Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Cult and Mainstream: the fight between the special people..

First off, I'm not sure if "Cultdom" is actually a word. Ah, well then I have just invented it. Deal with it.

Def: Cult ADJ [ADJ n]

Cult is used to desscribe things that are very popular or fashionable among a particular group of people.

Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? But really, it isn't. This one little word has spawned decades of misconceptions and misunderstanding.

When something is given a "cult status" it often confuses many. I have just said this, I know. But I want to emphasize it.

It all started for me when I had read that once when the "Twilight" saga started, it had only a cult following. A misconception followed making the connection of cultdom to vampirism. Yes, this is going to sound pretty bonkers, but that's what I thought. I guess that makes ME bonkers. So basically, I thought something that was said to have a cult status was a vicious circle of blood-thirsty humans following this particular "cultdom", all connected with each other. This was a year and half ago. Really, if you think about it, this could be true, with all these cult groups in the world (HA!). This is only with a series of books. The Music Business is perhaps the greatest example to show the border between Cult and Mainstream (And, is there really one?)

NME wrote a list wuite recently that really interested me. It was a list of the 'greatest' cult stars with the title "The World's Greatest Unsung Heroes". It may still be on their website somewhere: http://www.nme.com/home

It was basically a collection of musicians that I hadn't heard of. With the exception of Daniel Johnston. He was described, in so many words, as America's greatest Cult Alternative Indie Star. What does that mean? It means hemight even be worth listening to. If you're into that kind of thing. My main attraction to these double pages was the column on one of the first pages titled: "KURT COBAIN: CULT KILLER". Reading this article in semi-disgust, it was confusing. But I made confusing sense of it all. It told of, how Kurt Cobain unpurposedly lifted artists such as Daniel Johnston and Teenage Fanclub out of their comfortable ground and cult status, into the eyes of a wider audience, and almost destroying their careers as a result. Why am I explaining this? You can read it all on the article yourself, but I guess I'm just trying to make a point.

Now, recently I have been listening to Teenage Fanclub, and are now loving them as much as anything else on my iPod in the mainstream (I admit, I am a bit of a mainstream music girl, apart from the odd occurrence), but I wouldn't have any idea about them if it weren't for him. That just says it all really. Did these artists like their cult following? Or did they want to hit the mainstream? Some people go mad for mainstream, but some just want to get their beloved music listened to by an audience. Any audience, being mainstream or not. Teenage Fanclub are a Scottish Indie still, though, but damage has been done to their full cult status. Their fans are the biggest fans of one Kurt Cobain himself, who was a fan. So, does this mean they're on the cult side, or the mainstream part? It could be the middle. There is usually a middle in these kind of things.

Well, anyway, now I realize the importance, or not, of this "barrier" between cult status and mainstream. Because there is undoubtedly one.

My advice? Don't choose any. Because either could kill you.

Haha. Well, I tried.


Be daring this week and listen to some um... "iconic" cult. Try Daniel Johnston's Hi, How Are You (1983) or Teenage Fanclub's Songs from Northern Britain (1988).

They're both equally brilliant.

Peace, Love, Empathy x

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