A very UN-glossy look at popular culture... and whatever else takes my fancy.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Caught in the trap

Why is it that, even though I recognise how shallow and petty and materialistic most of the concerns of westerners my age are, I always seem to find myself getting caught up in them?

I don't need to explain to anyone reading just why materialism is so wrong, how we are conned into thinking that buying posesions is the route to our happiness. I don't need to articulate how ridiculous it is that the female natural form is considered grotesque, that we feel the need to shave it and trim it and paint it over. In fact it makes me downright angry and frustrated when I can see how utterly screwed this mindset is and yet how deeply embedded it is within us. So why, even though I know it's wrong, do I find myself subscribing to it? Why do I get so carried away with clothes shopping that I actually feel upset if the dress I want doesn't fit me, or if I can't afford it? I know that it's just a piece of material, that it won't change my life, and that I shouldn't give a fuck in the first place. But still I get caught up in it all. And why, when I have eczema flared up and thus cannot shave, do I not want to let my bloke see me naked? In fact, why am I actually more concerned about my pubic hair in full growth than I am about the itchy painful rash? All this does is create a conflict within my own mind, where I'm constantly scolding myself for my thoughts and desires, yet my desires sometimes the better of my. And then, once I've indulged, I'm left feeling guilty and frustrated at myself.

As a feminist, this is the biggest problem I seem to encounter. The fact that sexist attitudes are so deeply embedded in public consciousness that sometimes people cannot even recognise why they are sexist. Or even when you can see what's going on, you still find yourself imposing restrictions upon yourself, find yourself kepping you and your body in-line. I thik that, truly, all of us want to break free, but just feel like we can't. When you come face to face with your enemy, it's pretty difficult to fight them when you realise it's your reflection.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fuck off you neon-legginged twats

Sometimes, something becomes just so naff and trashy and out-of-date that it is automatically cool again. "Ironic Consumption" I think think the big marketing men in the sky call it, referring to those kids so far ahead in the game of knowing what's cool that they outsurpass it all and come back around to the completely uncool. I am guilty of this myself - I love Paris Hilton precisely because she represents everything sick and wrong and evil in society, I have brought MaryKate&Ashley make-up not because I even liked it but because I just couldn't resist the lure of that kitsch-tacular packaging, and let's not even get started on my collection of Britney Spears dolls...

But the thought had not even occured to me that I could, possibly, maybe, be pissing off someone who genuinely loves Paris and Britney and The Olsen Twins. How do I know there's not some poor soul reading this and thinking 'oh fuck you you pretentious twat, forget your stupid post-modern acts of consumerism and leave my ickle Paris alone - she means the world to me and you will never understand it because you're a pompous wanker who's just using her to try look cool.' If that person is you then I sincerely apologise, because I have recently realised just how you must feel.

Let me get to the point. If you've been paying attention to the music press at all (if you haven't then I don't balme you - most of it is shit anyway) the word on the street for a while has been the 'neu rave' phenomenon. Yup, these past few years we have been constantly told 'dance music is dead', white gloves and glow sticks have been loooked upon with scorn as the cool kids laced up their converse, smiley sweaty gurny ecstasy-fuelled faces were replaced with coked-up pete'n'kate sneers, and hands-in-the-air-we-are-as-one turned into posers standing at the back with their arms crossed trying to out-cool each other. And, oh yes, the music sounded completely different. But now, it appears the truly cool kids, in an effort to escape the media circus that The Libertines and their ilk turned into, are returning back to the dirty words 'rave' and 'dance music'. The usual indie fare, once cool, has become so mainstream and common that they've gone back to that much maligned section of youth culture in order to stay ahead of their game. Rave become so hideously uncool that all of a sudden it was cool again. Ineveitably, music journos practically wet themselves upon hearing this and wrote up long pieces of verbal masturbation under headlines screaming 'THE RETURN OF RAVE!!!'

But, surprisingly to some, rave never actually went away in the first place. It has always been here, just ignored and shunned by the mainstream. I myself am a child of rave - or at least, I became one the moment that the shy 16 year old goth necked her first ecstasy pill, became infected with the poison of loud repetitive beats, swapped her snakebite for a water bottle and started worshipping at the altar of dance music. Gone were the baggy black clothes and in came the neon hotpants, face paint and fluffy boots. Bye-bye to sitting in the pub on a friday with the usual gang, now it was all about missions up and down to country to Crasher and Sundissential. Those were some of the best times of my life and I wouldn't swap a single night for a million shitty Libertines gigs, but along with the pleasure alas came the pain. There was the fact that not many people my age were into the scene (which could be isolating at times), the inevitible near-failure of the A-levels thanks to week-long comedowns, and the trauma of having to now look at photos of myself in a cyberdog outfit with a dummy in my mouth. For a couple of years I dedicated myself to the rave scene, pledged my heart and soul to it, willingly taking on all the hardships that such a devotion would bring... such as the aforementioned outfits and the loss of my inside cheeks.

These days I'm (slightly) more grown-up and, whilst I try and attend similar events every so often, I now prefer a more eclectic mix of nights, people and music. But despite this, I still feel a strange loyalty to the scene and all that it contains over any other genre/ bandwagon/ whatever. So when a bunch of poncey fucking hoxtonites who previously sneered at us are all of a sudden jumping on this 'neu rave' boat just to look cool, it actually begins to make my blood boil slightly. Their declaration that rave is 'back', and their pre-fix with the word 'neu' just goes to show that they haven't got a single fucking clue about the scene and the music and what it actually means to some people. They are just a bunch of indie kids trying to get into the next big thing, there's nothing 'rave' about them whatsoever. I'm sorry, but please stop talking about my music as if you own it, put your glo-stick down and go back to smoking crack in Pete Doherty's squat. It suits you so much better.

The only hope is that now this eye-and-ear-sore that is 'neu' rave has been made into a big deal in the media, it is now officially uncool and thus dead and now the silly little art-school twats will have to move on to something else. What next, 'neu' steps'n'spice-girls covers? 'Neu' UK garage? Whatever it is, just keep it well away from me please.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Love Letter

I miss you, London. I'm pining.

I miss the thick smoggy smell that you have in the summer heat, that smell that gets right down in your lungs and parties with your stomach. I miss the way you look so elegant and composed with the rain dripping down on you. I miss the buzzing and whirring sounds of the traffic and the people and the lights and the screams. I miss the way you intoxicate me with your energy, the way you make me giddy with excitement at what could be going on around me as I walk down your streets, what's happening behind all your doors and windows and walls. I even miss the way you can be cruel to me, how you can make me feel so alone and afraid, so fragile and small. But yet you make me feel powerful too, you make me feel on the edge of world, like I'm about to tip over into everything that you hold and just get lost right within your heart.

I can't write as well without you around me. Nothing here inspires me and fills me up with words and thoughts and places and people in the same way that you can. You are my muse, my obsession, my soulmate, my soul, my pleasure, my pain, my light, my life.