Except there was the exact same phenomenon then, too? Have you forgotten poseurs? That whole list of bands there, I was not around to see any of them at their height (or when they existed at all).
My point was that you don’t actually know until you ask the kid if they like the band or not. They might be a huge music nerd or they might just like the shirt, but you can’t make assumptions because they are kids.
Plenty of kids today do this, too. Many of them genuinely like older music, just like we did.
I agree with much of what you said here… although I’d argue the DIY tendency most certainly predates the youtubes by a few decades. Tons of the culture lots of us consumed started with that ideal in mind and morphed from there. Punks set up tape trading networks to share their favorite bands (and their own bands). They wrote zines, had radio shows on college radio, opened record shops and clubs, ran indie labels, and distribution chains. The major labels (after at first picking up some British punk bands) soon ran the other way, making independent necessary for many punks. And that’s just music - let’s not forget indie films, too, with people making the movies they wanted to see on shoe string budgets.
I think these sorts of activities made thinking of youtube in a content creative way possible in the first place.
Punk music is cool? But seriously, it’s the mode of production that makes it different. Though I don’t agree with @peregrinus_bis that all “mainstream” music is rubbish.
You totally were debating words not them as a person, as you always do. But people take their music very personally, since it’s often such an integral part of their social identity. I think this whole thread is illustrating that point very nicely, actually.
I’m not denying that punks made and shared their own music. But to me this goes back to long before that when people shared their music by just singing it to whoever would listen. I’m saying that technologies that let people more easily communicate their creativity encourage more people to be creative.
When sharing your passion means walking on foot from town to town and hoping someone will take pity on you so you can eat, not many people are going to do it. When it means making extremely low quality recordings on your little sister’s fisher price tape recorder because that’s the only thing you have with a mic, like it did for me, more people are going to do it, but it’s not exactly hitting the mainstream. It was the cassette recorder that let me make my own music, the photocopier that let my brother make his zine.
I think youtube has probably encouraged more people to create and share than ever could have done so through zines and swapping tapes. I made and shared stuff that was shit when I was a teenager, but I think few of my “peers” did. And, to my mind, of course more people doing it means mountains of shit. But to me that’s the spirit of punk. Don’t stay in hiding to hone your craft, let it all out right now.
Hey, Puddles Pity Party is cool. :trying to find a middle finger emoji to express my punk attitude but there is none:
Things are different, but I don’t think they are different in the way that was described in the thing I responded to. “The vast majority of it is rubbish” hasn’t changed. I think the idea that the “attention magnet” part hasn’t changed either - some people are doing things just for attention, some out of a drive to create; the people involved overestimate the size of the latter, the people of the previous generation overestimate the size of the former.
Maybe, but my point was that it’s not just the technology. Just having the technology doesn’t make it so, you have to have the conceptualization of wanting to create culture in a particular way in the first place (as opposed to wanting to just be the next big thing). It’s a continuum, I think.
But the DIY ideal has spread, largely thanks to punk and punks growing up and in some cases, into positions of notoriety or authority in some way. There are tons of documentaries, books, and shows that glorify the punk ethos (or certain, marketable aspects of it, anyways) thanks in part to the 90s “alternative” boom which included not too few older indie and punk bands getting recognition for their work.
Just the mainstream trying to purge punks, once again! The man is against us!!!
Who gets to decide which is which? And why is “attention” always put in stark contrast to creativity. If you want to make money off doing something creative, attention has to come into it at some point, right?
Well, I think if you study history… (sorry, just kidding, I couldn’t help it)
I’m sure you understand what happened in the punk movement, it’s results, and what it even means to talk about what happened in a movement far better than I do.
For me the role of technology is in the idea of the “adjacent possible” from Steven Johnsons’ “Where Good Ideas Come From”. He talks about thinking of all ideas that humans ever had as being rooms in a giant building. You can’t go into a room until you’ve already gone into a room next to it. The photocopier isn’t what came up with the zine, but we couldn’t have the idea of creating a zine without a mass production technology that teenagers could access. (I mean, we could have the idea, like we can imagine transporters or replicators, but it’s different to have the idea for a thing that could happen than to have an idea for a thing you can do)
And I think youtube, twitch, instagram and other admittedly very corporate platforms for sharing content have opened new adjacent possibles that people who are using them will discover. The inventors of the tape recorder did not imagine punk music.
But I do think that a creative drive is a thing we can confirm has pretty much always existed. When someone figured out what they had to grind up to get the colours to stick to the walls of the cave, that was some pretty punk shit*. I think about Johnny Rotten’s “My Way” and how it is basically an unironic cover of a song from the generation of his parents, expressing the idea of being a punk.
