Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kinda Interesting

Time Out Chicago has an interesting new issue out. On the cover in big, bold letters it asks its readers if Indie still has any Indie Cred. Does it? I say, why not? In particular, Time Out has an interesting round table discussion on the subject. You can view it here:

It features a group of people from Chicago who have some sort of "indie cred" to talk about the subject over dinner. Among the people participating are JC Gabel, former editor and publisher of the soon to be over Stop Smiling magazine, Anne Elizabeth Moore, a former editor of Punk Planet, and Scott Plagenhoef, Editor in Chief of Pitchfork.

For my own part, I've never been particularly interested in the word indie. I like independent things, but I agree with the round table that indie is now more of a corporate tag for a certain style as opposed to anything actually being independent. In my mind, Indie to me still means DIY above all else. In which case, Jettison is about an indie as anything right now.

My main problem with the article however is that everyone invited to participate in the round table discussion is over 30, the youngest being JC Gabel at 33. Although 30 is by no means old, they end up sounding like a bunch of old men lamenting the good old days when things were pure and wonderful. One participant, Bryan Wendorf, co-founder of the Chicago Underground Film Festival asks, "Are 18 year old still having these arguments?" To which JC Gabel responds that, no, "I think they’re at Urban Outfitters."

Thanks a lot, dude! Where's my generations perspective in all this? Are we not doing cool, independent things? One of the most intriguing things about the independent movement has always been to highlight those who are now unestablished. The embrace of the obscure and the constant attempt to hunt down the "new thing that no one else knows about" has allowed countless musicians, artists, filmmakers, etc to be accepted and achieve success.

Stop Smiling will be over soon, Punk Planet is long gone, and the truly independent minded hipsters already shun Pitchfork. So what's next Time Out? What's new? If you want to find out what indie means to people now, maybe you should try asking someone who's actually participating in what's it's going to mean in the future. Try asking someone who's shaping it's meaning now. Otherwise, you just get a bunch of old guys talking trash.

-The Editors

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree that Time Out should have gotten a broader cross section of individuals involved in DIY/Indie culture. As someone approaching 30 I can see the humor in a jaded, off-handed jab, but among friends and not in a widely circulated publication. Plus, there are plenty of people doing unique, interesting things in their teens and twenties and writing off 18 year olds as simple consumers of Urban Outfitters is pretty insulting.

    Also, on the other side of the coin I had a LOT of those arguments they mention and most of them were pretty baseless. Just kids and young adults that either didn't have the full story, were jealous of others success or afraid their culture would be "poisoned." It's easy to cast stones and accuse people of selling out when you don't see the full picture. I wrote a rant in my high school fanzine about Moon Ska Records "selling out" and I re-read a few weeks ago and it was cringe worthy. The acting head of the label at the time responded and we printed it in the following issue and it ripped me to shreds, and with good reason. I was a 16 year old who thought I knew what I was talking about, but didn't have a clue. I'm sure arguments like that are still happening, but even if they weren't, is that something to miss?