Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Big city after dark
Photos by Mike Lau (the photographer who took the badlands cover) Thats me looking like a damn fool circa 2002 in Honolulu.
Its been years since I've been called a hipster by friends I know, not by people who don't know anything about me on the internet, cuz that happens quite often nowdays getting shit on by people who I don't even know what their username is, perfectly shielded by anonymity. I'm talking about my close friends.
The first time I can recall was in 2002 when a band mate looked at my thrift store dress shirt and black tie, and said "god when did you turn into a fucking scenester?"
From as far as I can remember playing in bands from 1999 to now, me and my friends always had a name for people who don't create anything, but just like to mingle at shows and socialize, not really there for the bands either. They just dress very fashionably and have drinks and talk a lot thru out bands sets. I'm not talking about non musicians, cuz a lot of my friends were mostly photographers, film makers, skaters/surfers/tagger, etc. I'm talking about people who don't make or do anything. NOTHING. Honolulu was a very small town, so everyone pretty much knew everyone. We just labeled those people as scenesters; pretty people who talked a lot and did very little.
Fast forward to 2007 in Montreal, My friend Chris Baang who is a classical pianist by trade was having a few beers at my place, and he looked at me and said "your a hipster, Alex." By automatic association of the definition I provided above, I was furious because I had been slaving washing dishes at a crappy vietnamese/french fusion bullshit restaurant (putting shame to both cuisine culturally) and coming home and writing and recording 2 dirty beaches albums and Ep's (later released on Fixture Records) I was hauling ass, nonetheless. "did you just call me a fucking hipster?" I said, almost in shock.
In which Chris replied, "yeah, look at all the fucked up thrift furniture you have and this cool camera you found at a thrift store, your a hip guy. Your into cool shit. Hip movies that no one has seen, nothing wrong with that. Why are you so angry about being called a hipster?"
Perhaps somewhere along the line, the terms started to confuse me. What is the definition of hipster or a scenster? aren't they the same? If we are simply judged by what we wear on the surface, it doesn't even matter how hard you work on your art, but if you dress a certain way, your labeled automatically. Perhaps that's the biggest difference between growing up on a small island versus a big city like New york or LA. In small towns we knew everyone, we know what elementary school you went to, who you dated in high school, and that you played football or was on the wrestling team, and was a surfer. We know the first band that you were in. And the last. It was easy to figure out who was someone that can have a positive and inspiring presence in your life versus someone pretty that will just talk your ear off for the rest of the night. Or you can just be nice. I like nice, friendly people. Unfortunately beautiful and fashionable people are predominantly not nice.
Perhaps in this ever confusing world we live in, like many of our problems, this is merely a first world problem not even worth mentioning in the greater scale of things.
The cities that I've longed for gets dark at night, and I don't know shit.
That's a fact.