Sunday, 3 January 2010
Hungary - Budapest (Part 1)
I am 21 years old and live in Budapest. I am a journalist and a university student studying politics. I am not your typical hardcore guy, no flesh tunnels in the ear, not wearing basic hardcore fashion, not being straight edge or part of a crew whatsoever, but I consider myself part of the scene. I went to my first hardcore show when I was 15, used to go lots of shows later and got tired of the attitude surrounding hardcore. Still, I hold the passion for the music and the hardcore ideals.
The scene itself
In Budapest, the scene is comprised of a couple of hundred people. I guess it is much like any other scene, always looking like it is dying and striving for new ways out, later to be found out that it was a legend in the making. Every type of related fashion (uniformised hardcore people, the guy who just saw the band on TV comes to the show) is present, and the whole attitude seems just not right but somehow those people still are keeping hardcore alive.
I will sort these people into groups, namely Straight edge warriors, Punkportál people, Fans, Youngsters, Band members and Bystanders, starting with the most definitive group for the hardcore scene and finishing with the least. There are obvious overlaps, but I feel that main motives and charactericics are differentiated the best that way. I will write about each group later and present a summary here.
Fans and Bystanders are the biggest groups in terms of numbers. They are not people you’d call hardcore, their commitment is limited to a few bands, mostly the ones that are the closest to mainstream. Punkportál people are the elder statesmen of the scene, running their own microscene with their own bands, sometimes showing up at foreign bands’ shows. Straight edge warriors occupy every strictly hardcore show, sometimes accidentally showing up at other shows and ruining the fun of the others. Youngsters are getting into the scene and can show up everywhere, trying to find their place. Band members are accidentaly popping up here and there, quietly drinking their anything near the wall.
Straight edge warriors
We have a straight edge warrior type of group, with mainly male members between 15 - 25 years, wearing the usual stuff (Nike sneakers, basketball shorts, Have Heart T-shirts, flesh tunnels). Their commitment to hardcore, their support to every band considered ’true’ is a great value, but their militant attitude, careless karate moves and aggressive sXe ’missionarism’ at shows („put away that fucking beer, dude, else you’ll get into trouble”) does not make themselves very popular, not in my eyes also. But I guess one who sees Boston Beatdown vol 3 as his lifechanging movie experience is the type of guy who is not welcome in any scene. They’re not running any ’scene activity’ outside of going to shows but members of the bands they support consider the straight edge warrior group as their ’true’ fans.
There is also a weird side of these guys, that's when they’re not being hardcore at the moment they tend to party at tacky places and picking up I-fuck-you-for-your-muscles type of girls while dancing to any mainstream music. Their choice of local bands is every old and/or straight edge band with a typical old school hardcore sound. Internationally, they idolise early hardcore and youth crew era bands, between contemporaries mostly tough guy and new school sXe bands are their choices.
This is a more political group closer to punk outside of hardcore, who are a bit older (20-35) and have more women in their ranks. I’ll call them the Punkportál group (punkportal.hu is a website committed to punk, has been really big in the early 00’s and played a huge part in forming this group, like how Punknews formed orgcore). They’re closer to punk ideals, most of them has done some scene activity (playing in a band, organizing events, running a label, running a zine / blog / site, taking photos), they stand up for international punk politics stuff (romantic leftist politics, negative attitude towards corporate world, woman rights, animal rights), they are mainly not straight edge but a lot of them are vegan. They do not consider themselves exclusively hardcore, so they are more open (and diverse) in terms of music than the straight edge warrior group. Their local choice is anything DIY, internationally anything they are into at the moment.
Fans are people not related to hardcore but have established a bond with a big local band (The Idoru, Bridge to Solace, Subscribe) and act like they do with their mainstream favorites: buy the album, go to shows, maybe buy a tee and put the favorite song in their playlist between Sk8ter Boi and Somebody Told Me. There are a lot of girls in this group, and also some metal guys. Their choice of music is anything plus the big local hardcore-related band.
Youngsters are mainly young (14-20) boys and a few girls who feel related to the scene after listening to Comeback Kid and right now are exploring the local stuff. They are obsessed with the fashion, wearing band shirts, ordering limited edition Vans shoes from the US, while the ones with the liberal parents also possess a piercing, a tattoo or a flesh tunnel. They do not feel close to hardcore ideals, but lots of them start a band, mainly metalcore / deathcore / grindcore. They establish a taste in a year and stick with it while missing out on really important bands. They tend to disappear after two or three years and start listening to drum’n’bass or indie rock. Their local choice is anything they already know about, internationally metalcore and melodic hardcore.
Band members tend to more easily cross musical borders than people would guess. They also have a lot of musician friends, so they go to see their friends’ show where nobody expects the guy from that band.
Bystanders are people observing the scene, after hearing about it somewhere and going to a show. The bystander does not know anybody in the scene, but is interested and watches.
Type A: sees Idoru on MTV, goes to a show, becomes a fan.
Type B: Reads about hardcore on the internet, writes a sociography about it for school homework, goes to a show, scared away, but somehow always comes back.