Saturday, August 19, 2006

I'm back, conflict between one's personal preferences and one's political commitments rears it's head again, and some follow-up on an earlier post.
(I REALLY need to think of snappier titles)
Hello again to all and sorry for the prolonged absence. I've been in a crappy mood (suffering from a severe case of the work-related blues). However, my mood is now much improved, not least because I'm going to see my favourite band tomorrow. I honestly thought that I would never get the chance to see these guys live, which sucks since they're a notoriously great live band, so to say that I'm happy about this would be an understatement (but then I am a Brit and understatement is one of the things we do best). This is the band that I didn't get to see back in March, as a result of which my friends had to listen to me whining for months. So, I'm a happy girl, right? Just one problem. This means I have to spend the whole day with a bunch of American metal dudes.
See what I mean about the conflict? This seems to be an ongoing issue with me, and I can't help but wonder how many other people are in the same position. See, I love a lot of really loud, obnoxious music. When this means punk it's not too much of a problem, as other than the ever-present danger of getting crushed in the mosh pit most punk crowds are actually quite politically savvy and female friendly, or at least smart enought to know that being openly misogynistic is not kosher. Metal crowds are another matter entirely. The show I'm going to tomorrow is headlined by Korn. Oh dear.
I hate most American metal fans. I'm sorry, but I do. I once nearly punched someone at a Metallica show in Biloxi because he thought that it was cute to grab my breasts from behind me and squeeze in the middle of the show. I was barely 15 at the time, he was probably mid-twenties. The only reason I didn't hit him was because it occured to me that there was a very good chance he might actually punch me back. Little, 5ft2, 15 year old me. Aren't metal guys great?
So, tomorrow I get to see what is in my opinion the best band in the world right now, but the payoff is that I have to spend the day with a bunch of guys so unevolved that one often wonders if many of them were repeatedly dropped on their heads as infants. I've already seen footage of the earlier part of this tour taken by one of the minor bands, and it's a metal crowd alright - big fat hairy dudes in ancient tour shirts, drunk frat boys galore, and slutty-looking girls flashing their boobs at the bands. See how aggravated this makes me? I am normally the last person to ever use a word like "slutty", but in this case how else do you put it? I have never understood why women feel the need to flash at concerts. I can honestly say that I have never felt the slightest urge to show my breasts to either the band I'm watching or the crowd of random drunk dudes around me. Why do people do this, exactly? To me, watching them do it, it looks like an obeiscence, as if rather than waiting to be put in their place they're actually doing it to themselves. Why would anyone do that?
Then there's the CD signing, meet and greet part. I'd love to get some of my stuff signed, particularly given how rarely these guys (the band is Dir En Grey, in case anyone wonders what the hell I'm talking about. I'll put links at the bottom of the post) are in the US. However, because of the ever-present groupie phenomenon at metal shows, the atmosphere at meet and greets tends to be a bit wierd for a woman, particularly an attractive woman. In this case it's even wierder than usual as this is a very pretty band, with a huge female following back in Japan, so take the usual wierdness and add the fact that most women there are going to instinctively respond to the guys in the band in a flirtatious way, not because they're groupies, but because these are guys who you'd be flirting with if they were serving you coffee or fixing your car. I'm not quite sure how the metal dudes who're there to see Korn etc are going to respond to that, but I'm willing to bet it will be nasty. I'm almost tempted to wear the unsexiest thing I can find just to minimise the wierdness, but the show's in Sacramento, outdoors, and it's August - it's going to be hot as hell. So, either I have to just live with the wierdness and go to the meet and greet anyway, or I have to miss out on what is after all a fairly significant part of the whole going-to-see-a-band experience just because metal people in general are sexist idiots. This is something that has always annoyed me about going to shows, and I know I'm not the only one. Any other women come up with a good way to deal with this? Because I usually just end up quietly seething. Good thing there's going to be some loud, aggressive music there to get all that frustration out of my system!
It's wierd how often I run into this. All the things I love in a cultural sense (music, fashion, sports etc) seem to bring me into direct contact with people whom, in a political sense, I disagree with on almost every level. My love for these things also puts me in conflict with my natural political allies - seriously, can you imagine what would be said if I proclaimed my adoration for some loud, aggressive, creepy video-making, formerly cross-dressing Japanese metal band over at IBTP? It would make the BSDM debacle seem like a friendly conversation between dear friends. And I get this feeling all the time.
I guess I'm just musing/venting because this really is an ongoing thing where I feel like I'm constantly torn between the things that I naturally gravitate towards and what my political allies seem to expect of me. I'm not torn on a personal level - as far as I'm concerned I just like what I like, I'm wired to be drawn towards dark, disturbing things (talk to me about horror movies some time), and that's just the way I am. The conflict is between what I'm "supposed" to enjoy versus what I actually enjoy. I'm just not an Indigo Girls listening, baggy hemp clothes wearing kind of person, you know? The stuff I'm "supposed" to like bores me to death. Anyone else running into the same phenomenon? How are you dealing with it?

Dir En Grey Links follow...
Pics of show in Denver, Family Values Tour with Korn, Deftones etc (these pics are DEG only)
First page is the singer only for some reason, rest of the band are on the other pages

Umbrella mp3

Hydra mp3
file password is hydra - just enter "hydra" in space prompted and hit Enter key

R to the Core mp3


Increase Blue

Akuro No Oka