'Behind the Scene' / Nina Montero
Do you remember the Scene Kids that would congregate on the steps outside Flinders Street station? Maybe they’ve crossed your mind in recent times while passing the now forbidding entrance – transiently trod by workers, school children and tourists - all of whom are commuting somewhere else, unaware of the history that’s steeped in the pavement where they step.
Indeed, lingerers are seldom welcomed in our streets: the homeless, the vagabonds, the squatters, the protesters, the congregators; they have all been forced to relocate.
Pushed away from our view like an eyesore, threatening to obstruct the refined facades of our prized architecture.
At odds with the bustling urbanity of the modern world, the Scene Kids, united in their unconventional appearance and deep-rooted discontent—they were incongruous with the relentless, unceasing movement and functionality of our capitalist society.
You could almost think of the Scene Kid as a neo-romantic, although, admittedly, the average Scene Kid utilised technology. They too demonstrated a sort of disillusionment with the speed of modernity and the trivialities of the everyday.
Under the towering clock linger the ghosts of the Scene Kids who made that spot their own — adding colour, or more precisely, black and fluoro to the grey concrete steps. If you listen closely, you might still hear the faint “rawr XD” of one Scene Kid communicating to the other, or the pop-punk (possibly even “screamo”) wailing from a nearby iPod shuffle. Perhaps you would smell the singed ends of doggedly straightened hair or feel the furry texture of a skunk-patterned extension.
For the Scene Kids, the steps weren’t just a mundane stop in their daily route, the steps were the journey.
They were mostly ignored, looked down upon as simply a fringe group on the outskirts of our society, so they found power in numbers, meeting at those steps and becoming an inescapable force in the heart of Melbourne's CBD. But now that they've migrated (or rather, moved on?) what will be the legacy of these fringe-faced misfits?
Where are they now? Did they simply adapt to the normalcy of modern society or did they give in to the relentless clockwork of our capitalist world? Imagine the collective sigh of these individuals as they acquiesced to the inevitable passage of time; swapping studded Jay Jays belts for suits and ties and slide Samsungs for Apples.
Was it a phase? Or will it forever haunt our adolescent memories; living on only in the hearts of those who identified with the MySpace-era phenomenon?
The Scene Kids are now a remnant of a generation in transit. They are a blip in our collective memory of the mid-2000s. The early to mid 20 somethings that remember a childhood without the internet although their adolescence was quickly consumed by the rise of social media.
Scene is now a relic of a middle world and an artefact of that millennial chaos. It may have emerged as a nihilistic protest concerning the changing expectations of adulthood. Maybe it was a cynical reaction to the financial crisis and an increasingly surveilled world. Or the culture shock induced by societal tension surrounding the increasing speed and exponential expansion of the Internet. As the Goth movement before it, Scene fed on a certain generational discordance and cultural fission.
I would like to interview some of these former— or perhaps even, current—Scene Kids to find out about the history of the Scene. What unfolded on those steps? What did the entrance of the station represent to the Scene community? What is the future of "Scene" and why is it no longer an omnipresent force in our culture? The most pressing question on my mind is: what became of these individuals after the dye washed away and the stretchers came out?
I have already been provided with some witness accounts that detail some of the crucial environmental and regulatory elements that led to this mass exile, one of which was the cigarette ban at the station in 2014. I will be collecting stories and accounts from relevant people on social media. I hope to get to the heart of the group and locate these enigmatic individuals to find out about their pasts and reveal the seldom-acknowledged impact of the Scene Kids on the modern world.