Sunday, January 23, 2011

Revolution is of all times and ages and there's a new one coming

If I had been granted unlimited internet access, lived in Olympia or in a sleepy UK town and a little bit older and had the right friends (absolutely nothing wrong with the friends I had, they lacked the exact same things I lacked), I probably was a riot grrrl in the early nineties loving all the riot grrrl bands playing it right at that time. I probably wouldn't have been able to see them play, I'm not even sure how I would even know about them, being a teenage girl in Rotterdam, the Netherlands who's friends were into Metallica and Dream Theatre and (later on) Nirvana. I would have had to rely on mixtapes from America. I had none. But without all that I think, looking back, I might have been one all along and ever since. Because, it's not a music genre, it's a social subculture. This is pretty much what it was and what it still is. It's not death, it never was. A movement can be small and pushed back by male dominance and the media (which could be regarded the same thing).

I've always loved music more than the average person (except a few years after Doe Maar broke up, I must have been that upset that I shut down from music altogether and when I saw a poster of ballet shoes in the room of a friend I thought 'So, this must be this Spandau Ballet everyone is all about.' No shit.), listening to the lyrics of one of the Doe Maar albums I seriously questioned why my mother would let a 6-year-old listen to that, it's Dutch so I understood every word, I just didn't know what they meant. But I'm grateful today and my mother told me she let me have the albums as she found them educational for me. I enjoyed playing DJ in my room, made re-mixes of my favourite songs with my records and a tape recorded, made hit lists, made my own music magazine, wrote my own reviews, even about albums that didn't exist. My music evolution knows some questionable choices but you got to know your enemy before forming an opinion right (coughs)? And one Easter break I sat with my sister in a caravan and we talked about forming a band together. I wrote down some lyrics and we both were content with them. The idea of forming a band together returned a couple of times in our lives. I own a guitar, an electric guitar, a ukulele (a green one and it's the coolest you'll ever see). I've played drums on a friend's kit back in high school to which he informed me I was the best player of everyone there (I at least knew how to hold the sticks). I wanted to be a harmonica player and owned a few cheap ones (much to the stress of my parents). My aunt actually gave me her guitar when I was about 14. I've always been aware of the politics of our country, I've always questioned the role of women in this world, I'm a socialist ever since I was able to vote (and probably before as well), every job test I made in school said I should be a social worker (not regarding I'm really socially awkward and don't trust people that much. If you're my friend consider yourself lucky), I've been called a true punk throughout my life without seeing myself as one ('I don't have the looks!'), and if I do something on a regular basis it's kicking against society. In the comfort of my own home.

Why on earth did I never form that band you say? There's one very good reason and it's not even my voice (I auditioned for a band once and let's say my friends were not impressed though they never told me directly). I have the music ability of a penguin. Place a penguin at the carnival in Rio and it will dance as hopelessly I will. A penguin has just as much chance to play a decent chord on a guitar with its wings than I have with my hands. I often do not sing at concerts because I don't want to insult the band. Usually the only person who can hear me sing is myself and that's enough to put me off. I may have all the inspiration and intentions to be in the best punk band you've ever seen but, to use the wise words of Joost Belifante about violist in my own situation; I'm a trans-musician. A musician in the body of a total none-musician. It sucks doesn't it?

There are others things I could do. Yesterday when I saw the Socialist Party handing out their newspaper for the States Election this March I approached one of them and he happened to be the chairman of the division where I live. If they needed some helping hands. I have no idea if I'm able to do it, if I can get out of the comfort zone of sitting on my couch with my laptop and being utterly passive aggressive behind a screen, ranting about music, politics and social atrocities in a blog and on twitter. I feel a revolution happening. And who knows, I might dis my inner penguin and play protest songs for real. I'm not too old. No one is too old. As Ernst Jansz told me "It's entirely up to you".