As promised, some further thoughts on Reihan Salam’s “The Hipster Depression”. The first thing that struck me about the piece was that, despite its initial reference to Ian Svenonius’s “Rock, Real Estate, and Alan Greenspan”, Salam’s piece also works as an irreverent companion to Richard Florida’s recent Atlantic cover story on the recession’s effects on American geography. His theory — that the recession will lead to a significant increase in the amount of numerically large bands — seems tailor-made for a Might magazine revival; not a bad thing at all.
It’s the last line of the piece, though, that gives me pause:
…we can at least be sure that the dingy bars and nightclubs that keep outsider music alive won’t be turned into condominiums any time soon.
Maybe not condos per se, no. But there’s a key question that comes to mind — whether Salam’s talking about actual venues (which seem to me to be in a constant state of flux) versus the overall number of venues (which does not). It’s occasionally unsettling to realize that most of the venues at which I saw live music a decade ago are either closed or no longer hosting live music; at the same time, though, new venues do seem to be constantly opening, at least around these parts.
*-as a quick aside, it’s weirdly disconcerting to see a piece on SXSW written for an audience that isn’t automatically familiar with the festival and all that it connotes. It’s an experience not unlike the one I just had reading Jami Attenberg‘s The Kept Man, which has as its primary setting the North Brooklyn of a year or two ago, and thus occasionally caused me to mentally backtrack, trying to figure out whether the setting of a particular scene was, in fact, somewhere I frequent. (Also, as it should be said: The Kept Man is quite good.)