I was priveliged to attend the Heavy Metal and Gender conference in Cologne last week. It was a great occasion and Florian Heesch did a great job organising it. It was great meeting up with old and new eggheadbanger friends - it feels that a community of serious, committed metal scholars is starting to emerge.
Ill health and lack of time prevents me recording my thoughts on the conference in more detail but one thing I've been thinking a lot about is my relationship to the metal scene. Would I still describe it as 'ambivalent'? I still have real difficulties with certain aspects of metal - the persistent sexism for one thing. The beercentricism of metal culture also bores me (although I would drink more regularly if my health was better).
I can't deny that I am much more comfortable with the hipster-end of the metal continuum and I sometimes cling to Sunn0))) like a drowning man to a liferaft. Sometimes I feel like an apologetic metaller. Maybe I'm a self-hating Jew and a self-hating metaller?
Yet at the same time, the emerging eggheadbanger community is beginning to convince me that perhaps metal is important, perhaps it has lessons for all.