This summer has been a little lazy for me.
Not that I haven’t been active going to shows and playing some every now and then, writing some music and listening to a lot, and busy trying to read and understand William Faulkner, but being home for more than a couple of weeks seems almost foreign to me.
The past four years of my life have been spent gallivanting across the globe and reminiscing about the home that I so longed for. Now, I am finally in the place that I couldn’t stop thinking about all those times and I feel eerily… normal. I always thought it was a strange scenario to be constantly leaving and returning, but now after living a “normal” life for a summer, I feel a need to reevaluate. And that need to reevaluate led me to writing the foreword for a soon-to-be-published fanzine I am working on titled “Constant Constraints,” (featuring interviews with Cold World, Intent, and Freedom, out soon) which, in turn, led me writing more here.
The situations and ideas we sometimes brand as “normal” can change over time. Our favorite childhood movie may not exactly hold up with time. Maybe it’s just my 20-something idiocy, but I always thought everything I liked would always stay the same. I’m slowly learning that’s not the case. And for me, the most important thing is music.
Growing up, the place that I felt most comfortable in was at shows. I felt liberated from the cliques at school and the pressures of fitting in. I thought that everyone there was rebelling against society and standing up for what they believed in. Now, 10 years later, I realize that some people are like that. And quite frankly, some people aren’t.
My thoughts have changed over the years. I’ve come to terms that people may not see the good I see in music and shows. And as hard as it is to say it, that’s fine. It’s fine because I still find the good in it. I used to believe that punk and hardcore was a utopian world where nothing bad could happen. I still think that to a degree, but it’s clearly impossible that people going to shows won’t have the same problems the rest of the world have. Some people have had music tainted by the same issues I had within the social constructs of school: exclusiveness, violence, and judgment. It seems that no matter where we go, we run into the same issues.
This is not me standing on a high horse saying that the underground music scene in Wilkes-Barre is perfect regardless of its flaws. This is also not me saying that nothing is worth caring about because it is inherently flawed. This is me saying that I find it important enough to work to not only change those flaws, but work towards those initial ideals I am still passionate about.
Punk and hardcore is not for everyone, but that doesn’t make it an exclusive community. If you are afraid of loud noises and don’t like getting uncomfortably sweaty, maybe this isn’t the place for you. I can list off countless reasons why I think it is important, but what matters is what you deem important. There are an infinite amount of possibilities regarding why one might find themselves at a show, and there are just as many reasons as to why people wouldn’t. I just hope that, like myself, someone would reevaluate that position and give their local scene another shot. In the words of United Youth, “make way for change.”