Spanish Trends and Counter Culture

Spain does a lot of things great. For example, they make some of the tastiest hams in the world. In fact, they do it so well, it tastes better than candy. Also, they know how to throw some of the wildest parties I’ve ever seen.  They can make some of the most delicious drinks one could try like tinto de verano and calimotxo (although the latter is arguable, it’s all up to individual taste.)  Spain is also known for it’s wonderful culture of fine wines and it’s incredible art like artists such as Dalí and Picasso. But there is one that thing that do not do well at all.

And that’s the counter culture.

It’s either non-existant or it just…fails. First of all, Ramones t-shirts are sold more here than let’s say beer.  Everyone who is anyone has a Ramones t-shirt and you can buy them for like 5 euros from street stands. You aren’t Spanish until you own a Ramones shirt. I guess the rule here is that if you have one, you’re punk. But then you look at their shoes and they’ve got on some fancy dock shoes and are wearing high water pants. I’m pretty sure Joey Ramone would wretch if he saw someone wearing his band’s t-shirts and designer flood pants.

Some of the “punk kids” I’ve seen fall short too. Instead of sewing Dead Kennedys patches to their jean jackets, they have Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.  Also, bands like The Strokes are huge and songs that we all got bored of when we were 9 and we consider radio garbage are absolutely enormous. For example, Blur’s song, Song 2, is played everywhere and I swear it makes my ears bleed, and not in the good heavy metal sense.  Do American’s even know who Blur is or listen to them? I feel like they are the European version of Nickelback.

Furthermore, the skateboard scene is very interesting.  I’ve gone to a few skateparks/skatespots here in Madrid and I just have to say that whoever said it was okay to bring a Razor scooter to a skatepark was disturbingly mistaken. I went to the park today and I just noticed so many things that you’d never see at American skatepark. For instance, this one guy had a normal-guy hair cut. His hair was pretty typical white-guy fro, curly and all.  But then, the back-left side of his head had three mangy dreadlocks hanging there that nearly reached his butt, completely out of place.

Also, there were children and men alike riding around the bowl on scooters actually doing tricks. Like you could tell they’ve actually practiced their stuff. Which makes me wonder how on earth the scooter is A) still popular here and; B) why older kids are riding them like it’s cool.

Another thing is that mom and dad would bring their kids by the masses to run around on scooters, roller blades, mountain bikes or whatever they could get their hands on that had wheels and let them go crazy. I’ve seen parents bring their kids to the parks in the States too, but mom and dad keep a close eye on their kids and they usually don’t get in the way. But here, they were out of control running into everyone like it was a disorganized family reunion.

The other big thing is that rollerblading still exists here. That one still shocks me. Rollerblading is actually a huge sport right now and you will see people everywhere going for a stroll in the park, holding hands with their family and friends. Going for cruises on their blades is the way to get around. They even set up cone tracks and try to ride through them. Those that do it well can even make spare change and get big groups of people to stand around them and watch. It’s like it’s Venice Beach in 1970. Those people don’t bother me, they just make me laugh because that was cool back in like ‘Nam back home.

But the worse part is when there are kids doing aggressive inline skating, which is a term I’m sure American kids born after 1999 wouldn’t even know what means.

I guess cool out here is way different…or just ten to thirty years behind American trends. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s kind of annoying because all the “fruit-booters” get in the way and the children with their shiny rollerblades and gleaming silver scooters irritate me when I’m trying to skate and one weaves right into my path. Bikes aren’t even allowed at a lot of American skateparks, but here you’ll find Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, Brother, Sister, and the dog riding around on their mountain bikes, going over all the humps and curves at the park. It’s all just very weird to me. I’m just going to have to re-write the books on cool here, and dreadlocked rat tails are going to be the first things to go, right before scooters, rollerblades, manpurses, and flood pants.

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