INDIE KIDS/SMITHS TOPS/URBAN OUTFITTERS
So I’m with Zahra in Urban Outfitters and she points out a t-shirt that she says I’ll like… it reads “To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.” I’m then told that her friend, who I won’t name, doesn’t actually like The Smiths “but likes that song”, so bought it. Hold on. She wasted her money branding herself with a band she doesn’t actually like because she liked the song/top? Or the more likely event that she bought the t-shirt because she - like many other people - wants to be seen as indie and therefore cool? For one thing, indie is short for ’independent’; the independence of thought and actions, not subscribing to fashion trends and trying to be a part of something. Another thing is that there is nothing to be a part of anymore. The Smiths released that song in 1986 and as that was 25 years ago, the ‘indie’ scene is truly an old one. People don’t actually represent what they pretend to represent anymore. Even the ‘pretentious’ dressed students aren’t any way near pretentious. They don’t care about much, they just want to ‘talk’ on their blackberry, drink Starbucks and get a well-paid job for doing as little as they can. Nobody wants to change the world anymore and nobody is interested in taking a stand. That’s why we have enraged megaphone men calling people crazy at Oxford Street station.
What initially annoyed me is that The Smiths were meant to be a voice for the outsider and now people who have no idea what Morrissey was singing about will fly the flag of isolation without adhering to it. It used to be the pretension of typical Smiths fanatics that troubled me but now the pacification of their once profound meaning is proving to be worse. In fact, the entire shop is adorned with ’I’m-so-cool’ indie regalia. Trilby hats, Bob Dylan records, scrabble wrapping paper… if it passes for an ’alternative’ label it’ll be there. Funny thing is that hats are pointless unless it’s sunny/you’re a cowboy, that Bob Dylan record will only be bought because some kid saw it in Vanilla Sky and none of the shop’s customers would count playing scrabble as a great night in.
The Queen is Dead, and so is originality.