But seriously, who gives a fuck what a couple of white old farts think? Rachel is wearing a homemade "Twee as Fuck" T-shirt. Her friend Katharine explains that it's ironic "Because twee is twee but fuck definitely isn't."
"I got my glasses punched off by a skinhead!" yells Rachel excitedly. "That's why I'm not wearing them!"
It takes a moment for this to sink in.
"Were you at the Hard Skin show?" I ask.
"Yes!" she says, obviously shocked I even know who Hard Skin are.
Turns out Rachel is a huge Hard Skin fan. She sings me the chorus of "Copper Cunt," but we agree she should censor herself because "that word" isn't twee. "Copper, copper, copper! Beep! Beep! Beep!" she sings.
She's just poked holes in all my theories about twee. I could try to console myself that she's far too switched-on and funny and self-mocking and engaged and full of life to really be twee anyway. I mean she'd drive the muttering introverts in Belle and Sebastian insane if she were locked in a room with them. But then she hangs around with her chum Katherine, who didn't go into the Hard Skin gig because she can't stand loud music. (Very twee.)
But then again, I don't get to decide what twee is, and nor does Sweeney. Seventeen-year-olds do.
I had some time to kill between Hard Skin and Belle and Sebastian. So I ate Italian and read Rapture Ready--the recently published book about Christian pop culture by Daniel Radosh. I read the chapter on Christian pro-wrestling, where the guys are always slapping each other's asses and making gay jokes to show they're not gay.
Thing is, having researched secular pro-wrestling, I know the guys there do the exact same thing--especially if they're working in a show with a "gay" character.
I mused on this the next morning at the first-ever Liberty Stampede gay rodeo. A lot of things are immediately made more interesting if you put the word "gay" in front of them. Music, club, parents, marriage, penguins, metal and so forth.
It just doesn't work with rodeo though, same as it doesn't work with football (and for the same reason).
If you ask the question, "How do you make rodeo gayer?" And you answer, "Make it a gay rodeo"--you're wrong. It's still a rodeo--a celebration of the most homoerotic culture ever devised (with the sole possible exception of skinheads).
For sure the gay rodeo includes "camp" events like the wild drag race and goat dressing (putting stylish underpants on a goat). But rodeo has been gay from the get-go. The Brokeback boys were pushing at an open door--and yes, they were selling Toby Keith cowboy hats at the concession stands.
"What do Belle and Sebastian tell us about masculinity?" muses Sweeney. "That it's changing ... "
He's right. Next year I hope he holds his Belle and Sebastian disco on the same day as Wing Bowl, Hard Skin's next gig and the second-ever Philly gay rodeo. Hell, why not all of them at the same time in the same venue?
Anybody want to buy a homemade "Belle and Sebastian Are Rubbish" T-shirt? Used once. Slightly grubby. Going cheap.