* X-TREME anachronism
Well, I think you kind of answer your own question, above, wanting to be the next big thing is different than having a concept of something you want to create. I think we (at least a lot of people) seek authenticity in art. I don’t think we can really put a finger on what authenticity is and isn’t, but that doesn’t mean we don’t mean something by it. Sometimes people create things in a calculated manner and the only meaning of the thing is, “This is the thing that will maximize my attention/profit/whatever.” We don’t value that or trust it.
There’s something being differentiated in the attention-seeker/creator dichotomy, even if those aren’t the words to describe it.
yes, but to get to that room with the zine, via the photocopier room, they had to go through the sci-fi zine room, which branched off from the mimeograph room. Greg Shaw (who wrote Bomp! and a couple of other music zines/papers, starting in the late 1960s) came out of that background as a kid. People were putting together sci-fi zines since the 1930s (at least):
So Johnson might be right about the relationship to cultural developments and technologies, but I think the ideas are just as important as the technologies themselves that allow them to happen (if not more so). Maybe this is a difference of opinion I have with Johnson.
I agree that lots of culture is being made by people (in larger numbers than ever before), but the idea that culture is something you can do yourself rather than just consume was most certainly embedded in our current collective consciousness in large part due to punk and the mythologizing of punk.
To go to other technologies, lots of people like to go on and on about how Star Trek predicted the future with the padds they used on the show (which have a very similar form factor to iPads and such). But isn’t it much more likely the case that Jobs got the idea from watching Star Trek in the first place?
Yeah, not at all. But then again, the originator of sound recording itself (Edison) thought that sound recordings would be used primarily for taking dictation in corporate offices, not for music at all. That was Emile Berliner’s brainstrorm.
I think you mean Sid Vicious? I’m not sure he had an ironic bone in his body, where as John Lydon is about 90% irony.
But what does that even mean anyways, though. Is there such a thing as authenticity and is it a consistent thing across time, space, and individuals? Is a band somehow more authentic and true to themselves because they send out their songs via a cassette tape in the mail as opposed to having the backing of a major label? If so, why is that? Aren’t both seeking attention for their work from someone? Are all artists on major labels automatically “inauthentic” because they are making music that is mainstream? And who gets to make such a determination in the first place? You or me? Teen girls? Teen boys on reddit? Jack Rabid? Quincey Jones? I mean, the Sex Pistols were put together by a guy running a fashion boutique and were initially picked up by EMI before being booted for their Thames river stunt, but were they any less authentic for all that? Were the Gogos less authentic for getting picked up by IRS and being all over MTV than, say, Fear - whose lead singer, Lee Ving, was in his late 20s and had a background in blues instead of being a teen from LA.
But isn’t that different for everyone, though? On some level, if you are making art to sell, you’re making a calculation regardless. People can’t live on air, of course, and we all live in a capitalist society.
There are no easy answers to these questions, unfortunately.
I know what you mean, but case in point, poseurs still attempted to be identified through the group they posed as. I have seen lots and lots of teenagers wearing Ramones shirts who definitely weren’t nerds, but rather pure fashion victims. Ob of course, I leave you the benefit of doubt because there’s only one way to find out: ask them about the band whose shirts they’re wearing.
I know these nerds exist and I eventually even encounter some of them, but I think I can tell them pretty well from the fashion victims. Hell, I suspect many of the latter don’t even know they’re wearing a band shirt and think Ramones is a cool fashion brand with an edgy logo like, say, Boy or Alpha Industries.
Here, I would leave a big, big question mark. Certainly, the recording industry didn’t encourage many people BUT The Pistols did. Actually, they started an avalanche of bands which all strayed in different directions, some punk, some creating the goth and darkwave movement, others being more New Wave and experimental. All these bands had reportedly seen or heard the Pistols. Hell, I saw the Pistols on TV on Top of the Pops somewhere in the 70’s and we were electrified. Everybody who saw and heard the Pistols knew a new era had begun and many acted in consequence. I honestly don’t see that level of creativity emerging from Youtube. I see a lot of - well honestly rather mediocre self-made performers trying to land a hit. Some succeed, of course, but I fail to see that explosion of creativity that burned down everything that was overnight and crated a whole new culture with bands, venues, fanzines, etc. etc. Don’t mean to offend here but seriously, times have changed a lot.
