We at TBO decided a while ago that we were going to do a series on ‘show etiquette’ and the types of people you might find at your local punk rock show. This is a slight departure from that notion, but essentially, this article is about the elitist. You know who I mean. The cool guy who stands at the back, appreciating the band, but hating every other fan in the room. If we’re being honest now, depending upon what show I’m at, I am that guy.
Being elitist can be extremely fun. In a way, it’s fun because you actually know what you’re listening to and you’re not just there because your friends dragged you there or because you think the lead singer is highly attractive. Elitists aren’t really as dedicated as the fangirl, but they quietly own every single album that the band’s released in some form or another. They like to wear shirts featuring bands that the vast majority of the population has never even heard the name of. More often than not, the elitist owns vinyl. If you don’t own vinyl, you’re definitely not cool. For the ultimate in cool, I don’t even have a vinyl player and I own vinyl. There’s also that smug satisfaction of knowing that if you met the band, you would be totally chilled about it. You’d sit and talk music, being complimentary but not over the top. Maybe you’d get a picture with them, but you’d be cool about it. And no, the elitist would never put it as their Myspace picture, not at all.
There’s a few downsides to elitism as well. For a start, you can’t just lose it at a show and not care what everyone else thinks. After all, there’s a reputation to uphold. And sometimes, that can mean missing out on having as good a time as you might have liked, especially at a punk show. Another one is having your feelings of superiority clearly on show which definitely results in animosity. Of course, elitists shouldn’t give a shit, but really, in their heart of hearts that still listens to those first two My Chemical Romance albums, they do. Also, that music habit can be damn expensive. That one where you have to pick up everything on special order because the record store doesn’t stock the kind of music you like? After all, ordering from the internet… it just doesn’t beat that indie music store down the back alley now, does it?
However, elitism is still the preferable option to fangirlism. During my teenage years, I’ve probably gone through all of the different stages of fandom – ignorant poseur, casual listener, regular fan, obsessed fangirl, ashamed fangirl and then finally, to hip elitist. The fangirl angle definitely limits your credibility. First of all, it can be kind of creepy. No, excessively creepy. I’ve never been this bad, but you know those girls who own every Clandestine hoodie, probably have Fall Out Boy lyrics tattooed in some horribly visible place and have met the band four times through persistent waiting and hounding? Yeah, would you want to associate with them? It’s like that friend that finds a new favourite each week, instantly knows everything about them and won’t shut up about them at all. Not your favourite person. Secondly, fangirlism is so consuming. Looking up all those photos, learning all those lyrics purposefully, posting all those blogs and contributing to all those forums… before you know it, you have no life and your best friend is helenaxxloverxx666xxOMGGERARD from some bad MCR fanfic website. Thirdly, how many fangirls over the age of 16 do you know? Not many. It’s just not cool.
Of course, elitism isn’t something to be proud of. You’re snobby, hard to please and you probably irritate all the fangirls with your eye rolling. But goddamn, it feels good to be cool.