The Field Guide to North American Hipsters, Vol. II
Blur vs. Oasis: Year 11
Identification: A dying breed, thank god, since England elected to stop producing relevant music sometime around 1997. Nonetheless, the vast backlog of available UK crap means that the US will never be without its share of irritating Anglophiles. If you can’t spot an Anglophile from his style alone (foppish haircut, Doc Martens, cuffed jeans, peacoat, skinny tie), his true colors will shine through as soon as he opens his mouth: he’ll be determined to flex his affectations at any available moment. Listen for telltale words like “arse,” “bollocks,” “shite,” “cunt (referring to a friend),” and “Babyshambles.” Also, listen for the key phrase “oh, you mean American football.” Don’t diss Irvine Welsh in front of him, or he’ll do that little backwards peace-sign thing that apparently constitutes the sad English excuse for a flip-off. Anglophiles are often pathetic in their constant attempts at literate, withering, Morrisseyesque wit, and for this reason they will often come off as pretentious, undereducated nancies (just like Morrissey, as their luck would have it).
Female Anglophiles are the worst of the worst; they combine all the aforementioned qualities with the additional bonus trait of fawning, overzealous fandom for the various gorgeous Jarvises and Crispins that defined Britpop’s heyday with their feminine looks and spasmodic dancing. They are the closest thing the new millennium has to Tiger Beat David Cassidy fans.
Musical Taste: The artistic merit of any band is judged on a simple percentage scale:
From Manchester: 100% artistically credible (unless Oasis)
From London: 90% artistically credible (unless formed before 1977)
From Liverpool: 85% artistically credible
From anywhere else in England: 75% artistically credible
From anywhere in Scotland: 90% artistically credible
From anywhere in Ireland: 65% artistically credible
From anywhere else: 0% artistically credible (unless band pretends to be English)
Other factors contribute, of course: paleness of lead singer; strength of debut album vs. awfulness of sophomore album; banality of one-word band name; cost of guitarist’s vintage Gibson archtop; degree of unpopularity in America; weight of idiotically enthusiastic NME articles, etc.
How to Tame an Anglophile: Offer to light his or her clove with your Union Jack Zippo.
Benefits of Friendship: You might be able to get mildly aroused by a Jarvis Cocker poster if you squint real hard and pretend he’s Kate Moss (and then maybe brain-squint really hard until you can figure out a way to find Kate Moss attractive). Also, you’ll learn how to spell lots of words the “proper” way.
Drawbacks of Friendship: “Argh! How can I lend you ten quid if you don’t even know what the fuck a quid is? Also, stop calling me ‘mate!’ What are you, Crocodile Dundee?”
XHardcore x KidsX
Identification Hardcore kids are kind of like emo kids, but their music is ten times worse and they’re ten times more serious about it, they’re belligerent assholes, many of them are incredibly self-righteous (to the point of violence) about their personality-defining straightedge bullshit, they go to art school to learn how to design shitty websites with size .0005 text and patterns of silhouetted leaves, and their Myspace profiles have more code than Windows XP. They’re as vacant as frat boys and sorority girls, but they try to hide it with a tacky veneer of over-seriousness, unoriginal artiness, and half-assed self-destruction.
sXe no poison 4 life!!!!! Yeah, no poison except your shitty music.
Hardcore kids are kind of like Steven Seagal: you get the feeling that they only act tough because they got beat up every single day of their miserable lives when they were kids. However, unlike Steven Seagal, they skipped the step where you grow up into a big, strapping ass-kicker to compensate; instead, they settle for being scrappy little nerds who would easily be mopped up by anyone outside the pantywaist mosh pits of their idiotic subculture.
Musical Taste: They’re as snooty about music as indie kids, but their taste is based exclusively on what they perceive as being cool, simply because it’s objectively impossible to judge the merits of hardcore music because it’s all complete trash. Not since the original foundation of UK punk has there been a music scene where music played less of a role. Hardcore kids have circumvented the problem of hardcore being utterly devoid of art by pretending that every unpleasant noise they’re capable of producing is high art.
Hardcore tends to rely on ugly little local scenes, which easily thrive due to the fact that the quality of the music is irrelevant (when the “good” hardcore bands are sonic abominations like Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan, one shudders to think what a mediocre local hardcore band must sound like) (now a million hardcore idiots are going to e-mail and bitch about Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan, because now that more than five people have heard of them, they’ve “sold out”).
How to Tame a Hardcore Kid: Punch him in his goddamn face. If he forgives you for shattering his brittle, shellacked bangs, he might decide you’re his type of guy. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ve done your good deed for the day.
Benefits of Friendship: Once I saw this documentary about how deaf parents desperately want their children to be deaf so that their children can experience the beauty of the deaf lifestyle. I suppose if you’re hell-bent on going deaf to please your parents, getting into the hardcore scene is a good start. You’ll either lose your hearing at concerts or stick knitting needles into your ears to avoid having to hear any more.
Drawbacks of Friendship: Just about anything that could possibly be wrong with a person is usually wrong with hardcore kids. That’s why only other hardcore kids can tolerate them.