There are quite a lot of rather amusing videos on the internet, but this week only one has been all over my news feed like a Guardian article (my preferred simile for irritating digital omnipresence). It’s of teenagers at Coachella being ‘tricked’ into feigning familiarity with ‘imaginary’ bands.
“Those foolish hipsters,” cry my peers. But I for one applaud throwing off the shackles of Western objectivity. I’ve been an aficionado of imaginary bands long before anybody had never heard of them. Here’s why.
The criteria for a band’s ‘existence’ have morphed beyond recognition as popular music swallows countless lithe bodies into its maws of doom. Bands now first exist on paper. Take ‘One Direction’ – they existed as spasming synapses in Simon Cowell’s mind before the ideas found young flesh to inhabit.
The boundary between subjective and objective has been tied into so many knots that the certainty offered by entirely imaginary bands is beyond anything that material flesh-space can offer us. In virtually all respects, the visceral experience of the fictional Dr. Schlomo and the GI Clinic is more real than a live concert from Justin Bieber. And not just because Dr. Schlomo has never been late to a gig.
Who can say what’s ‘real’ or not, in a world where voices are auto-tuned to perfection? Why are my Facebook friends still clinging to their copies of The God Delusion, decrying young people supporting bands that there’s no ‘evidence’ for? Just because I can’t ‘scientifically’ prove a band has ever produced a record, doesn’t mean that my experience of them is somehow lessened. Also, if it’s “not about the music” any more, then by logical extension (trust me, I do PPE) anyone who claims you need the music to exist is wrong.
These pioneers are just trying to avoid cultural collapse as the black hole of Western culture implodes, watching automatons twitching jerkily (like jerks) on MTV. The only real bands left are in our heads. They’re pretty obscure – you’ve probably never heard of them. And that’s the way I like it.