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6 September 2010

ATP Festival & Large People Crowdsufing: Some thoughts on 90s nostalgia

I remember the underground pop culture of the 90s. Indeed, I prefer to think of that time as an archive now — albeit one consigned to a series of digital files, not actual libraries. This recent Twitter stream from my friend Brandon serves as a good encapsulation. (I joked to him that his feed could be nicknamed Shit My Dad Says: 90s Alt-Rock Edition.) Or you can visit YouTube, a trove of nostalgia that brings you closer to the source of what it was really like:

This weekend’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, which I’ll admit I (regrettably!) attended only Saturday felt more like a living library curated by none other than 90s icon Jim Jarmusch. There’s advantages to the live part well enumerated in the article links embedded in this sentence. And there are disadvantages only hinted at in the brief half-life of a Twitter hashtag.

Catching up with the 90s, though, is not why I usually go to rock festivals. For example, I go to Coachella to discover what the 16 year olds are wearing these days.

By contrast, my ATP weekend at times felt like an opportunity to see 35-year olds still wearing what they did when they were 16. When I go to Coachella, I have to tolerate Paris Hilton and David Hasselhoff in the not-so-VIP area. When I go to ATP, I cross my fingers that I’ll bump into Bill Murray walking amidst the crowd, gearing up to host karaoke.

What is the moral to this story? As with most things there isn’t one. Unless it’s that some library denizens end up as scholars.

There’s wonder in that. But note, also, the relative body mass index of student (Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham) to teacher (Iggy Pop from The Stooges). Which brings up a second, less inspiring moral: Which is that thirtysomethings that have put on a few pounds since their 90’s prime should no longer attempt to crowd surf to the Breeders. Because their fellow thirtysomethings no longer have the upper body strength to hold them aloft.

He fell with a thunk. Last splash, indeed!

(Photos with borders by Natalie Johns of Dig for Fire from ATP. Borderless photos by me from Coachella.)

Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis

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