Le Scarabée
Masquer la pub

Bam Bam Bam Bam

par Eric Cotte
mise en ligne : 21 September 1998
Traduction : Toum toum toum toum

Young people like techno. Webmasters like techno. Leftwing people like techno... well, I must be a rightwing old fart.

I’ve been wanting to write about techno music for a while, but I was waiting for the best possible time: the Techno Parade in Paris is the perfect occasion to tell you about what I did last summer.

Last summer, I made a big decision; I decided to stop being an old fart. You’re going to say that it’s not something about which you have any sort of choice, and that if I’m a 28 year-old old fart, I’m stuck and I’d better get used to it. Nah, this situation has lasted way too long. From now on, I’m going to do everything I can to avoid having children throw stones at me: first, I’m going to upgrade from old fart to young dork.

I started being an old fart when I was 16: when hip hop arrived, I didn’t understand a thing about it. People acting like bad boys, screaming insane lyrics over some bad music, dressed in sportswear like they’re in a football team or something, I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand that it was a street culture, suburban poetry, the expression of a revolt, words of wisdom coming from da ghetto... Well, if it helps the elderly owners of record companies to buy themselves another 20 year old wife, sure, why not? So, I was already thinking like an old person before I even got to be an adolescent.

And now, it’s happening again with techno music. They say it’s a culture, a lifestyle, a philosophy and all... But boy do I hate that. It’s even worse than hip hop for me, because there are actually things that I like in hip hop: Beastie Boys, Rage against the machine, things like that. But it’s different with techno, I just can’t bear it. And the fact that it’s trendy to be into techno doesn’t help one bit.

But don’t misquote me, I don’t have anything against techno lovers, I’m not close minded. The problem is me: it bugs me not to understand.

So, last summer, I decided to give it a good try. I wanted to understand, become a cool webmaster who listens to techno, and ask for liberalization of cryptography.

For the last few months, my tuner has been set on some techno radio stations. 24 hours a day, in my car, at home, when I go to bed, when I eat, when I work, it’s techno, techno, techno. I should get used to it with that kind of experiment.

Well, I nearly succeeded. I don’t hate it anymore (except in the morning, when I wake up, it’s just not possible), but I’m not saying that I like it either.

So, when I reached the point where I could bear it (it took about a month, though), I started experimenting with techno in moments in daily life when music is vital.

Techno and dance. Well, although I don’t look like it, I love dancing. James Brown is like my brother. Baby baby baby, hop hop, I got the feeling, hop, I swing my hips, hop, sex machine, hop, I slide, hop, papa’s got a brand new bag, hop, hop, I’m the king of the dance floor. So I tried mixing techno and dance. I drove to Amsterdam (to learn how to smoke tulips first) dressed like a killer, and I visited the local dance clubs. There, they have hardcore stuff, 200 beats per minute. You lift a foot and you’re already 3 beats late. The best you can do is mimic an epilepsy crisis.

Techno and drugs. One of the uses of music is to help bear with drugs. It’s just too sad to trip without music. Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley help make joints really tripping. Janis Joplin gives you an hour as good as an ejaculation. Ziggy Stardust takes you into science fiction, with his spiders. Since I’m not too much into medicine, I didn’t try the pills that usually go with techno. I just stuck to good biologically sane pot. Well, mixing techno and joints didn’t work so well. I threw up. My head in the sink, and the whole meal slipped out. Techno and drugs don’t mix for me (and if I have to choose, I’d rather stop techno).

Techno and seduction. Music is important to help get a girl: Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye make me so horny. So I went to those big Parisian techno places, like "le Queen", "le Comptoir", and the "Banana Cafe" to try my seduction powers. I wasn’t warned, but boy, there aren’t that many girls in there. Oh well, I started prancing around and I can tell you that it worked pretty well: I could feel sensual touches on the part of my body that’s the most round. Too bad I feel nothing for young males in tight purple shorts.

But I wasn’t willing to give up yet: since I had chosen the wrong place, I couldn’t blame techno for my failure in seducing a girl. So I went to a huge outdoor rave to see if I could mix seduction and beats per minute. Well, it’s pretty cold: it’s not easy to seduce people wearing a big warm jacket. I went to a cute blonde: "do you live with your parents?" She answers "what?"; "you want to drink something?", to which she answers "what are you saying?". I insist "you’re really a cutie", to which she replies "no, no, I don’t think it’s going to rain". After trying that 10 times, nearly voice-less from trying to shout over the music, I had to give up. Impossible to seduce anybody with techno.

Techno and sex. Well, having failed the previous stage of my experiment, I couldn’t try this one. But I don’t think it could be any good. With Percy Sledge I’m sensual, with Gary Moore I finger like a god, with salsa I’m playful, with reggae I nearly dance in bed, but I fear that 180 beats per minute would make the act of making love look more like using a power drill.

Techno and traffic jams. Like anybody living in a big city, I waste an awful lot of hours in my car. To unwind, I like to listen to Metallica’s "Master of Puppets". With techno music, I lose it: I always feel like someone is continually honking behind me. And when I reach for me revolver to blow up that fucker’s head, I realize that the noise was coming from the music.

Techno and depression. What feels better than depression? I like this feeling of fristration; anger, and powerlessness. It’s nice to sink straight into that feeling of uselessness of existence for a few hours every week. The deal is to keep that from happening too much, though. In those moments, I like to listen to Oum Camsoum; Noir Desir, Nick Cave... But with techno, I stay on the surface of things, and even when I try going on a trance it’’ nothing like a good sinking feeling. With techno, I don’t get depressed, I get bored.

Techno and feeling like the master of the universe. Whereas I like to feel like shit sometimes (see previous lines), I like to feel like I’m in charge, like I have total control over my life, serenity and force, calm and power. I like Philip Glass’s "Akhnaten", Mahler, Beethoven, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Techno just brings me back to everyday life with its endless repetition. With techno, I’m not the master of the universe, I’m just another dork listening to techno.

In the end, in spite of a series of expeiments (scientifically rigorous ones, too), I still dislike techno. The worst, in reality, is that it doesn’t bring me any sort of emotion, no urge to scream for joy, no Angst, no sadness, nothing. I’m willing to admit that I’m missing something, that a whole culture is passing me by, but I’ll have to stay the way I am, an old fart. And I’m losing my hair too.

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