Now, I've never stepped inside an American High School in my entire life, yet I believe that I would be able to get to grips with all the rituals and strange nuances of these education institutions fairly quickly. This is mainly due to regularly digesting many hours of television programmes and films, set in these locations, over the years. A lifetime of absorbing John Hughes films, classics like Pink In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Clueless, Dazed and Confused (a personal favourite) Schlock Horror movies, My So Called Life, Beverley Hills 901234556789 and ahem High School Musical has equipped me with all the preparation one would need to seamlessly fit in this universal part of the American Dream.
The concept of parking up at the school gates in an smart open top car with stretched fenders is well within my grasp (a long way off the rusty banger of a V.W Polo with mould growing on the back seats, I used to actually limp into college in, back yonder) A quick dash into lessons via the metal detectors, "Sorry officer, I forgot about the Magnum lurking in my gym bag!" running along those wide polished aisles with hundreds of lockers on either side and saunter into the classroom parking my butt (see, I know the lingo) on one of those single seats, the ones with the funny pull out writing desk attachments, ready to give a quick run through of relative merits of the forty three (four) presidents.
Of course, learning facts is the way down the list of priorities at these places.. everyone knows High School is about learning to being COOL! Getting in with the right crowd is all important and being seen hanging out with the right people is vital. These places are a microcosm of life's big pecking order, packed with enough complex animal groupings, to give a David Attenborough Wildlife Documentary, a run for it's money.
Teenagers instinctively herd together and are acutely aware of the sliding scale of social order, that keeps everyone in their place. The alpha males of the jocks rule the roost, they swagger and bray, knowing they get first dibs on any prey, as they display their physical prowess, by bashing into each other at high speed on the football pitch. The cheerleaders display their physical attributes, in routines designed to remind everyone, that beauty is the major asset in this society. The valley girls know what to wear, how to talk and where to access all the right parties. The alt/emo scene are the flip side of these scenes rejecting accepted conformity and rebelling against the system. Every educational establishment has the stoner scene, who are kept on side by all cliques, because everyone needs their access to the drugs. Halfway down the pecking order are the regular kids, keeping their scores up by actually working, but not standing out too much. Then, there are all the groups based on racial, class and gender lines to tick off. Finally, we have the geeks, at the bottom of the pile, excluded and exiled from most socially inclusive activities, busy doing Spelling Bees, hanging out in the library or sitting in a dank recess of a room, solitary nerds busy typing away at a computer, in the middle of the night (oh hang on, that sounds familia...ahem!) These guys know their place and it doesn't really matter, because in ten years time, they'll have sold some Web 2.0 application for millions, letting them magically rise to the top of the heap.
So, I know the score and I'm ready to assert my place in the pantheon of High School Life. Thirty years of watching films like 'Never Been Kissed' have not been wasted, it's all been usual research and I now know how to high five with the jocks and give a wide berth to the invites to Math Club.
But hold up, Arrrrrghhhh! I'm all confused, Built by Snow have come along, thrown a rock hard snowball in my face and now the consequences are melting down the back of my neck. Why? well they look a bit nerdy, dress a bit square and profess to be interested in computers and retro games and such like. Yet instead of channelling these youthful indiscretions into a project for the science fair, they've formed a band. Not just any old band, one that plays edgy, antsy, synth punk pop. The BBS sound is The Buzzcocks meeting Hot Chip with a cough of Weezer, the towering wit of They Might Be Giants all driven by new wave power pop of The Cars. They also name check Scratchy favourites Tegan and Sara, so all in all they've turned all my stereotypes on my head. What a dilemma, I want to hang with the geeks, they're iglcool..! BBS will get an invite to the High School Prom; they'll go down a (snow) storm.
Built By Snow - Mega nine tracks, twenty two minutes. released on January 20th 2009
As they sing "I'm a weird kid so come with me let's go!"
Built By Snow - Underneath directed by Matt Murray and Andy Garibay
Built By Snow -All The Weird Kids Know - Directed by a Fan?
Usually, when I'm drop one of these band big ups, as the youth of today tend to say these days (I'm down wid da kidz, daddio) I tend to cherry pick the interesting parts of a band's press bumph and fill in the gaps with my personal slant on the proceedings. However, BBS have produced a rather wonderful press release done in the style of a Golden Age comic, so I might as well reproduce this as it has all the relevant information on, it's the bees knees.
18 Jan 2009 22:00 KVRX Local Live-STREAM THE SHOW-http://listen.kvrx.org/ The entire world!
24 Jan 2009 21:00 Club DeVille - Built By Snow, "MEGA" CD Release Party! Austin, Texas
4 Feb 2009 21:00 Creekside Lounge - 101x Homegrown Live Show Austin, Texas
25 Feb 2009 21:00 at Emos w/ The Authors Austin, Texas