Wow. Deborah Tannen has an essay in which she states that women's clothing always announces social position: there is no "neutral" female outfit the way, say, a dark blue suit is a neutral male outfit. I like Tannen, but she's wrong about this one. Here at the metal show, there were endless varieties of men, but very few of women. Hot metal chick, fat metal chick, vaguely bemused civilian (me)--that's about it. But the men came in various shades and subtleties, it seemed to me.
To clarify; I live in a small city. A band like Motorhead coming to town is a Very Big Deal. And indeed it was. Everyone came out, pretty much. The club, our former Chuck E. Cheese, was packed. And not just with metal heads (although primarily with metalheads, admittedly). An anthropolgical survey, in no particular order, of the crowd.
*There were multiple Andy Partridges. Somewhat pasty, bespectacled, sporting driving caps. Often doughy.
*Bikers, often with genuinely horrendous teeth. Hippies of all shapes and sizes.
*Punks. My favorite was a guy who had to be over 40, with hair uncannily like the Flock of Seagulls guy's. Differences? Jet black. And everything EXCEPT the wings was shaved.
*Many shaved men generally, in fact. One drunk guy near us kept stroking his own head.
*Lots of people with lots of tattoos.
*The really, really drunk guy, some vague cross between Kurt Cobain and The Onion's Jim Anchower. Flannel, stocking cap.
*Many guys--including a friend of ours--with Stonewall Jackson's facial hair. Our friend happens to be a Virginian, but that could hardly have been true for the three or four others I saw, one in an engineer's cap!
*Thers and I were shamed by the revelation of the weakness of our bond. How do we know? We clearly love each other less than the heavily inked couple right in front of us who spent the evening with their hands in each other's back pockets. This is my definition of love, owing its genesis to roller skating arenas of the late 1970's, in which this pose was often featured while skating, announcing couplehood to the assembled masses.
I leave out all mention of the music, though of course former punk rockers Corrosion of Conformity (the opening act) were as loud as one might have hoped, and Lemmy's bald spot now shines like a beacon of hope.
And Billy Idol comes next month!!