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Schopenhauer, dancing, hipsters and self analysis.

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Schopenhauer, dancing, hipsters and self analysis.

Andrew Ryan

Back in the days when I would regularly attend live music shows, I noticed a phenomenon that was more pronounced among indie gigs than any other genre of the music scene: a complete lack of dancing, despite the audible beat that should enable one to do so quite successfully. On more than one occasion, I have heard the laments of others more willing to throw caution to the wind and do a jig; “Why the fuck don’t these boring indie dicks dance?” Well friends, let me explain.

The definition of an indie kid is a hard one to describe at present. The lines between independent music (under which the fashion stylings evidenced by this genre’s fans can also fall) and mainstream have been heavily blurred in the last few years. Generally, the term is used to describe the style of music that was first associated with the do-it-yourself, independent means of production, bands like Hüsker Dü, Pixies, and Pavement. But then bands started to develop sub-genres like indie-pop, indie-dance-rock etc, and as with an artistic movement, things started to evolve so that “indie” was no longer specialized enough to appeal to those with an intellectual passion for new and fascinating music styles, and began to make its way onto commercial radio stations, and then the iconic fashion pieces made their way into Target and K-mart, and history was repeated, the same has it has been ever since the punk happened.

The kind of people who used to be called “indie kids”, would now most likely be described as “hipsters”. The difference is that hipsters do not admit to being hipsters (although they will quickly ascribe the term, which is vaguely negative in connotation, to people who have similar hobbies, interests, tastes and fashion styles to themselves) due to an unwillingness to acknowledge that they are not the most original, intelligent and fascinating human being on the planet at that moment, and cannot see themselves belonging to a certain crowd/scene/genre; whereas indie kids were pleased to be involved in a fresh, exciting scene full of hope and promise for the state of the music industry blah blah blah.

So given this evolution in youth culture over the last 10 years, let us now look at the base nature of people. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was one of the first to hypothesize that all human beings are inherently driven by the compulsion to stay alive and reproduce. This theory, “Wille zum Leben, or, The Will to Life, describes why people do anything we choose to do with our time, minds and bodies; we just want to get laid HELLZ BAD. Every action can be interpreted as a kind of mating ritual, we’re all desperately trying to attract that type of person that we unconsciously believe will be best suited to being baby-mamma or baby-daddy. Let’s just forget for now that this theory has no reasoning for homosexuality, okay? Okay.

So, going out to a bar to pick up is very, very common all over the world. Dancing is a very, very common means of actively displaying you’re up for it. But amongst those interested in art and music, humans who frequent the average bar were probably the type who made our lives hell all through school, and the thought of mating with people like that make us sick. So we are drawn to each other, in a flurry of tight jeans, cutsey dresses, fashionable hair and well done makeup, to bars that cater to the music fan.

The desire to meet a mate is still very much there, but after years of being taunted by other kids, and time spent alone in one’s room, practicing guitar or painting while stoned, the social skills required for doing so is often lacking. Confidence is not at its peak for a 19 year old who just moved to the city from the suburbs, so while they may dress really, really well (thanks to a lot of mirror time and internet research), and attend the interesting music shows, they are easily intimidated by anyone they believe to have more confidence, and will often try to subtly mimic them. This amount of second guessing one’s self will inevitably lead to complete self absorption, so they won’t realize for a long time that the really cool guy over in the corner only just nodding his head to the lively, energetic, really fun band playing on stage is just as shy and socially retarded as they are. He’s just as scared of jumping around and making a dick of himself in front of everyone else as they are, because he too hasn’t yet figured out what he looks like when he’s not standing still in front of the mirror.

This is one theory as to why they don’t dance. The desire to be cool is still an important factor in most teenagers’, and incredibly, 20 somethings’ lives, and it is only with time, and indeed the right influence, that they will discover that fiery passion is much more interesting and satisfying than icy coolness. But at the same time, it is a great source of amusement, especially if you can dance really, really well, and you can see them trying not to make it obvious they’re looking at you, but are studying the moves, and next time you see them out somewhere, they trying to pull the same moves. Bless.