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Rant #40
(published May 17, 2001)
I Have Precious Little Indie Cred
by Jason Michael

While I'm certainly not the hippest, coolest guy you'll ever meet, I've always prided myself on being fairly "with it." I could usually hold conversations with the indie kids without feeling like I was out of my league, or that I was some kind of poseur. But lately I've been noticing myself slipping. It's become painfully obvious to myself and those around me: I have precious little indie cred.

I showed such promise, early on. All through high school, I cultivated an air of snobbish detachment from my peers. I played bass guitar in a band, and we covered bands like The Pixies, Concrete Blonde, and Belly. Not indie bands, I know, but come on, it was 1992. For a 16 year old in the Midwest, that was about as close to indie as you could reasonably hope for, right? In college, I continued playing in a band. What's more, we played music that was extremely hard to dance to, a hallmark of indie music, in my understanding. I hung out at the Blind Pig with the rest of the scenesters and saw shitty local bands play shitty local music. Life was good.

Then about the time I graduated college, that fucking movie Good Will Hunting came out. I saw the movie with some friends, and afterwards was raving about the Elliott Smith song on the soundtrack, "Miss Misery," to some hipster friends. "Have you guys heard of this guy, Elliott Smith? He's really good!" For the first time in my life, I was the target of the well-known, easily identifiable "Indie Snort of Derision." It goes something like this: "Oh, is he, Jason? Is he really good? snort Shit, man . . . " It was later explained to me that my friends had, indeed, heard of Elliott Smith, several years previous, and that he was no longer considered cool. Dammit!

Since then, things have gone downhill for me and my indie cred. I missed most of the references in the movie High Fidelity. I've heard Le Tigre, but didn't like them. I went to see The Get Up Kids, and stood in the back of the auditorium because it was too loud for me. The Noisepop Festival came through my city, and I didn't make it out to a single show. My CD collection is a paltry 200 or so discs. What's more, there's some really embarrassing stuff in there: David Gray anyone? I do own Tigermilk, as well as all the other Belle and Sebastian albums, but they're all copies of friends' discs. I don't have them on vinyl, mostly because I hate the way vinyl sounds and therefore don't own a turntable. For fuck's sake, I don't own a fucking turntable!

There's nothing left to do but accept my fate. I think I'm going to curl up on the couch and put on a Live album. Nope, not even Mental Jewelry. That would be forgivable, sort of. No, I'm going to put on Throwing Copper, maybe even put "Lightning Crashes" on repeat. Yeah, it's that hopeless.

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