The Media Narrative
Brian Coleman: What Ads Teach
Where many of us see advertisements as annoyances and interruptions, author and journalist Brian Coleman sees the arc of a place's history and the evolution of its artists, businesses, music scene, and social justice movements. In his fourth and newest book, Buy Me, Boston, Coleman curates and presents more than 400 print ads and flyers of 60s, 70s. and 80s Boston. It reveals the city's passions and ambitions, as well as its prejudices and challenges.
Coleman worked as a music journalist and publicist for years and established himself as a hip-hop historian and authority, with three nonfiction music books: Check the Technique Volume 1 and 2 and Rakim Told Me, all of which told the stories of classic rap albums.
During our conversation, Coleman talks about his early discoveries for Buy Me, Boston (5:30); being a hip-hop oral historian (10:00); an obsession with advertising (14:30); Flyers for Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix and other musicians (18:15) his purposeful lack of organizational structure for the book (22:15) sexist ads of the 60s (26:00) ads as the pure voice of a business or organization (28:00); Buy Me, Boston Video loft (36:00); Business innovators and artist-entrepreneurs of the 1960s and 70s (42:30); his approach to interviewing hip-hop legends (47:30); and advice for aspiring archivists and interviewers (55:30).