My Name is Brian, I Live on the 6th Floor

My favorite part about compiling the Buyer's Guide is sending emails. Well not the actual sending of the emails but the communication. When staring at spreadsheets and spam blog comments all day, it is nice to have some real communication.

There are some people in the industry who now know my name or at least know of me. Urs Wagner from Ensemble always chats me up. I should give him a ring. Hart Huschens from Audio Advancements is another sweet soul who treats me with respect. And I have spent a good amount of time talking to Creston Funk from Concert Sound.

Alas, there is some humanity behind the Buyer's Guide.

Yet, most people don't know me. Which, of course, is understandable. I just pop in their inbox with a long, long email about spreadsheets and specifications. Not until I send the "reminder" email do people realize I am human and work for Stereophile.

I see it now, in their inbox: Stereophile Buyer's Guide—"A Friendly Reminder". "Friendly" implying the same thing as "don't worry, the dog won't bite," as he snarls his teeth at you. As a result from this email, I received a flood of, "Oh, we didn't receive the original email," or, "Oh, we must've deleted the original." And so the realization comes to them that I, Ariel Bitran, am not a spammer, an imposter, or someone trying to audition equipment. I just need their feedback.

So the emails come, more and more. I read each one, responding to the ones with requests. But what tickles me the most is when people call me Brian. It never happened to me before the Buyer's Guide, but in at least 10% of my e-mail exchanges with manufacturers and importers, I am known as Brian. Maybe my last name looks like Brian. Maybe I was sent the wrong email, and it was supposed to be for the intern Brian at The Absolute Sound. Maybe illiteracy is an issue for some audiophiles.

This wouldn't worry me much, except for the fact that these same people calling me Brian also fill out the spreadsheets that go in the Buyer's Guide. Every mistake they make in their spreadsheet, either Stephen or I have to correct. Hopefully, they can get their own product names right.

People have been mispronouncing, misspelling, and forgetting my name all my life. I let it slide. Its cool, dawg. But if you mess up your BG spreadsheet, hell will be raised (although you won't hear it directly from me). You'll hear it from my bodyguard and PR man, Brian.

AlexO's picture

You know, it's funny but up until this blog, I used to read your name as "Ariel Britan". It sort of sounded like Areal Britain. I thought to myself: What a strange name. Now, that I read your name correctly (I think), I thought to myself: Hmmm... it's still a strange name.

Ariel Bitran's picture

To pronounce my name correctly, say Ariel like "R.E.L" and put an accent on the "a" in 'Bitran'. In other news, my fake ID says I am Ariel Britan. So do claim some sort of existence in that name.

AlexO's picture

You still need a fake ID? I never needed a fake ID. I was 6 feet tall when I was 13, so I never got id'ed for anything. BTW, that may be another reason for Stephen to get a computer: Aside from using it as a media station, he could use it to create his own fake id, saving him loads and loads of money.

Mark Fleischmann's picture

In the days before computers (yup, I'm that old) my name was misspelled on about half of all the USMail I received. My sympathies to Ariel...Mark Fleischmann, aka
Mark Fleishmann
Mark Fleishman
Mark Flashman
Mark Fleshman"Fleshman" is also the most common mispronunciation. I hear it nearly every day. It is technically almost correct as "fleisch" is the German word for "flesh" or "meat."Our family acquired the name professionally, having been sausage makers in Europe for generations. My great-grandfather emigrated to New Jersey and was the last of the line to practice this useful if messy skill. I once explained this to a friend who has referred to me as "meat man" ever since.So perhaps Brian isn't so bad. If you're lucky, people will call you Brain.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Great story, Mark! I think "Fleshman" is pretty cool. It's better than "Meat-he-is."

AlexO's picture

Hey Mark,I think you got off lucky. I once knew a guy who used to drive a truck, hauling organic fertilizer. We called him The Poopman. Were all in the family sausage makers, Meathead? :D