i have a confession to make … i am a chronic hoarder. a hoarder of magazine articles and newspaper clippings. to me, these mediums are just as treasured as a book. my masterpiece of a library (to be built one day, sigh) will have endless stacks of yellowed paper painted with times roman ink. i rescue these pages from their recycled fate; secondary research at best perhaps.
throughout these scattered readings i find some bright lights of inspiration. particular attention is given to the writing style, selected prose, and the transfer of knowledge (passion) from one writer to another.
yesterday was a beautiful day of sifting through a stack of papers that had been gathering dust since early last year. i moved recently, which meant a purging of the unnecessary items that had become tacky clutter. but i saved this one pile for some reason, tucking it into my already over-packed suitcase. basking in the balmy queensland sunlight, i reveled in my impulsiveness as i lost myself in topical matters about literature, music and counterculture blues. now rereading them in a quiet café these articles revive my confidence (and composure) in the importance of understanding my interest not only as a writer, but as a curious thinker. a poetic ponderer.
some of the bits are just too good not to share — they are crisp kindling for a great conversation. so i could talk to myself, or i could share some excerpts here. i’ve opted for the latter as to avoid the whispers, “whose that crazy lass over there?”
there goes the neighbourhood (and the music too).
gentrification shits me. i am sure that i am guilty of dining at a restaurant that was once responsible for the deteriorating demise of its community centerfold, public housing. i know that i have definitely rented a room in a neighbourhood that the beat sheets raved about. these grungy gems rented out at pristine cool prices.
but gentrification still shits me. it shits me when residents are forced to become city-fringe refugees. it shits me when storefront fashion is the price of my monthly pay cheque. and it REALLY shits me when local, iconic pubs are forced to close because a politician has a pickle up his or her ass.
the closure of the tote in collingwood remains a black cloud hovering over the indie circuit in australia. even though it reopened a couple of years later, the scandal tainted local music, becoming the subject of clinton walker’s platform paper history is made at night: live music in australia. throughout the essay he argues that live music is underappreciated and wrongfully attacked by city councillors who don’t even know what an 8-track is. he uses the word “amenity” to describe the disease (gentrification, gambling) that infected so many local venues. it wasn’t violence that killed the buzz, it was discrimination against music like pub rock and indie punk that fell outside of the contemporary lines.
walker suggests that “everybody knows that as the yuppies buy in, they force out precisely what apparently attracted them in the first place.” see why gentrification is shitty?
please excuse me, i have a stale beer and garage band at the legion tavern whose next set i don’t want to miss.
there is nothing cool about “being cool”.
if you have never heard of ted gioia get onto him — he is legend. one of the world’s greatest jazz critics, his idea of ‘postcool‘ was heralded by adbusters magazine as on of the best pieces of genius in 2012. gioia argues that the “economic force [of cool] is diminishing”; that in a society dressed in technology and greed the concept of cool is passé. even the cultural impressions of the 1950s and 60s that currently laminate our lives is not truly cool present day — it is merely upcycled vintage nostalgia, old school made hip by a brand new class.
what is the definition of cool anyway?
some say it is reserved for those classic figures and attires like johnny cash black. ray charles believed being cool wasn’t about status and style — it was about quality and class. as the famous pianist once chimed, “i never wanted to be famous; i only wanted to be great.”
in a postcool society, gioia believes that our values will be built upon simplicity, authenticity, naturalness and earnestness. he contends that we are at risk of building a faux future by which “we will find a grand charade of phony pretending to be authentic, of contrived acting as though it is real, the intricately planned putting on the mask of the simple and unaffected.” hipsters rejoice! speak with your real voice! dance to your own beat! stand proudly on your own two feet!
we as people are changing. “postcool is not just another style, another trend. it is the antithesis of style, of trendiness,” writes gioia. to think that being real is to be considered cool again; a runway of galloping gangnam style beware.
i’d like to think that we’ve traded in the labels of ‘cool’ for stamps of authenticity. but what do i know really? my opinions at times can be a tad rather silly.
forever cool: patti smith class.
“don’t confine me in your small idea of what i’m supposed to be doing,” patti smith tells uncut magazine in a july 2012 interview. she’d been accused of selling out over her 1978 “because the night” — a loving ode to her late husband fred ‘sonic’ smith. in her characteristic, cunning style she flipped the industry the bird and got on her way. being real is what got her here today.
from a mapplethorpe muse to punk poet to rock legend, patti smith defines a different persona of cool — forever cool. she helped paint the scene in the 1970s and she still causes a scene (albeit it silently) in today’s postcool society. authentic and natural yet anything but simple the artist embodies the values that gioia was referring to that are necessary to spark public discourse and encourage people to take off their masks.
i can’t imagine patti smith masquerading anything. this eclectic enigma, student of life, intrenches herself in the masterminds from charles baudelaire to bob dylan. even what she is afraid of is raw-honest real. “what i’m afraid of is an ecological apocalypse. the death of the bumble bee is more important to me than homeland security,” she confesses in uncut.
her “i’m real so just deal” attitude is pretty cool indeed.
you see this is why i hoard all of these torn out pieces of knowledge and prose. catalogued stacks of ramblings and readings. i would have never discovered these words by clicking “google”. some things are still worth flipping through the pages for.
and for the record, hoarding is cool ;).