I'm not even going to try to define Indie in a way that will make everyone happy. Go check out Urban Dictionary. They're having a great time over there with the term.
For me Indie does have a particular meaning, and it's not a nice meaning. For me indie represents all those cool kids that I was never quite cool enough to hang with. They were yet another group from which I could experience rejection. I never quite got the look down, or listened to obscure enough music. I remember my friend R making fun of me because I had a Bush album. And there was always something just a tad off about me. I didn't quite hammer the look down. I always looked like a poseur or a wannabe even though I just really wanted to hang out with people who saw the world in a slightly funkier shade like I did.
And oh those indie girls. I alternated between hating them and having the hots for them. They were so beautiful. In fact, I always thought that they were the ones who would have been cheerleaders in the right context. They had the same look and attitude only indie. You know cool. They went to all the shows, listened to the right bands, dated the guys with the horn rimmed glasses, wore the right clothes, had the right hair. I remember one friend telling me how weird it was to be suddenly hot after years of being ignored. And that's what it seemed like. By the time I got to the indie scene, you already couldn't be fat, and needed to have that creamy skin zit free all accomplished a la natural.
But now at the age of 35 nearly 36, it seems I've suddenly hit it. The indie kids in my classes all want to hang out with me. They're asking my advice about music. I listen to bands that no one else has heard of. I say "show" instead of concert. When inviting a friend to a show I said "This guy writes these quirky lyrics set to discordant melodies." Whoa! I seem to wear the right clothes or am at least unapologetic enough to not care anymore. And I'm riding the fat is trendy wave. Who would've ever guessed?
And I also realized that I'm also riding the indie wave in terms of writing. And for me this is the coolest. This is where Indie stopped being a scene for me and started being about a really revolutionary way to live life. Yesterday H showed me this video on pitchfork which involved Oliver (my love...sigh...) giving a tour of Death by Audio, his company. It was gross! I mean dirty gross. Dirty dishes, couches, etc. There were couches everywhere too...and just all these people mingling around. It was kind of neat, in a dirty way. This was not what I imagined as the "rock star" life. But these guys aren't rock stars really. They're on an obscure label, they don't have the high production of the major labels bands, and they defintely don't have the money. I realized that this is what I imagined indie being my whole life. Lots of people just doing something they love. None of these people are making shit for money. And yeah some of them are hangers ons but who cares. They're all together doing this art stuff.
Driving to school, I realized that not only had I arrived at an indie moment in my coolness factor but that I was on my way to becoming an indie writer. I realized that I get a lot of satisfactions writing here. I like it even more that I have an audience. It doesn't matter that it's a small audience. I'm writing what I wish with only the editorial commentary from my readers. This is part of indie writing I think. Just as are the small presses, and the writers publishing on them for nothing. We're creating for the sheer love of creating. And we've created a community around our art.
Maybe I'll publish my memoirs after all...