Back in high school, I would listen to “I Am a Poseur,” the X-Ray Spex song, with absolute fascination. Here was the frontwoman of one of the crucial bands of the punk era saying that this is all a facade. The irony is that it wasn’t. Poly Styrene was the real deal, someone who started a band just because she thought she could. She was a feminist icon for the weird teenagers of my generation, kids who came up in the age of Riot Grrrl.
This song was running through my head when I looked through the photos from the Met Ball that’s celebrating punk or something like that. Those images from last night championed the facade. That’s it.
I grew up in Northridge, which, as the name would imply, is in the north San Fernando Valley. Northridge is how I imagine pretty much every other U.S. neighborhood, boring and filled with people who will mock you when they find out you can’t kick a ball. Back in the 1990s, though, we had a few things that made being a teenager suck less and I credit these places with turning me into a literate, marginally creative human being. Some of these places don’t exist anymore, not just in the small corner of the Valley where I was raised, but anywhere. I mourn their loss because, honestly, every neighborhood needs them. Continue reading →
You saw that video of Paris Hilton’s DJ set, right? Even my mom saw it. She’s a hip lady and all, but I know for a fact that she doesn’t spend all day looking for clips of DJ sets, so I’m guessing that link traveled far. If you haven’t seen that trainwreck snippet of a performance, Google it because, frankly, I’m responsible for enough hits on that thing already.
The thing that troubles me about the clip is the absolute audacity someone has to have to take the stage at a music festival and be so obviously unprepared. If you talk to a lot of the big DJs, you’ll notice that almost all of them spent years perfecting their skills inside tiny, hometown clubs before they hit the touring circuit. Paying your dues is important, not because of fairness or anything like that, but because you’re actually undergoing a learning process far more important than a year of tutelage under Afrojack or DJ Poet or whoever else is responsible for this. Continue reading →