A music snob's musings

Very recently I attended a local show in Boston, and low and behold I was surrounded by 14 and 15 year old girls in punk garb. The ripped gloves, the pyramid belts, the plaid skirts, the pins on the bag. As I was noticing the sea of shaggy black haircuts, I found myself getting more and more hostile at the environment I had paid 5 bucks to enter. I found myself hating these girls. I hated their stupid hair, I hated their stupid bags, I hated their stupid homemade t-shirts, I even hated their shoes.
I couldn’t understand how I had let myself get this bitter.
I remember a time, not so long ago, when I attended my first ska show. I was 14 and it was at a small club called the Phoenix out on the Island. For those of you in the know of the ska scene on Long Island back in..1997/1998 it was Just In Time and Artie’s Taxi. There I was riding in the back of Christina’s mother’s minivan and I was all set to go. I had my hair in braids, I had my sneakers colored in with black and white checks, and I was decked out in plaid. Being a scene kid in a school where being a scene kid wasn’t cool, I was so happy to see other people who looked just like me. Finally, I thought, a place where I belong. The music started and there I was, skanking my little rude girl heart out with a crowd of 50 other kids. God, I felt so alive. I felt the energy of the other people around me, the drums pounding through my body, the guitars rocking out so hard.
I was sent away to boarding school for high school, where I was even more of an outcast than I had been in middle school. My fashion sense got even more severe because I wanted to make it absolutely clear that I was different than the rest of the cookie cutter students who went to my school. Short plaid skirts, huge bell pants, tight ripped shirts, spike bracelets. Everyone thought I was a freak, and I felt alive because I knew exactly who I was and what I stood for. When I went to shows, I felt whole because I knew I wasn’t being judged. When I was at a show I wasn’t a freak, I wasn’t a presumed Satanist, I wasn’t an outcast. However, despite all that, I was stupid. I thought, in my teenage ignorance, that if I dressed that way, ultimately I was cooler, smarter, and more interesting than the “sheep” in the Abercrombie.
Fast forward to now, here I am, more into all the different music scenes than I ever was. Look around me, all my friends, looks wise and taste wise, are extremely different for me. As for myself, I don’t dress as extreme as I once did. What I look like does not reflect what I listen to, more who I am. I have enough confidence in myself to not hide behind a style. I have enough knowledge to know that what someone looks like does not determine whether or not we can be friends.
So I asked myself, why all the hostility?
Maybe it’s because I see so much of myself in these girls, struggling to be a part of something at a time when nothing fits in place. I see myself in the insecure little girls, gathered in groups of 3 or 4, looking in awe at the place they have found themselves. I know what they are thinking. I know how they feel. I pass by Hot Topic and I see these girls spending lots of money on clothes that will make them fit in better. I just want to shake them and tell them that it doesn’t matter what they wear, because clothing isn’t going to create who you are. But I guess these are things they need to learn as they get older.
Or maybe I’m just getting old

7 replies on “A music snob's musings”

Not everyone who shops at Hot Topic, does so to fit in or look cool. Some people, such as myself, just like the clothes. I mean, where else can you find a pair of plaid bondage pants? Real punk clothing labels like Dogpile and Lip Service? Lip Service sells clothing to Hot Topic. While Dogpile doesn’t sell to Hot Topic, and is pretty set against it, they’re just as expensive.

I agree though, clothes don’t make a person.

One more thing, the only way for any scene to survive is to be accepting of new members. Besides, when the trend is over, all of the people who are in it to be cool will be gone, leaving the people who really love the music to have it to themselves once again. :o)

Just wanted to comment that I enjoyed reading this column, as I feel it is very insightful and I can relate at least in part to the conclusion made at the end. While I don’t agree entirely with everything you say, you make a good, interesting point and I feel i’ve learned something important after having read your opinion. Keep it up.

well that certainly went somewhere unexpected. i am so glad you put it up, it was totally not what i was expecting it to sound like and i am throughly impressed.

i also completely agree with you. i think that most people who dress a certain way are dressing to fit in with one crowd and not fit in with another. I think shopping at Hot Topic is just as telling as shopping at the Gap. to each his own, im not judging hot topic shoppers or gap shoppers, but i thin kmore people need to open thier eyes and thier minds and stop being so critcal of others who dont look like them. after all most of it is hypocrtical and leads no where.

great statement. but unfortunately that kind of maturity and insight about the scene only comes with age… so you probably are just getting old!!

yeah I completely relate as I was unfortunately the same way in 9th grade and then wisened up from there and I still see all these kids in my high school, like my ex gf who is graduating this year and they’re still completely lost and it scares me.

Yeah, you got to have some compassion for the hot topic kids, the thing is i wouldn,t care but when some of these kids tell me that CBGB´s is a clothing line i got to laugh.

Wow, I never expected that arty’s taxi would po up anywhere. I used to sing for them, it was alot of fun and the best time of my life, I miss it alomst every day. These days I act and write screenplays, but ig otta admit you column remind me of the good old days. I sometimes wish they could be back, life was so much less complicated then i wish i could live in place again were all that matter was the scene and how you made pople feel, I never thought we had an impact ojn anyone passed the monet though, thanks you made me smile.

Yo,what up Arty, Its your local neighborhood Arty’s Taxi Bassist. yeah, that is funny that we got mentioned in an article like 3,4 years after we broke up and also very flattering. The fact that one of our early shows when we were pretty bad gets mentioned blows me away. I miss the scene as well, but tryin to get back in, MISSION AT HAND REPRESENT!!!!!!!! THE Ill reggae stylee!!!!!!

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