GUEST POST: MY HIP(NESS) HURTS

Sometimes our goddamn earthly vessels decide to communicate that something is wrong by staging a massive shutdown that forces us to kick back and recalibrate, and so it is that Marianne has found herself bedridden for the nonce. I have no doubt she will be back in her batcave banging out blog posts before we know it, but in the meantime, please aim all your most potent healing gamma rays in your direction.  This is Marianne’s pal Dena, stepping in for just a few days to make sure all of ye faithful Popthomologists do not lack for new quality content to ponder. Since my own head is currently running on empty due to post-holiday work overwhelm, my lovely and talented spouse Bill Tarlin has stepped up to the plate with a few timely observations regarding life as an aging hipster. Cool, daddio. I would be amiss if I did not inform you that Mr. Tarlin is a legit writer of poetry of whom we are very proud. Check out his stuff here. Now, Quick! To the Batmobile!

Image via Funnyjunk
The other day at work someone mentioned a local punk band that had gotten back together. I said, “Oh yeah, I saw them. They were on first that time Husker Du opened for the Dead Kennedys.” Suddenly all eyes were on me like I had witnessed the signing of the Magna Carta. Or as one flanneled hipster put it, “Dude, I wasn’t even born then.” 

On this side of 50 there are too many opportunities to say “Well back in my day…” and it’s probably only going to get worse. The funny thing is, it isn’t like saying I lived through the Great Depression and suffered the privations of 3 front-page wars. It’s more like, “Yeah, you got that Einst├╝rzende Neubauten tattoo 10 years ago but when I saw them play at EXIT, you were still in diapers.” 

When I was their age I didn’t want to relive another generation’s greatest hits. In my day sonny, I wanted the absolute fringes of novelty. It seemed to be a decades long wave of Now and I don’t know where the grey snuck in. And I suppose I was on the front lines of protests against the first Gulf War, though no one wants to hear about that. Its popthamology that is persistent. I saw REM when Michael Stipe had long hair. Really. 

I slipped off the pop wave years ago to explore alleys of ethnographic and avant-garde purity. You have to blaze your own trail. Oh, and Jazz. Every fart used-to-be hipster has their jazz. So I don’t have a clue whats on the radio now. (Is there still radio? Marianne will know.) But it’s satisfying to know that twenty-somethings take an interest in the soundtrack of my twenty-sometimes. Meanwhile David Bowie belongs in a museum now. Literally!!! We have tickets to see the exhibit next week.

That’s no coincidence. Lately I’ve wandered back out of the alleys and am revisiting the greatest hits of my prime. Much of my demographic is surely doing the same. Look for more and more relics of late-stage baby boomage to flood the high and low markets. Look for stadium acts to be franchised like Australian Pink Floyd. Weird mash-ups of Andrew Lloyd Weber and the Sex Pistols? Already happened.

One thing that is worrying about being an aging culture consumer is that we can keep winding the clock backwards until we are insufferable. Along with the music of my college days, I’m revisiting the comic books of my teens, the tv shows of my tweens (we didn’t have that word in the 70s) and so on back to infancy. Is that what getting old will be like? When I’m seventy will I be pulling the binky out of some grandkid’s maw and letting them know I teethed on rawhide? I hope so. Frighten the little ones so they’ll make a better world.

But as I was saying. Um. (I get the forgets sometime). Everything is being served back to us. It can be beautiful. A new mom we know posted after xmas about watching Adam West’s Batman for the first time. That show is now guaranteed another couple of generations of pop brilliance. We are in a golden moment where we have access to almost everything. (Except justice and peace?) The door may slam shut when the Barons figure out a better turn-style and raise the rent on our past. But until then I am privileged that I can google proof that my generation was cooler than yours. I was there when it stank of tobacco and originality. That gum you like is back in style. And the toys I desperately wanted when I was 5 years old had better commercials than any shite on the shelfs now.