Monday, May 5, 2014

Get Off My Lawn, Part 20

I had a conversation with my friend Michael on Saturday night. He's a 70 year old man from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and after my brief rant on how Brooklyn has changed for the worse, with me taking down anything in skinny jeans and ironic frames, sipping kale smoothies and $12 cruelty-free lattes, he calmly offered this:

"Leave the kids alone. Just as you will never experience my Brooklyn, they will never experience yours. This is their Brooklyn. Why aggravate yourself?"

People have been saying this to me for years, and while I know my ire is unreasonable, I still have trouble with "the hipster" and it's irony. I tried to take Michael's advice. He's not wrong, just as all those other friends and acquaintances weren't wrong when they offered like advice. I'm working on it. It should be easy enough to just laugh off seeing a 24 year-old with a Smith Brothers beard and Lew Wasserman frames, weighing 68 pounds soaking wet, walking his cat on a leash while sporting a "Brooklyn: East New York" tee shirt, except if this kooky kat had actually been walking along Lefferts Avenue, the odds are slim that he would have survived the stroll unscathed.

But I digress.

I decided at the end of my conversation with Michael to cease obsessing over "the hipster."

Then, I saw this--

"An outstanding double-CD tribute featuring today's best artists covering songs from Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Darjeeling Limited, and more. Covers of songs by the Kinks, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Elliot Smith, Nick Drake, Nico, Cat Stevens, John Lennon, among others are highlighted. The 6 panel eco-wallet features exclusive Wes Anderson-inspired illustrations by critically acclaimed rock poster designer Lonny Unitus. Praised by SPIN, NME, Rolling Stone, Paste, Nylon, and Pitchfork -- this is another fantastic themed compilation from American Laundromat Records."

Due out on May 13th, this compilation of "today's best artists" includes:

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Saint Motel
Freelance Whales
Sara Lov
Tea Cozies
Tele Novella
Trespassers William

and, for you old-timers, Kristin Hersh and Juliana Hatfield.

Now you may be thinking, "What do Brooklyn and hipsters and kale have to do with Wes Anderson?" Not much, actually. I happen to like a few Wes Anderson movies and always loved the music he used on the soundtracks. I can't explain the correlation. Maybe you can. Most of you lot always seem to understand where I'm coming from.

For now though, I seem to be off the wagon. Sorry Michael.

(And yet, I feel better now. Heh.)


steve simels said...

Hey -- Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is my favorite band!!!!

William Repsher said...

I pick at this scab too much for my own good, too. There's nothing you, me or anyone else can do to control or stop the gentrification of the 718's. I've always understood that with Manhattan, but it seemed like most of the outer boros were immune to this nonsense, at least back in the 80's and 90s. (Surely in the 60's and 70's, too.) I was wrong.

It's not so much the stylistic stuff you pick at -- for me, it's the money. The absurd rents and mortgages people are paying to live in what are still middle-to-working class neighborhoods, although real estate agents will win this war of attrition and force those people (i.e., us) out. Out to where, I don't know.

My issue is that entire classes of people are being erased from neighborhoods that were of these classes for decades, in some cases, centuries. Take a look around: how many working-class white people do you see living in Manhattan? Unless they're squired away in a long-term, rent-control leases, or lucked into public housing of some sort, you just don't. This is happening all over these designated "hip" neighborhoods in the 718's now. That "beautiful mosaic" Mayor Dinkins described in the late 80's is fading, because it's a lot more than working-class white folks who can't make the financial cut in these places.

We were raised with that concept of "concentric rings" forming around cities in terms of affluence, which was that post World War II white flight to the suburbs. We're now seeing the reverse, and it's so scattershot and based on bullshit (which neighborhoods are "cool" to live in and which aren't) that there isn't much logic or pattern to it.

In theory, I am one of these people. Save I moved to places in NYC back in the 80s and now based on affordability. (Astoria was eminently affordable up through the 90's.) People aren't moving here now because it's affordable: they're doing so for the exact opposite reason.

Wes Anderson and hipster bands? Man, they're the least of our problems! That's icing on a cake we're all being force-fed, and it's pretty clear you don't like it any more than I do! I can live with hipster mannerisms -- frankly, I like a lot of them. It's the underlying financial bullshit that has me up in arms.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Couple of years ago, I read a book about Julius Caesar. Apparently, as a young hipster he ran with a crowd that scandalized the generation in power by wearing the belts on their togas in a way totally at odds with prevailing fashion. Snotty kids.

I remember the way my dad looked at me in the mid-seventies in my white overalls ( a la Lowell Goerge), with long hair and a beard. Snotty kid.

The overly ironic hipsters elicit the same feelings in many of my generation that my generation elicited in my dad's (did that make sense?). Snotty effing kids.

Console yourself with this thought. In twenty five years, they're going to laugh as hard at themselves when they see pictures from their youth as I do when I see my own Little Feat look. Same as it ever was.

Apropos of nothing, here's a little prescription for your blues. This is off Joan Osborne's newest album and may dilute any bile in the bloodstream.


PS...hahahaha...the first word of my robo-verification-thing is "scorn". Perfect!

Sal Nunziato said...

"Wes Anderson and hipster bands? Man, they're the least of our problems!"

True dat! But this is a music blog. Had to find a connection for my venting, albeit a very thin one.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Somehow, Brooklyn has apparently turned into the equivalent of Swingin London in the '60's as a cultural phenomenon. The origins go back at least to the '80's when Billyburg's proximity to the city and low rents becan to attract the arty people who were pushed out of the East Village and The Lower East Side.
Michael is right of course, but it's so easy to find fault in hipsters taking selfies with film on their fixies while listening to this week's Mumford And Sons.
My personal trajectory went from slightly glam to full-on punk to cowpunk to a combination of all three. The hipsters are exploring and finding themselves. Think of it as a rite of passage.

Shriner said...

Juliana Hatfield? I love her (being serious here). I'll have to dig out the track -- whatever it is...

And, even though I'm nearing 50, I love Wes Anderson movies (so am I an old hipster? I'm not sure...)

That said -- even though I glance through every couple of weeks, I have no clue who those bands are.

I'm not sure what my point is either. I spent the weekend digging up the dead grass from where my dog urinates over the winter. Get off my lawn, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Don't know why, Sal, but this track came into my head, so I thought I'd offer it up just for you. Hope you like it and feel better.

P.S. I appreciate and can relate to your rants!


dogbreath said...

See? Now this is why I'm loving your blog: not only do I receive a much needed musical education but also the pleasure of a vibrant, (mostly) rationally argued & eloquent rant. I feel your Brooklyn scenario could probably be transposed to another neighbourhood in another country in another time. Was it not always thus? The old order versus the new order? (Quite a good band, New Order, btw). It's the changing of the guard. Maybe it's a yin and yang thing? (No, definitely not - ed). I do bemoan the changes I see in my own neck of the woods, but, hey, c'est la vie. Or is it c'est la guerre? Keep on keeping on & thanks for the "rant"!