Image: Astghik Nalchajyan / WikiCommons
In 2017, our ever-globalised information society brings about endless possibilities, the sharing of ideas, values, worldviews – the positives are truly exhaustive. In the music world, however, contemporary trends have resulted in the dwindling of a phenomenon that would once spring up at regular intervals and grasp the collective energies of young music lovers for a generation: the subculture.
The mid-20th century’s explosion of music culture presented the world with new social codes and lifestyles to abide by. For each decade from the 50’s onwards it seems, existed at least one wave of pure unbridled creative liberation, spearheaded by the youth of the day. From the Teddy Boys of the 50’s, the 60’s melting pot of Beatlemaniacs, Mods, Rockers and later, Hippies and Skinheads, young people across the world garnered a sense of identity, of belonging. Subcultures offered inclusion, and in most cases promoted collective happiness, in spite of social categorisations of division.
Today, the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or the Sex Pistols, could never capture imaginations on the scope they’d respectively achieved in their heyday – such is the double edged sword of technological advancement. While on one hand we have the convenient capacity to engorge artists’ entire catalogues at the click of a button, there are no cultural phenomenons. No timeless events. You likely don’t share an affinity with your friends’ own personal Apple playlists. And when you do go see your favourite artists live, you’ll record most of the set on your phone, just to ensure every detail is kept in your own camera roll for future entertainment. Except of course, any real sense of importance. Exceptions to the rule exist, however. Berlin’s best nightclubs, for instance, still prohibit mobile phone use and encourage clubbers to live in the moment.
Nevertheless, genuine hedonistic sentiment, en masse, remains difficult to grasp for any solid length of time. The average night-out for British youth consists of overproduced ear rape, binge drinking and sexual desperation. A stark comparison to the successive Summers of Love (’89, ’90) in which ravers congregated nationwide in the spirit of unity. Real human connections were made, real conversations. Never checking-in at such and such a place. Warehouses weren’t even on the map! No meeting of superficial Tinder profiles with a body. Yet of course, it is now easier than ever, with increasing globalisation, to broaden your mental horizons, learn new things, appreciate other people. But how many of us are doing it in person?
You may be black; you may be white, you may be Jew or gentile – it doesn’t make a difference in our house…