Mary Lyn Maiscott

This Idiot's Delight

Especially if you live in the New York area, you've probably heard that the great free-form radio DJ Vin Scelsa, currently of the equally great radio station WFUV, has announced his retirement, beginning May 2. When I was working for the website New Media Music in 2000, I decided to write a piece about Vin. I’d been listening to him for years and especially liked his interviews of artists. I can recall, among other moments, Rosanne Cash telling him she still loved her ex Rodney Crowell (though she didn’t seem to be implying she was pining for him) and the poignant Vin pause that followed; Sheryl Crow abashedly quoting Bob Dylan on the "licks" guitar god Eric Clapton, her then boyfriend, must be teaching her; Vin reading a criticism of himself as having a weakness for such attractive female singers and then laughing and saying something to the effect of, “I guess he’s got my number.”

In the course of working on the article, I watched Vin work—or maybe play is the word—both during his show Idiot’s Delight, which was on WNEW at that time, and an online show he was doing from his home. Here is my article about that experience. (You may need to enlarge the scan; New Media Music folded in 2001 and my columns are no longer online.) By the way, the "message board" Vin used to keep up with his online listeners' preferences seems positively quaint in the age of Twitter and Facebook!