I went to the tattoo shop yesterday for a consultation on my 3/4 sleeve*, and the above was on the wall. Not many people would think that a tattoo shop at Jefferson and Broadway would be full of dudes with a passing- to genuine interest in Harry Potter, but you have to remember that these were the dudes who spent adolescence drawing during class and in the cafeteria. There’s an art nerd aspect about them, and this certainly helps when it comes to other kinds of nerdliness like enjoying Harry Potter.
I never got into Harry Potter. I think that if the books existed when I was 9, I probably would have devoured them and formed the kind of deep emotional attachment that drives people to pay $20 and stand in line for a single movie on opening night (which means that none of you fools are allowed to complain about Netflix raising their prices). I like the movies and by the law of books-made-into-movies I assume the books are better, and even though I never had the opportunity to become a Harry Potter nerd, I’m still super impressed by J.K. Rowling and the story behind how she wrote the entire series.
Apparently she was a single mother on welfare when she started writing the first book? She’d recently divorced some dude, moved to Scotland, developed clinical depression, and begun receiving state benefits in order to support herself and her baby while looking for a job. And throughout all this, she kept writing some story about child wizards that she’d conceived on a train ride. Do you know how remarkable that is? I don’t know anyone in a similar situation who does anything that creative. Most people in the same spot would shut the creative part of their brain down, choosing instead to focus on the basics of survival and being sad all the time.
And she wrote on a manual typewriter! Hee!
Okay, fine. I suppose that I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to Harry Potter, even if it’s only for the author and not so much about the story. At least I knew enough to talk about it with Perry the Desk Guy, who got tickets for opening night because his wife loves the books and he’d read the last one. We discussed how it was cool to be able to pre-order something you want so badly because you’ve developed such an attachment to it, but that it was a shame how most shows sold out within an hour of tickets going on sale, and how, in general, sold-out shows are a pain in the ass because no one’s allowed to love things spontaneously anymore. You can’t just show up at a show for anything that’s even remotely well-known and expect to be blown away as a newcomer. Like, about 80% of the people I know have never even heard of Bright Eyes, but that was a sold-out show filled with people who loved them so much they were crying. It was a good show, too, but no one who wasn’t already a superfan would have known if they weren’t dragged along by their weird, obsessed friend.
We’ve created an entire culture of FIRST! and made it mandatory that you discover whatever you love in the very beginning. It’s not considered legitimate to love someone’s later work or even a greatest hits album. In order to have any sort of value as a fan, you almost have to abandon whatever it is the moment it becomes valuable to the rest of the world, which is bulshitty and counterproductive for whatever it is you once loved, because you spent so much of the time when you loved it pushing other people out because they didn’t love it enough. And then what else is left when you decide it’s not worth your time anymore?
This whole thing has become a like a k-hole in my brain. I just can’t wrap my head around it and it disappoints me deeply to realize that eventually, those ghetto dudes selling tickets outside of any venue (Tom Waits, Bright Eyes, Harry Potter) will be the messengers of an entire generation of entertainers.
Or maybe Twitter will, because even though I’m nowhere near a Harry Potter superfan, at least someone close to the story thinks my opinions are valid:
*I got my consultation scheduled within a few days of calling about it, so I assumed that the standard 3-month waiting list to get the tattoo would go similarly fast. WRONG. Guess when my first appointment is? Guess. You’ll never guess.
MAY FUCKING 4TH. My artist works by appointment only and only works every other weekend, so with everyone else’s stuff and the fact that I should have called about this months ago, I’m sitting at May 4th. That’s two days before my 30th birthday, when I was planning to be out of the country because I really don’t feel like turning 30 here. But of course I’ll stay in St. Louis at least for the tattoo appointment, because if I don’t then I’ll have to wait until June 1st for the next appointment, and I want to get something in before I’m 30.
The benefit of having an amazing artist is that you get amazing tattoos. The downside is that you frequently have to wait an ungodly amount of time for those tattoos. I suppose everyone could be really shitty and hipster-y about it and never tell anyone else about him, but, as I sort of mentioned above, it seems ridiculous to me to keep that kind of information to yourself. I want people to know who did my work because I want him to be around when I want more. I want people to know about this awesome hole-in-the-wall burrito place because if not, it’ll shut down (El Burrito Loco closed down, by the way, which means that it is definitely about time to get the hell out of this neighborhood). I want people to listen to the music I found and watch the movies that impressed me because what good is good taste if you’re no one else is allowed to think so?