Wednesday, October 06, 2004

What do I want?

What do I want?

Usually I post things that are detached -- feelings based on observations. This is more personal. This is about the trivial and the insignificant; it's about what I'm doing on Saturday night, what music I like, and the art I admire. In the end none of this matters, but it's what fills in the time while I wait for the important stuff to take place.

There is a unique subculture - an alternative subculture - based on music, art, and fashion, which has begun to realize itself over the last ten years. I still have my first mix tape which I called, "Alternative Mix #1," dated 1991. I'm not saying that was the beginning, but it was from my perspective because, before 1989, I was blind to things like the late 70's New York no-wave scene and the 80's Chicago and New York house music scenes. Tellingly, I knew about punk, and I knew about rap. I didn't know names like Arthur Baker and The Egyptian Lover and I couldn't name a punk band other than The Sex Pistols, but I knew the music, and so at that time the music was no longer rooted in alternative culture. It had been soaked into the mainstream psyche. Today, Greenday and Offspring might have a sound some would call punk, but the ethos is completely different to what it was when the sound first found itself -- rising from the streets of New York to become a mouthpiece for the disenfranchised youth of England.

Music is just part of it. The musical genres are the result of a group of people joining together to create something different. The difference shows in a style of clothes, in haircuts, and in the paraphenalia that crops up to fill the demand of the group as it expands -- zines, magazines, buttons, posters. The difference shows itself socially in clubs and bars, and through music videos and movies. There is a sense of belonging and a sense of ownership, and perhaps most importantly, you can watch all of this happen on the internet -- while people elsewhere scratch patterns into sand in their straw huts. Through your favorite websites, you can figure out exactly what you need to be to fit into alternative culture; you can be the same amongst a group of people trying to be different. Wear the uniform, like the music, and adopt the attitude. Yeah, fuck you mainstream losers.

---- (END PART 1)