Pump Up The Volume

November 30, 2011 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

November has always been one of my favorite months; it's filled with frosty days and overzealous, premature Christmas merchandising, and Charlie Brown specials, and fried turkey and pies, many, many pies, and the hopes of a majestic, magical winter. And from our earliest days in school we have always been urged to reflect on the things that we are thankful for. Usually these revolve around family, friends, loved ones ... basically, RELATIONSHIPS! It's that thought, if you will, that has me wrapped around its proverbial finger.

PUMP UP THE VOLUME: Community (or) The Single Greatest Weapon Against Apathy

Community at its core is simply that—relationship. How we relate from family member to family member, friend to friend, employee to employer, merchant to consumer; each simply strands into a grand, glorious—if at points patchwork—tapestry. “But isn’t this a column about musicish things?! I’m confused.” Well, since you asked…

Music, as with all art, thrives on community. When you think of the hot spots of culture and music—the Seattle’s, the New York’s, the Austin’s, the L.A.’s—each and every one of these cities have entrenched symbiotic relationships with the artists, with the “scene(s)”, with the venues, with the merchants. When these elements combine together—think Voltron here—the community becomes self-sustaining and powerful, if not near indestructible. I grew up reading articles and zines that spotlighted this type of communal spirit; it seeped into my core, I romanticized it and have been searching for it for years. Sadly, for too big a chunk of those years I spent searching, I should have spent BUILDING. Not that I didn’t play a role in it—I’ve always gone to shows and shopped local and supported indie record stores and bands—but it wasn’t intentional and it wasn’t proactive. My motives were born more from a self-serving adulation than a selfless cultivation of what surrounded me. This reality is one that permeates many in these environments and is a great contributor to many of their ultimate demise, but there is hope! It's never too late to start building, sometimes more work, yes, but never too late.

Which leads us to beautiful Jacksonville. While I have only been a Jacksonvillian for a mere 18 months, I have fallen in love with our fair city and its various smells and its many flavors and its truly lovely people. I’ve spent countless hours driving from one side to another and back again, treasure hunting for exciting new places, for exciting new people. And I have found both in spades. I have also found that the link between Jack Rabbit’s and Underbelly, The Pit and Burro Bar, the Murray Hill Theatre and most anywhere, is disjointed if not nearly non-existent. I have found that many people I’ve met have failed—though townies—to really venture beyond their section to learn and experience what Jax has to offer. I have further found that this is an oft-discussed topic amongst those in each scene. But the greatest thing I have found is that there are a lot of people who want to see these flaws change. They want to invigorate their scenes and build a bridge to others. They want to not only find support in, but almost more importantly, be supporting of, those kindred spirits around them. They. Desire. Community.

In closing, I want to point out that this column will typically have pieces that focus more closely on individuals who make up the community itself, but I felt it necessary to write this little manifesto on why PUMP UP THE VOLUME exists and make a challenge to you the reader to be proactive in the quest for community. Go buy a vinyl from Budget Records and tell a friend. Go see a killer show at TSI and take a friend. Don’t be annoyed when you find the evidence of Tim Hall’s presence on your windshield—put that flyer in your car to remind you to go check out one of those shows because there’s always something worth checking out. I know I will because, like the many I have met, I too desire community. And so do you—even if you aren’t completely aware of it yet!

Editorial by Paul Thomas Chapman.