Excerpts from Easy Life #4, #5, #6!

Read on to find out some of the things we were bothered by in 1997...

A New Fashion Thing

by megan

*excerpted from EasyLife #5*

Because I started listening to ska and going to shows in the early 90's I have always considered myself a child of the 3rd wave. I have held the image of the Rudeboy/Rudegirl in respect but I know where my loyalties lie - if it wasn't for that first NYCitizens tape I would not be the ska fan I am today.

In the early 90's it seemed that people at shows fell into 1 of 3 camps:

  1. traditionals, rudies, skins, and generally people who'd been listening to and involved with ska for awhile
  2. newbies like me who had learned enough of ska culture to want to wear a skirt or suspenders but had no sense of the underlying history or style of the music and culture (yet)
  3. people ther for the music and not involved in any history/scene aspect (yes, you could do that back in the day)
While most people are now familiar with the traditional and skinhead styles (enough to try and emulate them) I think that people overlook that a new style was inadvertently being developed by us newbies - a style that was more garish and very definitely 3rd wave. Probably the best indicator of this is the Bosstones, who inspired an army of plaid wearing fans. I also think that this is where checkerboard came into the picture big time. We'd picked up the 2Tone collections nad responded to the simple geometric pattern which anyone could draw - a simple symbol for who we wanted to be. All the new kids at shows had to have something checkerboard - skirts, ties, shoes, suspenders, you name it...

We were obviously the new kids at shows, but I liked the diversity of style. It's something that I miss. Today the crowds all look the same as everyone tries to emulate old pictures and each other... Everyone's too scared to look different, afraid they'll be mocked for not being "traditional" or a "true fan", as though your outfit decided your musical taste, instead of just reflecting it.

Embrace individuality, I say, and recognize that there is another style of dress. Pleated skirts, checkerboard ties, band t-shirts, plaid designs, untucked shirts, converse sneakers - these are the true gear of the 3rd wave kids, and I think it's time that it's recognized as such. As long as people don't call themselves "rude" when they dress this way, it's a totally valid form of fashion for the 3rd wave - not as stylish as the first two, granted, but created by the fans in an effort to associate themselves with the music, and a lot of fun to wear

A Little Bit of Knowledge is A Dangerous Thing...

by megan

*reprinted from EasyLife #4*

People always talk about MTV or No Doubt fans destroying "the scene", but that's bull. The real threat to the feeling of belonging in ska comes from inside - from prima donna fashion fiends who got a little bit of history and too much of mom's money. I have been stuck next to these people one time too many - giggling girls and "too cool" guys, every one decked out to the nines. They can name the mental hospital Don Drummond died in and know where Orange Street got their name, but somehow they can't learn respect.

I've been on the receiving end enough times to know the rules at a show (any kind of show): don't push in front of someone who's obviously using the space to dance; if you hit someone by accident while dancing apologize and shift your position so you don't do it again; and don't yell "oi!" unless you're an honest to god skinhead.

Yet at every show these asses end up next to me, pulling their 20 friends along with them, pushing me to the side of the stage. Why? Because I'm nobody. I'm not in a band, I don't work at a record label, I'm not taking pictures. Apparantly it doesn't matter that we're sharing the same dance floor, or even the same air. To them, my lack of importance in "the scene" means that they don't have to have respect for me as a living, breathing, dancing human being.

Well I've had it. I'm tired of being pushed around by a mall chick who figured out where to buy a Fred Perry, or by guys looking for any 2-bit band member around to chat up so they can seem like they know what they're doing - like they're "someone".

Clothes don't mean anything. Who you know doesn't mean anything. All the trivia you know especially doesn't mean anything. The only thing that means anything is the music, and if that's not why you're at the show, then get the hell out of my way and let me dance.

I want to read more!