This is Hardcore!

Culture is a complex system that is not understood by most people. This is particularly the case if self-declared observers are not part of the culture that they try to observe. This happened to Graffiti and Punk Rock, it happens to Snowboarding and Skateboarding (interestingly inline skaters never managed to develop some kind of culture around their sport), and it happens to Hooligans and Rave-Hippies. From the perspective of social sciences, youth culture is probably one of the most complex phenomena of western societies. Simple explanation schemes does not work, simple grouping via general forms of expression won't do the trick, either. This is, however, what mass-media frequently tries - therefore I wonder if those journalists who write about youth in large newspapers and magazines are either extremely stupid, boring, or - for that matter - made no cultural experiences in their youth. Certainly, I am not an expert of youth culture but I did some research and collected loads of experiences. Somehow, I feel like adding "when I was young" to the end of the last sentence, but then I always remember one of my favorite 7Seconds songs and then "when I was young" turns into a meaningless phrase.

When I am writing about 7Seconds then I am right in the middle of the trouble I have with mass-media's reception of youth and youth culture. In particular with distinguishing groups and cultures. For example the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard confused recently hooligans, skinheads, neo-nazis and hardcore punkers. Of course, there are overlaps between these groups, but these groups overlap with Sprayers, HipHoppers, Technoheads and most other groups of young people as well. But when one writes about football and riots then hooligans are the only topic - and not hardcores or punkers. The differences between these groups are way too big - or to put it differently: the average techno-hippie who spends the weekends in disco-containers has more in common with the average hooligan than a hooligan has with a "member" of any other youth culture.

Compared to hooligans, hardcore is an urban youth culture with its roots in the punk movement and the rude-boy skinhead scene. Hardcore is probably one of the early expressions of wasted youth. It was and it still is not so much a middle class movement as the hooligans or techno people are. Of course hardcore is aggressive, but at the same time it reflects and responds to society and its own culture in an extreme way and this reflexive element of hardcore must not be confused with what has been recently called generation f*cked. To a certain extend hardcore is the continuation of those elements of punk rock that were of no use for the bohemian culture of the "great rock and roll swindle".

By taking all this into account, one can see that hardcore affects pop culture (as it can be found in quotes of David Holmes and the Beasty Boys). An effect of all this is that hardcore was never black or white, but loaded with urban energy with all its variety. A good example for this are the Bad Brains and the Dead Kennedies who had a huge impact on hardcore in the past and today.

In this context, the problem with mass-media is that most journalists of the genre "daily news" lack of reflexive competence and act more like those hooligans they make fun of.

If you wonder why I wrote this article, please go ahead and visit the Bad Brains article on supertouch. Reading about HR's madness and the style of Bad Brains 19 years after I saw them live on stage, inspired me to write this article.