Not so oddities

©2022 Michael Raven

I went to the Oddities and Curiosities Expo in Minneapolis yesterday, hoping to find something unique and interesting to consider bringing back home, but was mostly disappointed in what has become this year taxidermy and upscaled junk convention.

Both of which are interesting in of themselves, but not all that odd or curious.

And I’m willing to admit that some of it might be my age. After living as long as I have (which isn’t that long but, apparently, long enough), I’ve seen or encountered most things that are weird, and yet commercially viable in terms of sale. When I attend things like the O&C Expo, I kind of hope to see something at least whiffing a bit of different. Last time I went, before the pandemic, I recall running into a few items for sale that fit the bill, but this time, there was a lot of replication when it wasn’t the aforementioned taxidermy and upscaled junk sold as art. There were plenty of formaldehyde balls and jars filled with all kinds of “creepy” tentacles and fetal mammals, snakes and whatnot; plenty of bones and furs, some with added art, some without; plenty of “mystical” crystals with a selection that would make even the poorest of new age shops look like bonanzas; some prints and original art, but nothing too odd or curious (or even all that fantastical); a number of serial killer fan offerings; several tasteless (albeit funny) signs and stickers… But nothing that made me gasp or that make my heart race with an urge to own.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, it drew more than a few people trying to outdo each other with seeming weird, but that all looked guttergoth ho-hum samey. I’ll admit that I’m a bit judgmental, having been old school goth back in the 80s, but I never “got” the dirtball goth scene and that seems to be the lingering legacy of the second wave of goths that just won’t go away. That’s not goth to me: the neoromanticism goth was my shtick and, even then, I would probably forgo the makeup and black dye, and focus on the clothing elements. And that gets expnsive.

And maybe that’s why gutterpunk stuck around and the more polished goth faded away — the expense in maintaining the image.

Tangential segue aside…

I felt like the whole event was a bust for me. I went, prepared to spend at least $50 on something and up to several hundred, but I was unimpressed. My daughter was puzzled by the lack of truly odd items too, and she’s not nearly as jaded as I am. Nor was she impressed with the “time to bring our freak on” crowd, and she’s generally more enthused by it. “What a bunch of teenage brats,” said the teenage daughter. “What about the older ones? Not all are teens.” She looked at me sideways. “They are just grown up teens, dad.”

So, when I got home, I bought myself a new “tarot” deck, which should arrive in the next few hours.

That’s weird enough for me.

8 thoughts on “Not so oddities

  1. Sounds like quite a daughter you’ve got there, Michael! Good to know that it’s not just age and cynicism that makes everything seem banal, but a general ‘watering down’ of things and a lack of anything stimulating or new. At least we’ve got our imaginations (?!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ve always been annoyed with the conversion from subculture to mainstream. It always smacks of Disneyfication, be it “alternative” music, fashion subculture, or what have you. Once the normies accept and adopt, everything seems to have the soul sapped from it (vampires are another example) and we’re left with fake plastic trees (song reference is semi-intentional) lining our streets. Even good modern goth doesn’t excite me much anymore because it seems to lack an “edginess” to the music and looks. It’s missing the “rough edges”.

      I probably don’t make any sense and come off more as an aged curmudgeon than anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not at all, and your reference is most apt. Perhaps the fact that very little new excites is because we are aging – I often feel that today’s youth have very little new (is that because we’ve been through it and witnessed so much artistic change?) – and we compare art (particularly music) to how it was when we were younger, and so now most things seem pale by comparison. Maybe it’s because we have come through it and become ‘settled’ (now there’s a scary thought!). Shit, I’m getting myself down now! Move on!

        Liked by 1 person

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