched within rock mythology.
McDonnell’s and Powers’s (1995) collection of rock writing by women celebrates the proliferation of women in this field, reflecting that they are rarely celebrated as great or ‘legendary’ writers or included in the canon of rock criticism. Sullivan’s (1995) account of the day-today demands of her career further suggests that the romantic image of the journalist is a construction that is directly at odds with the realities of the profession. She outlines the drawbacks of the job: its low pay and unsociable hours; the necessity of traveling alone to get to gigs; and the severe limitations imposed by deadlines on the amount of research a journalist can do on a particular artist.