Sunday, November 14, 2004

Whatever happened to "Alternative"? No, I don't mean what passes for "Alternative" now: mere blurred photocopies of Grunge overlaid with yarling (vocals adapted from Southern Rock, a la Eddie Vedder).

No, Back In My Day, one could turn on 89X and a wide variety of alternative musical styles (hence the "Alternative" moniker) might leap out. Anything from Sinead O'Connor to Gangster Fun to Buckwheat Zydeco to Sisters of Mercy to Style Council to The Cure to Patsy Cline. And we liked it that way.

Now Alternative actually means, "there is no alternative to listening to just this one style."

I blame Nirvana, although initially they were just one more interesting flavor. I guess I really blame Pearl Jam.

Back in the day I could wear fishnets, a black slip, combat boots, the de rigeur plaid shirt and biker jacket, and be at home in any venue. Heck, one night I was wandering around Ann Arbor alone dressed like that and found a dive bar where a Rockabilly band was playing. I struck up a conversation with them and ended up singing a Patsy Cline song when they went back on. Back then if I wore spike heels in the mosh pit, people would pick me up if I fell. (Completely non-drunkenly, of course.) Now I'd be pigeonholed as a "Goth" instead of part of a diverse counterculture.

And speaking of diverse, I really miss the few years between 1985-1990 during which skinheads had yet to become closely associated with Nazism. It's a shame, because I really liked the bald-boots-and-braces look. It was very dramatic on pretty guys. Now, of course, it's all about dumb ol' White supremacy.


Eric said...

Thanks for the comment. It has been weird this weekend. Anyway, I shave my occasionally, and I'm definitely not a Nazi. I look pretty good bald. Me and my Jean-Luc Picard shaped head.

argotnaut said...

Andrew had a surprisingly good-looking noggin (although . . . why should that be surprising?) under his luxurious head of hippie hair. But now that he had all of that stitching, we don't know what's going on under there.

I've occasionally wanted to give up and shave my head, but didn't because of skinhead associations. Especially for a German major!

liz said...

I hope you have a good group of family members and friends. It takes a while for things to seem real again.

* * * * * * *

ArgotNaut's-n-my birth father looks like Picard!

Although since LOTR came out, we've decided he looks a lot more like Gandalf. Not Sir Ian McKellan, but S.I.M. as Gandalf, specifically.