It happens all the time: someone comes up to me and goes, “Brad (or Dude), how do I get cool like you?” And naturally I reply, “Dude (or Miss), you can’t possibly be as cool as me. But I can help you be more cool than you are right now.” With that I hand them a pamphlet, which contains the following content:
So, you want to be a cool person. Well, I can only help your coolness factor in the area of music. Why? Because, compared to stylish dress and good conversation skills, music is both the easiest form of coolness and the most superficial.
First go out and buy the entire Radiohead catalog, minus the singles. Yes, buy Pablo Honey (the one with “Creep” on it); it will come in handy when you need to talk about how anyone can play guitar (trust me, that is a joke only to the truly cool).
Also, you need two copies of Kid A. One is the normal version and the other is the limited edition one that is like a children’s storybook. For Amnesiac you only need the limited edition one that is like an old library book. Have you noticed that limited addition equals coolness?
Well, so do import copies. Imports are just like normal CD’s except they come from far-off lands like Germany and England. In fact, sometimes you can just own an import copy of a band to be cool.
Now, The Strokes are too popular to be cool, but if you own the import copy of their album (yeah, the one with the leather glove covering a bare butt) you avoid being trendy and become cool.
Also, you need to find bands with weird names like Super Furry Animals, Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, Shalabi Effect, or any other name that is more than three words or contains at least one symbol (Prince does not count). Now, you don’t have to like these bands, just reference them a lot and say that you like them.
Next on the coolness list: become a musician. No, not a violin player; I mean a person with a guitar or piano (a computer works, too). Now, write songs.
It doesn’t matter if they are good or not, just write them. Then either perform them in a coffeehouse or, better yet, buy a four-track recorder and record them. Make tapes for your friends. This will make them think that you are really cool and that you are really talented no matter how bad your music is. (See? I told you the songs didn’t need to be good).
After that, you need to start voicing your opinions about music. If you work at a place with a stereo, put your music on and let people know that it is your music (this does not mean the stuff you recorded, but if it is you get extra cool points).
A prime place for this is a coffeehouse, because cool people hang out there and will agree with you. Also, people who want to be cool hang out there too, and to be cool they will pretend that they know what you are talking about.
But it doesn’t matter, because it’s only a coffeehouse. To be truly cool you must up the exposure a notch.
The next step to being totally cool is getting on the radio. Now people who aren’t in the same city as you can find out how cool your music is and by association how cool you are.
On the radio you can talk about how cool the bands are and how cool you are for listening to Sigur Ros and The Velvet Underground. (See how cool I was? I just dropped some band names).
And finally, if you still don’t think you’re cool enough, get a rock column in a paper: any paper. Heck, if you wanted to, you could create your own paper. Then when you write an article use a Wilco song lyric as your column title. And have your image be John Stamos, because, remember, the ’80s are cool, so you will be cool too.