The Grunge Movement

kurt-courtney

I spent my freshman year of college at Bob Jones University (it’s a long story for another post) – the world’s bastion for conservative Christian fundamentalism.

When I say “conservative” I mean it… these guys call Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell liberal…

Within a few weeks I was confronted by my dorm supervisor… brought into a private meeting.

I think he was trying to tread lightly, since they have so many culturally-sheltered students when he asked me…

“are you familiar with the Grunge Movement

(apparently my purchased-in-the-nineties-but-made-in-the-sixties cardigans and jet-black-dyed hair had stuck out a bit in the sea of starch and ties and pleats)

I actually was familiar with grunge music of course… but had never heard of a “movement.”

I don’t think anyone else had (or has) either.

It would be a bit ironic… it’s the only movement I can think of that would be immediately shunned by its own participants just for being a “movement”…

Today NPR pointed me towards a new book by photographer Michael Lavine called Grunge.

Flipping through the sample shots on his site, I’m experiencing a weird combination of emotions…

I feel old… the photos look like something out of a history book and I really wonder if it’s possible 20 years have passed…

I feel a little self conscious… because my wardrobe hasn’t changed…

I’m not saying my style is the same, but I literally have the exact clothes hanging in my closet (or piled on my floor) as I did in 1995 and my sweater bin smells of mothballs and mohair…

And I can’t help but wonder if I’m a little bit like Uncle Rico… stuck in some moment in the past… super-cool to myself, but super-ridiculous to everyone else..

But honestly it makes me a little proud.

Because it was at this time in history that became who I am… and I’ve never had to compromise…

And because I don’t believe those photos and that music still strikes a chord with me because I was a teenager at that time, but rather because the message was a timeless one… perhaps never captured better in any other form.

Sometimes I’m afraid I’ve become boring in my thirties because I don’t put in as much effort as in my teens to be countercultural…

but that’s just the point of the Grunge Movement, now isn’t it?