Still, the caffeine consumption has continued to rise, there's snow blowing outside, I'm digging through piles of 1980's local newspapers full of strange ads and figures from a different time... Rick James, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Tawana Brawley, World B. Free, a Cavs team with Mark Price and Brad Daugherty, vaguely remembered names and faces from my toddlerhood, now-disgraced Clevelandia politicians.
But last night, my neighbor and another college radio DJ was in the mood for a mini roadtrip and some live tuneage and so we ended up driving out to Oberlin to see Cult of Youth, pondering punk rock and politics on the drive there and finding it supremely ironic that a neofolk band was booked by the college to play in their student union within a week of certain, well, incidents.
Oberlin's got a fascinating history and aesthetically it's a beautiful little college town. One of my friends from high school got married underneath the arch commemorating martyrs from the Boxer Rebellion, the village green is beautiful, the architecture lovely, the free art museum is quality. On the other hand, it sometimes feels a bit like a Portlandia episode in its overcompensating earnestness and general rich hippieness that reminds me of the targets of Camper Van Beethoven songs.
I learned from my previous roommate and her brother that black residents on the outskirts refer to the college itself as "the plantation," and the school itself has a secret list of people who aren't welcome, which makes me wonder if things aren't quite so kum-bay-yah to begin with. So while I think racism and other -isms are as bad as the next person who has any empathy, I find things like this a bit over-the-top, given the overanalyticalness and the presence of uber-helicopter parents. Most of us can point to something in our background that marginalizes us but sometimes this seems like firstworldposturing more than anything else. Those of us who live in craptastic neighborhoods and don't have rich parents and aren't hermetically sealed deal with these issues way more.
Part of this maybe has to do with working at a very racially and economically diverse place where we have to peel off National Alliance stickers from the black history books and deal with all sorts of clownery, and some people did get shot here a few years back by some neo-nazi freako who wanted to start a race war.
Still, most of these clowns want attention and making a big stink only gives them what they want and while I appreciate the ideals of The Kids, it's hard for me not to roll my eyes at the usual tropes of 1960s protest with the bongo drums and whatnot. Perhaps we Clevelandians are tougher? Or just not as enlightened? Who knows?
Anyways... neofolk. We've had the new record up at the station, and I've played a few cuts that I liked and didn't find any red-flag moments in the liner notes, and they don't seem to play that up as much as certain other parties, but my compadre told me that there were a lot of shaved heads at their last jaunt through our city and the songs translated to a live setting were definitely more punky, or shoegazing with dubby basslines and some stomp to it that I enjoyed. The girls in front of me seemed a little freaked out, it seemed like more people were there to be there than anything else but what do I know except I was feeling pretty damn old and like I'd walked into an H&M commercial. Still, sometimes it's nice to get out and be somewhere else.