Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Last night, I watched Hype, the 1996 Doug Pray-directed documentary about Seattle’s Grunge phenomenon; what struck me most wasn’t how long ago the “movement” occurred (two decades goes by fast), but how long ago the retrospective was; the film came out in 1996; I would have guessed 2000 at the earliest. What this tells me is that even looking back is getting farther away; now I can look back on looking back and be nostalgic about looking-back.

To put it another way, it’s one thing to be old, but it’s another to be so old that you were old even when you were young.

Or something like that.

The film chronicles the years from about 1986 or so, when the sound that became grunge first started emerging from Pacific Northwest until April 10, 1994, when Kurt Cobain committed suicide, essentially marking the end of the era. Jen and I were in Seattle that day; we had come out from Minneapolis so I could visit the Philosophy graduate program at the UW, which I began attending the following fall quarter.

What became apparent that afternoon was that once again, I had missed arriving in a town in time to take part in (or at least be a witness to) the hot musical movement of the moment.

Jen and I had moved to Minneapolis, for example, in 1989, effectively missing the “Minneapolis sound” of bands like the Replacements and Soul Asylum by about a year and a half.

Prior to that, I lived in LA from 1981 to 1984, too early for the great heavy-metal hairdo bands of the age, too late really to be part of the punk scene that produced bands like the Minutemen and the Germs.

And then, of course, there were those years in San Francisco in the late 1970s, well after the hippie explosion ten years earlier.

I’m not sure what I’m missing right now, but if history is any guide, it’s gonna be big!


Post a Comment

<< Home