Wednesday, December 08, 2004

How To Be Un-Hip

One of the strange traits I developed when it came to pop culture in my life was to ignore anything that was popular. That's not the unusual part. Plenty of contrarians around who joined me in that.

The strange part is that I enjoy going back and exploring some of those things I ignored when they were popular, only after no one cared about them anymore.

Case in point. I'm currently listening to Elvis Costello on my walkman (iPods are too popular for me to buy in yet). I had no interest at all in Elvis Costello in the days when Rolling Stone lauded him as one of the greatest artists of his age. I didn't even really give a d*mn when he had a cameo in the first Austin Powers movie. But about a year and a half ago I started listening to him. And then I started seeking out more. And now I have to admit I'm a fan. Of the old stuff anyway.

Springsteen was the same for me. If he's released and album past "Born in the USA," I haven't heard it. And I didn't listen to that one either, until a decade and change past its release.

I'm just not the kind of guy who cares much about something being popular - except to the extent it makes me distrust it. Perhaps this is why I have shunned the huge arena concerts which others camped out all night for tickets to. My preferred setting for any band I like is a small club. With tables, chairs, a full-bar, and an attentive waitress.

Elvis Costello would come across terrifically well in such a setting. So would Springsteen.

When I'm really grooving to a tune by a band, I close my eyes and picture them on stage - and the stage I picture is this crappy little upstairs bar in the town where I went to college. In my mind they've hosted the Stones, Springsteen, and lately Elvis Costello. And they all truly rocked the place. Maybe some day they'll make it big.

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