Looking back over the last century, it’s astounding to see the vast range of different and varied groups and styles that found a home in the hearts of the dispossessed youth of previous generations.
In the 1960s the beats donned their black berets and let their hearts bleed through their mouths in the form of poetry protesting the mainstream, while hippies frolicked in fields with peace and love in their souls and flowers in their hair.
The 1970s saw the uprising of a new breed called the punks. Angry, irreverent and sporting more leather than a field of cows, these antipathetic anarchists influenced countless bands from Joy Division to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and in doing so changed the music industry forever.
Goth was the counterculture of the day in the 1980s, as youths studiously avoided the intake of melanin and rimmed their eyes with the darkest of kohl. This was one of the most visually stunning countercultures and also one of the most musically interesting, spawning bands such as Siouxie and The Banshees, Bauhaus and perhaps most notably The Cure.
You might well ask why I’m waxing philosophical about the subcultures of generations gone by. The answer is simple: I’m in mourning. I look around at our generation and I see almost a complete lack of any individuality whatsoever. It would appear creativity and originality are dead.
The countercultures of decades past are examples of political awareness, artistic merit and passion on the part of their partakers. People who lived through them remember them as extraordinary experiences.
I doubt very much anyone will look back on 2013 and exclaim, wistfully, “oh that I could have been part of the internet generation, when Facebook reigned supreme and the creative outlet de jour was memegenerator.net”.
I’m not entirely sure why or how our generation missed the “counterculture” memo, perhaps it was to do with the omnipresence of the internet, or maybe the fact that, having grown up as cubs of the Celtic Tiger, we didn’t think we had much to rail against. Whatever the reason, the outcome is not good.
Hipsters in beanie hats and tight pants have become de rigueur, and that, in my opinion, should be impetus enough for us all to rebel.