I do not know if it's a sign. I do not know if it portends things ugly and low, something related to aging and time, sadness and death, or if it's the exact reverse, and in fact illuminates some sort of higher truth, an enlightened and honest wisdom happily marinating for many years in dark rum and sultry chillout and classic Iron Maiden.
Nevertheless, I find myself at this weird juncture, a cultural snag wrapped in a conundrum shaped like a question mark dressed in scratchy raw Japanese selvedge and smoking American Spirits, glumly, in a grungy hoody, outside the bike shop, twitching just a little.
I find I am, in other words, at shockingly brutal odds with the expert hipster indie kids of this city and generation, the skinny jeans n' fedoras set, AKA Those in The Know. What to make of it?
Oh, it's not the first time. And I do not mind much. I am often here, in this very spot, completely comfortable with not at all caring a whit for the cute vagaries of indie hipsterdom, with its pallid skin and questionable sexual acumen and slumpy thirty-year-olds on skateboards. Angular sidebangs and cheap horn-rimmed glasses and a faraway stares into the near distance? Thank you, no.
But music? I'm there. I'm open. I'm down with almost anything except for reggae and maybe Euro zydeco techno, have happily had my musical sensibilities rescrambled and slapped anew a thousand times over by as many different groups, DJs, producers, styles, introduced to the innovative and the refreshing in almost all categories -- indie, dubstep, post-rock, crunk, chillwave, garagedubcrunksteptechwave -- and often been delighted at the results.
See, I'm utterly convinced music is one of the great barometers of the soul, the perfect analogy for one's fluidity of spirit. That is to say, the minute you lock it all down, settle too hard on your preferences and refuse to allow new musical possibilities, new bands and sounds and head bobbings into your personal transom, well, might as well hang it up and go watch Bill O'Reilly and listen to Helen Reddy on the transistor in Florida. You're done.
This is why I am slightly, momentarily troubled. For no matter how hard I try, no matter the volume or the environment, the mood or the alcohol consumption, my musical sensibilities simply refuse to enjoy the current gods of cool indie music, the greatest act known to all of modern hipsterdom next to Radiohead, the band known as The Arcade Fire.
Do you know of them? Have you heard? They are from Montreal. They have a ridiculously tall singer named Win and some members play uber-quirky, ironic instruments like the glockenspiel and the xylophone and even the hurdy-gurdy -- which I had to look up to see what it was -- and many appear to wear thrift-store clothes and sport appropriate indie-approved beards, making them look gangly and sexy and silly, all at once....
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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the SF Chronicle and SFGate. Get it at daringspectacle.com or Amazon. He recently wrote about those damnable Muslims, the wonderful hoax that is global warming, and the dark, magnificent horror of the BP spill. His website is markmorford.com. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...