i thought i’d be all cool and do a gordon ramsey and just add random amounts of salt and pepper to my dinner cos i looked good, and i was like wooo yeah i can cook, and i was like JAMIE OLIVER MOVE ASIDE, JADE IS IN THE HOUSE
then i tasted my food.
it tastes like pepper
i frikin’ hate pepper
i’m such a twat sometimes.
Glad to see cooking is still an unknown art to more people my age than just me- i decided to start cooking Jamie Oliver’s own spaghetti bolognaise at 10 o clock in the evening thinking it would take 20 minutes; little did i know it took 2 hours to cook….thought of it as an early breakfast :S
It hasn’t taken long for these attempts to seriously pitch the most generic of mass-produced products as punk-rock lifestyle choices to elicit sneers from those ever-elusive, trend-setting cool kids, many of whom had already moved beyond indie by the time the brands caught on. Instead, they were now finding ways to express their disdain for mass culture not by opting out of it but by abandoning themselves to it entirely —but with a sly ironic twist. They were watching Me/rose Place, eating surf ‘n’ turf in revolving restaurants, singing Frank Sinatra in karaoke bars and sipping girly drinks in tikki bars, acts that were rendered hip and daring because, well, they were the ones doing them. Not only were they making a subversive statement about a culture they could not physically escape, they were rejecting the doctrinaire Puritanism of seventies feminism, the earnestness of the sixties quest for authenticity and the “literal” readings of so many cultural critics. Welcome to ironic consumption. The editors of the zine Hermenaut articulated the recipe:
Following the late ethnologist Michel de Certeau, we prefer to concentrate our attention on the independent use of mass culture products, a use which, like the ruses of camouflaged fish and insects, may not “overthrow the system,” but which keeps us intact and autonomous within that system, which may be the best for which we can hope…. Going to Disney World to drop acid and goof on Mickey isn’t revolutionary; going to Disney World in full knowledge of how ridiculous and evil it all is and still having a great innocent time, in some almost unconscious, even psychotic way, is something else altogether. This is what de Certeau describes as “the art of being in-between,” and this is the only path of true freedom in today’s culture. Let us, then, be in-between. Let us revel in Baywatch, Joe Camel, Wired magazine, and even glossy books about the society of spectacle [touché], but let’s never succumb to the glamorous allure of these things.
In this complicated context, for brands to be truly cool, they need to layer this uncool-equals-cool aesthetic of the ironic viewer onto their pitch: they need to self-mock, talk back to themselves while they are talking, be used and new simultaneously. And after the brands and their cool hunters had tagged all the available fringe culture, it seemed only natural to fill up that narrow little strip of unmarketed brain space occupied by irony with preplanned knowing smirks, someone else’s couch commentary and even a running simulation of the viewer’s thought patterns. “The New Trash brands,” remarks writer Nick Compton of kitsch lifestyle companies like Diesel, “offer inverted commas big enough to live, love and laugh within.”
Plenty of Saturday-morning-cartoon kids have grown up into Saturday night-club kids, fulfilling their longing for plastic fantasy with earnestly ironic Hello Kitty backpacks and Japanimation-inspired helmets of blue hair.