It seems that the length of the South by Southwest music festival is inversely related to the relevancy of the business it celebrates. While the first of the now two week long trade orgy is dedicated to tech, it's still a conference routed in the music industry, and since record labels and their execs are dying off at an unprecedented rate, so giving up half-a-month to cater to these unicorns makes less and less sense.
Luckily, this year's fest has been given meaning, not by a particularly brilliant concert, movie premiere, or, I don't know, panel about apps or something, but by the release of the first new issue of Conflict, the zine created by the former head/founder of Matador Records/current cantstopthebleeding.com creator and forever ornery guy, Gerard Cosloy, in over two decades. Cosloy ran one of the biggest indie labels (Pavement, Guided by Voices, and, of course, the Jean Paul Sartre Experience) back when labels and fests like South by Southwest really meant something, so his releasing a new Conflict in honor of the fest and a Can't Stop The Bleeding/12XU band showcase has a kind of significance.
While this latest downloadable issue is much shorter than the paper zine was in its '80s heyday, it's as funny and knowledgeable as ever; Cosloy states that the purpose of this probably-final issue to end on a more positive note, but within a few paragraphs he's being as nasty, insightful, and humorous as ever. Like everyone cursed with mortality, he's mellowed with age, but he's still passionate about music he likes and mocking anyone/thing he doesn't, and if it takes an increasingly trivial music festival to get him to put his thoughts in zine form again, then long may SXSW run.