For whatever reason you aren’t cool unless you are into something. And you aren’t into something unless you go deep into the catalog of that thing.
For instance, cool people into hip-hop don’t just listen to Jay-Z and Kanye, and cool people into comedy don’t just watch Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan, and cool people into philosophy don’t just read Plato and Nietzsche. Catch my drift?
I’ve never been that person.
My favorite bands as a kid were Metallica and Led Zeppelin and Hendrix. And even today I still mostly consume Coltrane and John Mayer and still Metallica, who am I trying to kid.
Even the obscure music I get into, like Andy Mckee and Antoine Dufour, is still the most mainstream of the genre.
I like art, but my heroes are all incredibly famous and incredibly dead, like Carl Andre and Picasso, Malevich.
I like to read, especially science fiction, but again I only touch on the big boys, PK Dick, Clarke, Verne, and Orwell. Other authors I like are almost all the biggest names in the field.
I don’t always like all of the big names, but the names I do like are almost always big.
I think I start to consume things the way that everyone else does. I start with big names I’ve heard of before. And then I move onto other big names I’ve heard until I can define what I like from the big names. Most people, from there, go on to find out what those big names were influenced by, and they check it out. I do that sometimes. But I almost never go beyond that step.
I had a philosophy when I was in high school, when I first started to really read books for pleasure, that I should start with classics, because I didn’t really know where to start. And I thought that when I finished all the classics I would move on to deeper cuts of what I enjoyed most. But the problem is, the “classics” section of literature is absolutely, dauntingly huge. I have yet to wade through it completely. Now I got hung up on a Vonnegut here and a Cormac McCarthy there, but I am still a ways off.
And I probably did a similar thing in music. Hey I like classic rock and metal and blues and jazz and singer/songwriter stuff so here are ten bands from each genre, enjoy. And while it is a little more expansive then that exactly, that pretty much describes my near 700 album collection.
For awhile I was into the local art scene, and while it was a great experience going to freshly opened installations and watching graffiti paint roll down the wall because it was so new, I couldn’t tell you a single one of those artists names now. It just doesn’t register with me.
I used to catch shit in high school and college for my musical tastes, especially from other musicians. I was never able to successfully navigate which popular bands it was cool to like and which it wasn’t. Or how long a band was cool for. The Beatles and Smashing Pumpkins were cool, but Dave Matthews and Pantera were played out. Or I got into Coheed and Cambria with their second album and they were really popular through four, but when five hit I was still down, but they were out.
I find it is a giant headache. Although, It isn’t nearly the big deal now that it was back then. I think those things tend to matter more in high school then in your 30’s. But I still surprise a lot of people by how little of things I am interested in I actually know.
I’m not sure what it is about me but I guess I am just uncool. That’s fine, I don’t mind.