The ‘TRAP’ of Trying To Be Indie

Photo by Merfam

I have found myself in the same argument over and over again through the years. The argument is that there is no indie movement, or alternative, or anything of the type. The second something becomes a movement, it no longer really exists, at least not as it started. I was reminded of this argument again yesterday when I was followed by two guys that were the white boy hip-hop version of the ‘Night at the Roxbury’ guys. It would have been funny if it was not so sad. They were so indie with their cred………..NOT!

Take hippies for example. They were counterculture, they were broke, they were pretty smelly, but at first they were genuine. Then the marketing guys and retail outlets latched on. If you were buying your bell bottoms at Montgomery Wards or Sears, and ordering your ‘paint your wagon’ patches from magazines, you missed the hippie movement. Sorry to say it, but you did.

Let’s look at the ‘alternative’ music scene. If you were listening to Radio Free Europe in the 80’s, you were part of the ‘college scene’ or alternative scene as it would start to be known. If you liked Husker Du, you may have been alternative. If the Replacements were in your tape deck, you still had cred. If you listened to any of these bands after seeing Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ or were turned on to REM with ‘Losing My Religion’, then no, you were not really part of the scene. Grunge? Give me a break.

I remember having this conversation with my ‘sort of’ niece. I would try to get her to understand that if something was being played on top 40 radio, it was not alternative. She would say it was called alternative. At this point I would try to explain the bastardization of words, but it never got through. This was also the time when wearing those sparkly butterfly tee shirts was so popular and would show off your individuality. Proof of this was that you could buy them anywhere from Macy’s, to Wal Mart, to Hot Topic. And yes, this was another argument I could never win.

The whole myth of indie culture is laughable. I have said it before, the coolest guys I have ever known, real coolness, were the folks that could care less about following trends or fashions. They really did their own thing and to hell with everything else. These were the guys I looked up to. At times I have been able to emulate them, but I am still an bit too much of a trend follower for my taste. I do care a bit too much about appearances and what others think. Just being honest about it.

But one thing I have gotten out of my system is the need to be ‘indie’ in any way. Hell, being indie can just about make you go broke. I mean, it costs a lot today to look ‘so cool that you don’t care.’ Also, the indie scene is so crowded. I mean being an indie individual person type is very popular, with all those individuals wearing the same thing, attending the same functions, talking alike, and basically doing everything else the same as well.

Back in August The Art of Manliness had a great take on why indie is bunk, hell that was the title of the post, Why Being “Indie” is a Bunch of Bunk. Check it out, it is a good read. Probably more coherent than my take.

Now, back to your normal programing.


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