I told you about how Graham and I were able to hang out together on Saturday. The first bar, The Silver Ballroom, is about five minutes away from our current place and in my old neighborhood, Bevo. Until very recently, this neighborhood was hipster leprosy. I’m not sure why; the rent is cheap and it’s just down the block from Tower Grove (still the preferred hipster neighborhood because it makes the kids feel urban or whatever, even though every other house has been renovated by fabulously wealthy gays), but I guess the neighborhood they knew only as Little Bosnia (only since 1995, dumbshits) wasn’t cool enough for them and they stayed away. Then a couple of bars opened up, and it’s like they’ve discovered the place. I mean actually discovered the place. Like Fox News-sponsored history books eliminating certain syphillis-infected natives from the story of Christopher Columbus, hipsters talk about Bevo like some new promised land, as if some of us haven’t been living here since childhood. It’s annoying on one hand because okay, bitches, you totally know everything, but on the other it’s funny when not one of them can figure out the Gravois-Morganford intersection. But isn’t it great that hipsters are spending money in formerly blighted neighborhoods, and shouldn’t you stop being such a bitch about it? Hahaha, oh, surely you jest. Hipsters don’t spend money. Not at bars, anyway. Hipsters drink cheap beer and tip poorly. They reserve their money for Apple products. I’m not trying to keep anyone out of the area, I just think it’ll be hilarious when they try to colonize Dutchtown.
Silver Ballroom is a decent bar. One, there’s pinball. Two, the staff is very friendly. Three, they have a badass jukebox and four, perhaps most importantly, the drinks are just as cheap as any other neighborhood bar. If you’re there on a weekday or before 11pm on a weekend, you can enjoy yourself without being ass-to-crotch with some dudebro wearing throwback Keds and showing off his video game tattoos. After 11pm, though, it gets kind of scene-y, and as Graham noted, it’s easy to pick apart the people who like playing pinball and the people who drink there because it’s “the place to be.”
Once Silver Ballroom got crowded and I got tired of losing at pinball, we went to a bar up the street from our house. Stan’s is in stark contrast to Silver Ballroom. The staff is just as friendly and the drinks are just as cheap, but from the drunk girl splayed on the sidewalk in front to the drunk-but-still-upright girls having a soulful moment while their friend brayed along to Buckcherry’s “I’m Sorry” at karaoke, Stan’s is decidedly unhip. This is exactly what I like about it. While several of our fellow patrons were extremely inebriated and probably shop exclusively at Super Wal-Mart, as Graham correctly pointed out, “these people are more real than any of those hipsters at Silver Ballroom right now.”
But their music still sucks.
I realize that my tastes in music could be considered a bit obscure by some of the people at Stan’s, and that yes, it would seem weird that I’ve completely eschewed mainstream radio. Also, I agree that my attitude towards Buckcherry ballads and the like is what some would call pretentious, as is the pride I take in never having heard all of “Moves Like Jagger” (Graham made me listen to a verse in the car the other day, that stupid bastard). I have no idea what the kids are listening to these days, unless it’s on the station I write for or other stations like it. I see how this would make me an asshole.
But man, that other music is stupid. I mean stupid. The lyrics are braindead misogyny over a catchy beat or embarrassingly elementary plinky-plunky guitar/piano melody designed for easy digestion by a demographic that doesn’t know how to properly operate birth control pills. If you’re going to be braindead (Sex Pistols), fine. If you’re going to be misogynistic (Axl), fine. But don’t be both. Be brilliant and mean and terrifying, keep the catchy beats but learn how to actually play other instruments, and please, give your audience some credit beyond the ability to accurately hurl a half-full beer can at a moving target for the sole reason of that target “lookin’ like a faggot.”
And when some of this music isn’t blatantly stupid, it’s disguised as something other than but ultimately, again, stupid. Lana Del Rey is an example. I tried liking her, I really did. I wasn’t going to be one of those people who disliked her because she’s a trust fund kid (her father is loaded) or because she’s pretty (like a factory made Jenny Lewis Barbie doll). Granted I’ve only heard the EP (her album won’t be released until later this month), but from what I’ve heard, I dislike her because of the way she sounds. Like Britney Spears at a Dusty Springfield-vs-Nancy Sinatra drag show, like the only reason she exists is to give people who hate Adele for being fat something to write home about. This is what the kids are into these days? This is what the music industry is trying to sell us as thoughtful, soulful, and decent? Oh, I can’t wait for the day I have to hear some shithammered South City 25-year-old mother of three belting “Video Games” at the front of a bar. I’m not trying to force everyone to like what I like – for example, I’d never go into Stan’s and play the more esoteric sections of my iTunes on the jukebox like I’m educating people – but is it so wrong to ask that people get a little smarter about their tastes?
I’m not being a hipster. Seriously. No, seriously, say it and I’ll punch you. However, I do enjoy mine and Graham’s new-ish habit of compiling a yearly list of hipster band names (possibly for use in a band names-for-cash Web venture?). They’re just pieces of conversation, both drunken and sober, that make us laugh and seem like the exact kind of thing you could find on a hand-lettered concert poster clutched in the dirty hand of a fake fixie rider. Readers who don’t call me a hipster, I give you 2011:
Graham and Erin’s 2011 Hipster Band Name List
Go Pummelo Go!
Make Sure the Pilot’s Not Drunk
Teeny Tiny Corduroys
Bulldozer Death Squad