20060709

Clubs and Clubbing: Selling A Community to a Community And What This is Compared to the Rest of the World

Music is an industry. Industry caters to people. People make up communities. Those communities have musical tastes, and thus dance clubs were born.

These days, it's become much more community specific. Initially, there was just disco; and mostly I'm sorry to say, that was a white people thing.

Pick up a flyer for any club night, and with out my even seeing it I can sum it up like this:

"People like you hang out here!" if it's your style -or- "People Not In Any Way like you hang out here!"

But it's not a community, it's not the same thing. It appears to me that there is a whole industry based solely on providing people with the illusion of community and so desperate are they for it that they will pay money to feel as though they are part of a group. It's a form of emotional prostitution, isn't it? Playing on people's fears of being alone and actually asking for money so they can hang out with other people.

In addition, it's a constructed environment. Club culture isn't real. Case in point; the bullshit flows. A buddy of mine, without me knowing due to the volume of the music, introduced me as a state senator as we were out one night. This is ridiculous on several levels and they saw through it. This happens all the time. Couple that with the free flowing of alcohol and you pretty much have a situation that almost totally precludes folks from telling the truth.

In addition to all this, clubs rely on a near compulsive spending of money by their patrons, unless they charge 50+ dollars a head and have 1,000 people show up. Now, the sort of person who spends money compulsively and wants to be a member of a crowd so badly they'll pay money to join it? That's two of the nine main characteristics for borderline personality disorder. Now, if clubs rely so heavily on two traits which are, quite frankly, negative to very negative how positive can the environment actually be?

In addition, there's also the bizarre, mean-spirited and stupid culture built around music. Often times, it won't be enough that you've heard a song and enjoyed it; found it pleasing to your ear. If you were cool, then you would have heard that song a year ago, and it would have given you an orgasm because it was so new and awesome and wow you'd never heard anything like that before.

The "I heard it first" thing is probably perpetuated by MTV. Remember when MTV was cool? Looking at MTV then, as a wiser man who's actually had sex and drank beer since the 80's, it wasn't all that great. These days it's barely tolerable and appears to exist only to shorten the attention span of Generation Y-Z to such an extent that they will buy anything. It's also possible MTV also brought the phrase "You heard it first" into the music culture lexicon, with their MTV news brief.

Now, the biggest problem with this cultural construct is first it alienates the younger and empowers the older when taken to it's extreme. I don't have a problem with that in general, however specifically empowering the old merely because they've had the luck to survive beyond the firmer, younger years is ridiculous. I didn't hear Led Zeppelin on the radio the first time they were played on the radio because, of course, I wasn't born yet, something over which I had absolutely no control. Being there shouldn't be a criteria for any sort of merit, certainly not in a country as safe as ours. Pardon me for saying this, but making it to 22 isn't all that much of an achievement with the borders of these United States. If you are 22, don't be insulted, however recognize that in Rwanda or perhaps the Sudan and other places that by age 16 you will probably have killed someone in a militia action or been raped and murdered.

Now, I'm not debating if wisdom comes with age. It does, and the older you are the wiser you are; but that is not contingent on the music you've heard. That's actually contingent on your life and how you lived it. A person can lead a very character building life without ever hearing one song on a radio.

So, at age 25 you've been in "the scene" for six years. If you were 25 in Rwanda you would be commander of a militia or military unit. I bring this up because now that we have clubs that appear to have some sort of longevity and last for more than a year, it appears as though you can become a veteran of a certain club or club night. Now there are people who lord the fact that they were there when such and such club opened over the younger people and may further complain how all these new people suck for no actual reason other than the fact they are new. Well, if people really liked the scene that much they would be offering much more guidance and constructive criticism, there would be a much greater attempt at encouraging the new blood who find their way there from radio and internet.

If scenes were real communities there would be involvement, direction and ideals. The older would teach the young and show them how not to fuck up their lives. That's what a community is, or at least should be. Club going people aren't coming together for the good of rearing the young and defending their streets, or towns or cities. They're just listening to fucking music and drinking. "Music scenes," there fore, are not communities.

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