googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Underground Underground

The Underground Underground

In the Sixties there was something called "The Underground". The term didn't refer to the London subway system which was also called The Underground but to a style of art, music, film and literature that was popular with a certain group of bohemians but relatively unknown to the general public. It went unknown for a very good reason, the public thought that it was either subversive in some way or just plain bad, or both.

Underground art and music was only underground until it became popular, made money and became "establishment", also considered as "selling out" to its previous fans. This early stage of art and music development was very exciting as people would actively seek out new artists and new, unknown bands specifically because they were new and unknown. Once a band that had been considered underground and hip became well known, such as the Beatles post Cavern Club, the original crowd that promoted them felt betrayed by their success and usually would disavow them. The thrill of it all for the original fans was in the discovery of new talent thus the "underground" was a very important aspect of record company A & R activities.

If there is an underground around and active these days I'm probably too old and un-hip to know about it. It doesn't seem to exist as there just doesn't seem to be any breakout stars these days. A "scene" from which the stars of yesterday usually emerged isn't as common an occurrence as they once were. The biggest stars in music of the past twenty years have come from Disney as Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears all were child performers on the Mickey Mouse Club TV Show. Disney was the last great "underground scene"?! No way!

If there is an underground today it must be taking place on the Internet. Viral video sensations such as Psy are having their hits broken via Youtube but there hasn't been any unified scene on the Internet at all. A "Viral Video Internet Sensation" can be as varied as "Dramatic Look Gopher" and "The Obama Girl". There is no "scene" happening through the Internet unless you call Flash Mobs or "Vadering Photos" a cultural phenomena.

It may be the lack of clubs, actual physical locations where flesh and blood people can congregate, that is causing the lack of pop culture scenes or an underground these days. When people just stay home to log on to their Internet gaming or their Facebook account, nothing really happens. The "social networking" they think they're doing is merely an illusion and just as "Internet dating" (not meeting people in person but only online) will not lead to the birth of a new generation, this Internet community also cannot contribute to the birth of a new pop culture trend. At least not one that ever spreads past the web sites and into the cultural depots of the "real world" such as television, movies, radio, magazines and newspapers. Or maybe I'm just too old and un-hip to know about it.

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