Every week, I grab everyone’s favorite “alternative” (because we have ads for hookers in the back) newspaper out of the rack on the corner and bring it home. I do this for one reason.
You see, I refuse to read my Android or laptop on the commode. Something about it just seems wrong. I think that deep down, I am afraid that one of my ass germs is going to make its way inside of the circuitry, and since I cannot get in there to clean it, I will become obsessed with the notion that my gadgets are somehow infested with imperceptible-yet-present molecules of fecal matter.
Enter the alt.weeklies of the world. The Stranger and The Seattle Weekly … I can smear my shit all over these rags and not think twice about it. After all, it’s only 6 short days before they replace it with a new one.
Anyhow … so, there I was, twenty short minutes ago, in the bathroom with my pants around my ankles, trying to push out gut paste hardened by three straight days of Vicodin use for a back that has gone out yet again.
I reached down, grabbed The Weekly, and the first article I came to was an interview with Mark Arm, demigod to every American between the ages of 35 and 50. In the Interview, he was asked about his home in West Seattle, and I got a little chuckle out of his response which follows:
What drew you to West Seattle in 1993?
It was just really refreshing to get to a place that felt a little more real, where it wasn’t just like, in the case of the U District, this yearly turnover of people, and in the case of Capitol Hill, everybody’s not a f**king hipster. It was nice to actually live in a neighborhood where there are normal people, who aren’t concerned about how tight or loose their jeans are.
Kind of harsh, but probably a little too true. I agree that Capitol Hill is hipster, but it’s not nearly as bad as Portland (all of it), LA (Los Feliz, Echo Park, Silverfake) or NYC (Williamsburg, DUMBO, etc). Unlike Brooklyn, at least half of the people on The Hill who look like they are addicted to skag … ARE addicted to skag. As hipster enclaves go, Capitol Hill is one of the most authentic.
Also, when you compare hipster neighborhoods to each other, Capitol Hill is still incredibly affordable and non-gentrified. You can still get 1 Bedroom apartments here for $700-$800. Not Frasier-type apartments, but reasonably decent places. Similar cribs in Williamsburg are $1,500-$2,000. Capitol Hill is also superior to Brooklyn since it’s not full of New Yorkers and wannabe New Yorkers, people whose self-esteem and decibel levels are directly inverse to their IQ.
I guess I have to go to bat for the place because of all of the time I have spent in Seattle in my lifetime, Capitol Hill is by far where I have spent the most.
Twenty years ago, I remember getting in the back of a rear-windowless van in DC, and emerging 3 days later in Seattle having seen absolutely none of the the USA in-between (I hear North Dakota’s nice on two hits of acid). We made it just in time for a set at the Off-Ramp, and afterward, we walked up Denny Way to Broadway where I puked from that perfect combination of alcohol and exercise that results in a special kind of nausea and dehydration that is hard to describe. For the next week or so, we crashed in one of the aforementioned one bedroom apartments, with about 15 other people. Those were the days.
If you think about it, every urban neighborhood has its difficult demographic, and all things considered, hipsters aren’t that bad. Sure, their trust funds drive up housing and food costs, but they don’t usually hurt you physically. Hipsters are scared suburban kids rebelling against daddy’s BMW. They don’t rob, steal, and shoot people. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them. Yes, they are goofy, but hipsters beat mafiosos, gangbangers, cranky old people, and people who don’t speak a damn word of English.
Don’t get me wrong, I like West Seattle also. It does have a “real” vibe. There’s very little pretense or put-on. Being able to walk to Alki beach is also somewhat of a wet dream. It’s just not easy to live in West Seattle without a car. You can’t walk Downtown if you absolutely have to. As a (soon-to-be-again) car-less individual, I more or less have to live near the fixie riders and skinny jeans wearers.
In any event, Arm is quoted in a few sections in the paper, and I enjoyed reading his comments with my pants down. I swear I didn’t touch my wiener once while reading his interview. I saved that for the strip club and hooker ads on the back.
Long-live alt.weeklies and their questionably-legal advertising policies.