Adam Chapman

My Love/Hate Relationship With Emo

A subculture according to the oxford English dictionary is “A cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture”. Throughout the last 70 years Britain has been defined by it’s rise of subcultures from the mod to the punk, from the hippy to the emo, subcultures defined many of us trying to find our way in the world.

It’s that classic tale of everyone being different in the exact same way. Arguments with Mum at the age of 14 that “This isn’t just a phase” whilst buttoning up your waistcoat worn so majestically over your latest Topman tee.

The author circa 2007

I unfortunately or fortunately depending how you look at it, was born into a generation where the hip new thing was emo. Emo soon spawned the ‘Scene kid’ much like the evolution of the Ork to the Uruk Hai in Lord of The Rings. We emerged from the shadows of despair and swapped our jet black skinny jeans for a rainbow of colours, electric blue, toxic green, I’m going through puberty really hard red, my god the choice was endless. I remember how I genuinely thought I was pushing boundaries when rocking my first pair of Criminal Damage, bright blue, super skinny jeans around the streets of Ipswich Town. I was so naive.

The music was great at the time, so much angst, so much heartache, it really spoke to me. How the hell would I ever survive having broken up with my first ever ‘serious’ girlfriend without some man in his twenties singing to me on a serious level.

It was this that got me. Whilst taking a trip down memory lane and chucking on the absolute belters of We Are The Ocean, Panic At The Disco, kids in glass houses ETC I really did start to question how a band of blokes in their 20s could really nail the mindset of a hormone all out of whack mid teen.

At the age of 25 now I really have found the world is far more stressful than just wondering whether or not society will accept me for how I dress and express myself. The truth is that no one really gives that much of a shit about you (the emo mindset is coming back).

Where did it all go wrong? 

As embarrassing as it is I can’t help but look back fondly on that time. Bebo was huge and within the clicks of Ipswich emos, my Bebo name “Shorty Ramone” was often shouted at me as I walked past. It was kinda like being a mini celebrity at times. Now all anyone seems to shout at me in the street is “WANKER!” that, you know, I can live with.

I’m pretty sure that era was the last subculture I really felt apart of. Sure I have hipster qualities but realistically what young man in their 20s doesn’t? If you’ve ever drank beer out of anything other than a can, bottle or pint glass, you have hipster qualities. If that beer is an experimental IPA then bad news buddy.

I’m just glad I grew out of it before I did something silly like get a Lost Prophets tattoo (There must be so many out there) which would be incredibly terrible given the events of a few years back. All I ask is that Bob Dylan moves on without getting into any child molestation or other type of scandal as I can’t afford to lose my left bicep.

Luckily if I ever need a regression session and to feel 15 again I can always head down to the Krazyhouse in Liverpool and scream my angsty heart out.

Emo, you were a huge part of my life and probably forever will be as much as I hate to admit that.

In an attempt to Bring emo into the modern day, check out this video from Super Duluxe of Trump’s speeches as an early 2000s emo song.