It’s late. I am sitting by myself away from the incredibly loud sounds in the other room. The place is full of young, hip people. I feel like a chaperone at a high school dance.
I’m at a festival of avant garde music and new media because my middle son – he’s the musician – said I should come. He’s not here, just me – and lots of folks in skinny jeans.
I’m not sure if it’s my age, or that I’m not avant garde enough, but I wasn’t really digging the guy who was dragging microphones covered in rags across the floor while wearing a gas mask. That’s when I retreated for quieter ground.
I do see one or two others who could be approximately my age. We nod as we pass, like secret agents in an eastern European train station. It would be totally un-cool to actually engage – “hey, you look too old to be here too!”
I was excited, and still am, gas mask notwithstanding, to come to a weekend like this. Out of my comfort zone, and past my bedtime. So far none of what I’ve seen or heard is easy to understand. Each artist is pushing a boundary, a convention, an assumption. My mind can’t just run on autopilot. I am forced to think, to discern, and even consider what I am experiencing from their point of view.
This is about both appreciation and education. It’s not so much ‘what to think’, but rather ‘how to think’. I don’t understand German Electronica, but the very act of trying seems a worthy exercise.
The last act of the night is some DJ from LA. I ditch. No point hanging around. The guy’s way too mainstream.