Nadia Elkharadly: Kids these days – A guest rant

Nadia LogoI’m lucky to have several super cool and like-minded people in my life, and as a result I have some fairly intellectually stimulating conversations on an equally fairly regular basis.  Sometimes these conversations can devolve (entertainingly so!) into some pretty epic rants.  One such instance happened quite recently.  I was talking to my dear friend Emy on Gchat while we were both taking brain breaks from work (hey, it’s necessary sometimes…a lot of the time), and the topic of band tshirts came up.  Both of us, being music lovers to the nth degree, have our share of band related tanks, tshirts and even dresses that claim places in our respective wardrobes.  One important fact to note is that the band outfits we own are inspired by bands that we actually *gasp* LIKE!

nirvanaIn the past few years, an epidemic seems to have arisen among young people wearing the shirts of bands that they don’t know, don’t like and haven’t even heard of.  I call it an epidemic because to me it’s exactly that; an epidemic of ignorance, laziness and simple bad taste.  One shouldn’t parade around in a Nirvana tshirt with a date of birth later than the release of Nevermind and no knowledge of that record in the first place.  This topic came up in our Gchat conversation, and Emy and I both realized we could probably rant on and on about the subject.  I declared it would make a great column topic, and before I knew it, Emy had emailed me a perfect, DBAWIS length rant on this contentious topic.  And since Emy is a very gifted writer, with a great sense of humour, I decided to grant her this very forum for her words.  Read below, and enjoy!

Take it away Emy!

Wearing a band t-shirt featuring a band you know diddly squat about isn’t cool, kids. It’s the fashion version of getting a tattoo in a foreign language that you think says something profound, but in reality, tells those who can actually read that script that you’re an idiot or you smell or something equally appropriate.

your-dumbThis has annoyed the tits off of me for as long as I can remember, because once I became really obsessed with music when I was about 7, liking a band wasn’t a passing diversion; it was a full-time activity. Like, full-on, cheesy analogy-worthy stuff: like you’re parched in the desert, and each song, each record, each B-side, each tidbit of information or song lyric you learn is like a little drop of water bringing you closer to some imagined rapture; an oasis to quench you forevermore.

Of course, I don’t expect everyone to be that batshit about a band before they’re worthy of flaunting their love via t-shirt, but for fuck’s sake, you should own some albums and know a thing or two beyond the lead singer’s name. If you like the single that’s being crammed down your throat on the radio, chances are that the rest of the record sounds nothing like it, and you don’t need a shirt to show how cool and with it you are.

Nirvana collectionI used to be a militant Nirvana fan. I have well over 60 CDs (various editions, variations of packaging, singles, bootlegs, remasters, live, compilations, soundtracks, guest spots, covers , tributes, etc.), I have dozens of books and thrice as many magazines, some of which I acquired by spending countless hours poring through bins at ABC Books on Yonge St., Poster Soundgardenbecause they’d been released before my time. I have most of the catalogue on vinyl and on tape as well, as well as every poster Tower Records and Rock Variety had to offer back in the day, not to mention a slew of tacky things like KC lighters and keychains. Once the 2000s hit, I shaved a couple of dioptres off my vision, spending countless days, nights, weeks and months scouring Napster, LimeWire and Kazaa for live performances, demos and b-sides, until there was no more for me to bleed out of the interwebs.

My point is that I was thorough. I tween-schemed money to afford all of these things, and it wasn’t until I knew every fact in every book and every lyric to every song that I acquired some t-shirts to tell the world that hey, I have a bit of soft spot for this band called Nirvana. I didn’t even really need to, by that point – my obsession often preceded me, and people already knew what the fuck was up in my record collection.

slapSo, to me, wearing a band shirt shouldn’t be a fashion statement. If you’ve spent money on a t-shirt but never a dollar on a band’s music, you’re just the fucking worst. Like, my fingers ache to slap you around a bit. Maybe find another like you and clunk your heads together until you pass out. Maybe you’d wake up right in the head. But probably not.

I used to flat-out call people out on this when I was in my teens. “Which are your favourite songs?” I’d ask when I saw someone wearing swag for any band I loved, hoping for a chance to pore over standout tracks or otherwise, a chance to be a know-it-all teenager. And more often than not, I had the title of the one major single recited back to me.


I’m a bit less of a douchebag these days, though not by much, and this old ire is being re-ignited when I see stores like Urban Behaviour peddling Kurt Cobain, Nirvana and Pink Floyd tees and hoodies (to name just a few). I see little teen hipsters – henceforth known as teensters – parading these slightly off, not-quite-official logos down the street as they flit in and out of Urban Outfitters and Billabong, and I just wanna trip them and pop quiz them.

HoodieI mean, christ, do you know how long it took me to save up for my Dark Side of the Moon hoodie?! It was a pretty penny, especially since I, ya know, bothered to buy all of Pink Floyd’s records before needing to tell the world how rad I think they are. I even bothered to listen to and appreciate the endless ravings that constitute a Syd Barrett solo outing.

So yes, it annoys me beyond adult reason when I see music as a cheap accessory like this, as an ode to the supposed personality and passions people can’t be bothered to actually acquire for themselves, for real. Sure, for $6, you can pretend you know a thing or two about revolutionary bands – but the sad thing is that the people wearing this stuff probably don’t realize there was ever even a revolution to know about.

For $6, you should, instead, go to SonicBoom or iTunes and buy some motherfucking music that will stay with you throughout your entire life and bring you, on any given day, some form of aural ecstasy.

Ed. Note: This is a 360 degree view…you can look around.

Sonic Boom

For $6, you could probably go out and see a local band play and discover then next passion-worthy band. Whatever you spend it on, Emylittle teensters, don’t let it be a badge of wonkily-perceived honour. You’re not cool yet, I promise. You’ll look back at what a lame little shit you are, we all do. Expand your music collections before your wardrobes and at least cobble together a bit of musical knowledge to cart into young adulthood. Please. Or I’ll start throwing matches at you as you pass. Emy Stantcheva is the Lifestyle Editor at Addicted Magazine.  She’s also a rabid Soundgarden fan, and Nadia’s musical and spiritual sister from another mister. 

Emy and Nadia

Emy and Nadia

=NE & ES=

Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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