“I will never understand the point of walking around on GPS with a glassy vacant expression while you spend all your time in the Matrix. When I was a kid we didn’t have Borg implants, all we had were awkward little rectangles and no sarcasm font.” ~ Gen Z’er 30 years from now
Well, Johnson was more talking about technology creating the opportunity for technology. I’m the one who sees a continuum between technology and cultural ideas.
I’m a little more skeptical of the connection between sci-fi type ideas and actual developments that you. Star Trek told us we’d have hand held devices, but I don’t think they are really similar to iPads and cell phones except that they are a thing you hold in your hand. It also predicted universal translation that not only allowed all concepts to be translated into English, but also universally translated the concept of gender from speech (so they knew that an amorphous cloud of energy was female, which is why it was attracted to a male human). Might as well have been a unicorn.
I certainly mean Sid Vicious! This is what happens when you talk about recollections of your youth instead of stuff you just googled. But my point was that a song performed by Sinatra was able to become a punk anthem because the message was on point. I think being the hero of your own story is a theme that runs very far back.
Yeah, I sure don’t know, but I don’t think it means nothing. As a radical materialist when I have a word like that I ask myself whether it’s getting at a real thing that we are trying to grasp (like heat), or a cultural creation that is relative to whatever culture its in (like fashionable), or whether we’re just mistaken and it’s nothing at all (like luminiferous aether). I always try to entertain the first possibility as much as I can, that is, to think that we are using a word to try to get at something that is very much real even though we don’t know what it is right now, but that one day maybe we’ll be able to build a device to measure it.
While that’s obviously nuts, I guess the point of that is that I don’t like to think something isn’t a thing just because I can see a million problems with it being a thing. An ancient philosopher (I swear it was aristotle but I can never find the passage) actually argued that heat couldn’t be a real thing because if you moved your hand from ice water to cold water it would feel warm, so it was all totally subjective. He had no idea about how you could build a device to measure the average kinetic energy of the molecules in each bowl of water and objectively measure the temperature.
I can’t answer any of those questions about authenticity any more than Aristotle (I’m just going to blame him) could answer questions about heat. But I think about how we talk about authenticity and I feel like we aren’t just making that up entirely. We are distinguishing between something and something else. And while we can come up with lots of cases where we can get ourselves confused, we can find others where the authentic vs. inauthentic distinction seems crystal clear (the old “I know it when i see it defintion”).
But when we do come up with an authentic-o-meter, you can look back on this conversation and go, “Wow, @humbabella was some kind of prophetic genius.”
I guess to me the question is, would you? From the Velvet Underground to the Sex Pistols to Nirvana, there are these bands that inspire a generation of musicians to start their own bands. Maybe no youtube star has done that, but I feel like inevitably one will. Because, like you say, it wasn’t the recording industry that inspired people, it was the band.
But maybe we should be looking for let’s players who are inspiring a generation of let’s players or toy unboxers who are inspiring a generation of toy unboxers. That might sounds nuts (the first makes sense to me, the second… well these are the length I go to to avoid talking about “the kids these days”) but I don’t know how passing those things are. Honestly, if I had to pick one amazing thing that came out of youtube it would be supergreatfriend. His let’s play of deadly premonition is a masterpiece (though some of the videos are now only available through the internet archive as they were taken down by copyright claims because he did reviews of movies in them).
Actually, I spend a lot of time on YouTube, watching highly entertaining game reviewers like Jim Sterling or Angry Joe or music channels like the Pindrop or Rob Chapman, history channels like Lindybeige, etc. There is a huge quality in what many of them do but at the same time, I still fail to see how the impact compares to what Punk has been and I think if someone could see it, then it would be me as a person who has actually dived into both. Sure, I don’t watch so many Let’s Plays, but that’s because I rather play those games myself than watch somebody else doing it. Oh and I hate Pewdipie.
Oh and about unboxing videos… yeah, I guess I don’t get the point. Not that I don’t enjoy unboxing but there again, I’d rather do it myself. Really, they leave me puzzled.
He lost his punk credibility when he started advertising butter.
I guess Trump is a logical end point from there.
I wish Joe Strummer were alive to tear into that. This year is the 40th anniversary of the big Rock Against Racism concert in the East End of London. The Clash were there, along with a lot of other punk bands, but the Sex Pistols were more concerned with tearing their band apart.
He already was when he died. He didn’t make his money by selling out when he didn’t have to, unlike John Lydon.
Strummer died suddenly on 22 December 2002 in his home at Broomfield in Somerset, the victim of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. His estate was valued at just under £1 million, and he left all the money to his wife Lucinda.
He remained dedicated to his politics though. He had seen what far-right politics does first hand, and had lost family members to it (his brother’s suicide in 1970).