By Princess Stomper
1. The ‘Hipster’ Problem
After nine years of writing about music, I was such a hollowed-out, burnt-out, jaded wreck that I stopped listening to music almost completely for – weirdly – nine years. When I got back into it, everything was new. Everything is new. I don’t get to be first to the punch for anything whatsoever, because every band I’m enjoying lately has been going for years and years. In fashion terms, I’m someone going right now into a clothing store and saying, “Hey, jeans are really comfortable!”
That said, even in my fanzine days, which really were the only times I was ever really ahead-of-trend with new bands, they were still only ‘new’ to the mainstream press. Main sources of new music: high-profile support slots (so they’d have been playing live for a while before I saw them); white labels from record companies (so they were already signed); and even listings in an industry circular I got through my dayjob, where A&R folks would write puff-pieces about their new acts and I’d follow up on the ones that sounded interesting. That was hardly some alchemy of innovation.
‘Hipster’ is just a word we use for what has always existed but we didn’t have that word for before. The trouble with that self-congratulatory sneering is that it overshadows the pure enjoyment of the music, and – as we saw with industrial music – can end up stifling the very creativity that attracted those fans in the first place.