Monday, November 02, 2009

Young Americans

Well, the 2 Kolegas Halloween gig was all that I hoped it might be, and then some: all the bands on cracking form; and even the unknown quantity, YACHT, proved to be quite fun (a boy-girl pair of weirdoes from Portland, Oregon who straddle the line between music and performance art, their singing along to pre-recorded tracks of, I suppose, a sort of upbeat techno [not at all my sort of thing, usually; but I found myself quite enjoying this... maybe it was just because the girl was hot...] accompanied by some interesting video backdrops.... and rather less compelling mime routines/robotic dancing).

However, I found myself worrying, yet again, about my advancing age (and perhaps the increasing unsociability that comes with that). Aside from the laoban and the bands, I found I only knew about half a dozen people there; and they were mostly music biz types. For a large and predominantly expatty crowd, that was a strikingly low proportion of acquaintances. At gigs like that, I'd usually expect to run into at least two or three times as many people I know.

I fear I just haven't been getting out and meeting new people enough in the past few years. It is the curse of expat life that one's social circle withers rapidly unless you're making constant efforts to diversify it.

Then again, Saturday's crowd was a reminder of why I don't go out and mingle that much any more. It was 90% American, and very, very young. I would guess a majority of them were language students or 'interns'. There has been a mind-boggling proliferation of this demographic segment in Beijing in the last three or four years, and it's not a phenomenon I welcome. I'm sorry to be such a curmudgeonly old git, but I'm afraid I find it very difficult to have a conversation with people who use the word 'like' a minimum of three times in every sentence.

I suppose the fact that it was Halloween made it even worse. This is essentially a festival for young Americans. We Brits don't really bother with it. But there was a serious overdose of "like, totally, like, you know, like..." at dear old 2K that night. And it threatened to start spoiling the music for me.

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