THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “COOL” BAR

Idag blev jag tipsad om en väldigt inspirerande text eller var det kanske ett manifest skriven av Tobi Vail (spelade trummor i Bikini Kill). Den handlar om hennes “underground ideas 2009” och är en rätt fram text om hur vi skulle kunna förhålla oss till kultur. Jag kopierar den rakt av härifrån:

Underground Ideas 2009

the jigsaw underground thinks it shouldn’t have to say these things, but is constantly thinking about them.

1. there’s no such thing as a “cool” bar

stop wasting your life. the bush presidency is over. time to get on with it.

every second you spend sitting on your ass ‘consuming’ alcohol is another second closer to death. (idea/terminology credit to joaquin de la puente lll)

you are also spending your time as a consumer. exchanging dollars for drinks. this is capitalism.

if you wanna party, join a beer-making collective or make your own wine. have creative fun times in the woods, at your friends house, host a party!

just get out of the bar!

i realized that by playing 100 shows in 12 months in what was basically a bar-band, I spent 1 out of every 3-4 days in a bar….what is this kind of touring for? you play to drunk people every night why? to distract them from what’s really going on? like the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan????

not my idea of punk. time to move on. all ages in 2009.

go to all ages shows and pay to get in so bands can afford to tour this way and even make enough money in their own town to pay their expenses. $8 is not too much to go see 3 or 4 bands. that is the price of two drinks, dear. hardly a fortune. you can afford it. it’s a matter of changing your priorities.

here are my personal bar rules:

-try not to go to bars unless something is happening, i.e. dj night or show
-if i drink, two drink limit at bar
-try to only stay for the show or 1 or 2 hours
-try to have interesting conversations with people. if that’s not possible, go home and read/write letters or do something fun/productive/meaningful

please feel free to make up your own rules.

2. dismissing something based on genre or hype, is buying into capitalist ways of organizing information.

there are good songs in every style of music, and all musicians have to promote themselves in order to earn a living

not buying coffee at “insert name brand here” because you don’t want to be perceived as a certain kind of person, feeds into the idea that a brand or a logo or what you consume is who you are.

similarly, not going to a ‘black-metal’ show because you are in an indie-pop band or only like country music made in the 1930’s is to substitute genres for logos and is another form of conspicuous consumption. obviously this is not a threat to capitalism.

if you are into a certain kind of music, fine, but don’t let that define you or close you off to a world of experience.

punk is an attitude, not a style of music, etc.

3. there’s no such thing as a cool corporation

sure some pay health insurance and treat their workers well, others don’t. that is important to know and take into consideration when deciding how to spend your money and in some cases, where to work.

but ultimately, corporations are part of a system that is destroying the world.

we need to support co-ops and find alternatives to capitalist globalization

4. talking about ad campaigns is actively promoting word-of-mouth advertising. every time you say “name brand” you are working for the man

this is what I didn’t like about Ann Elizabeth Moore’s book, although there were things I did like about it.

5. punks are artists/ the punk as artist: being an artist is not exclusive and does not (necessarily) rest on ‘talent’, ‘skill’ or ‘worthiness’. also, being an artist does not make you a special person. what it does do is put you in a position where you can use symbols to express ideas, and this can be done for incendiary political purposes as well as for fun or to kill time or to entertain yourself, your family, your friends….even strangers. it also provides a connection between you as an individual and the world as a whole in which you are active –as opposed to passive– which is what you are when you spend your free time as a consumer. some people call this being a producer.

the jigsaw underground says: participate! create! make stuff happen not just stuff to buy and sell! by all means, paint! be a punk rocker!

this means: spend your time questioning the status quo, tearing shit down and creating your own world via your band, fanzine, painting, comic, film, play, novel etc.

by being/becoming artists and creating culture, we can create new meanings that change how we think about and live in the world.

this is based on the idea that language is socially constructed through cultural institutions and that making art is to intervene in the process of how things come to mean what they mean. symbols=language. meaning is culturally contingent. when art is culture and not just in a museum, it has more potential for change. this is where the term ‘cultural production’ comes into it.

examples:

M.I.A.
bikini kill
the clash
crass
sex pistols
public enemy
black flag
bratmobile
heaven’s to betsy
huggy bear
minor threat
beat happening
woody guthrie
nina simone
bob dylan

please create your own list.

6. the easiest way of defining yourself is by saying ‘i hate bla bla bla’ i’m different. but like the death by chocolate song illustrates, ‘what do you like’ is a far more difficult question to answer.

(if you know me, you know this is something i struggle with and that i also value negativity to the point of absurdity/comedy and that it sometimes threatens to take over my entire social personality–yet i wanna recognize its theoretical limits here.)

this is one reason why bands against bush was so easy to organize, yet stuck and unable to move forward.

we are moving out of the bush era, into a whole new historical epoch.

here’s my suggestion:

try to come up with a list of criteria for deciding what you like. how would you like the world to change? how could society be organized differently?

in order to do this, in my opinion, we need to critique capitalism in every day language. this means being able to define what capitalism is and identify how it functions in our lives on a day to day basis.

the questions we need to work on:

what is capitalism? how does it function? can it be resisted/dismantled? why or why not/ how?

then do the same with neo-colonialism, imperialism, empire and globalization.

no jargon or technical terms unless you can define them in non-jargon or non-technical terms using concrete examples.

these are theoretical baby steps, but i think that if we change how we think about the world, we can change how we live in it. if we can change how our actions impact the world we live in, that is a step in the right direction.

i want to change the world.

you have to start somewhere.

this manifesto is a work in progress.

5 comments
  1. himla bra text tycker jag, upptäcker mig själv med att sitta och skriva på en rålång kommentar där jag klagar på alla saker som jag inte tycker om att folk sysslar med….

    på rätt kort tid känns det som att den lokala ~diy-scenen~ har förlorat sin ambition att vara ett ordentligt alternativ till alla ~coola barer~, från att handla om att bygga gemenskaper kring andra grunder än kommersiella intressen till att nu mest kännas som fester för inbördes beundran där bara redan av kollektivet bekräftade (hypade?) band får komma och spela, men där alkoholkonsumtion och utgång till krogen efter spelningen står högt på prioritetslistan.

    men det är ju klaga jag inte ska göra, jag ska komma på konstruktiva idéer var det väl tänkt, nedrans vad svårt det är.

  2. lite får en klaga tycker jag, men inte glömma bort att visionera kring lösningarna. klaga är ju att analysera situationen, vilket är viktigt för att förstå vad lösningarna borde vara.

    sjukt bra text, väl värt väntan på internet för att få läsa den. gillar särskilt punkt 2: “dismissing something based on genre or hype, is buying into capitalist ways of organizing information.” det får mig att fundera själv på hur jag relaterar till musik som något identitetsskapande. och just att det avfärdas som att spela kapitalismen i händerna. skitspännande.

    blasfemiska truppen borde mötas och prata om dessa saker irl. vill prata om det i detta nu.

    /heavy

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