Sleepless, coffee-less, booze-less and jumpy, here is the museum of things in my head today. Don’t worry, I’ll put them in the dry storeroom at the back and set them alight soon.
All that science, technology and imagination that has gone into the creation of the internet and yet for many it is predominantly a baboon’s swollen backside, the opportunity to stare at what arouses us.
Here is this library of books, documents and images that is a palm held Alexandria, but we flit from the slight and the incendiary, a machine to engender fury and onanism.
When looking at things trending and news stories at the top of the current affairs countdown, I usually feel disappointment.
One, they are normally glitzy squalor, really some way from the stories that might really matter. Those stories are most probably barely written at all, unless they come into the category of world suffering PR campaigns to help grease the wheels of foreign policy. They are frippery fireworks that make us um and ooh before moving on. News is more about conversational reaction than physical action. It is a chance for us to show we care about sad things by making a sad or furious noise and then recalling that we have a direct debit with Save the Children and there is only so much you can do. You don’t see me digging wells or ladling soup from the back of a van.
Two, I still feel the lure of glitzy squalor and I try my hardest not to crane my head and see the horror as I pass it, but I do find myself clicking on the link in moments of laziness and sleaziness (for 14 seconds I looked at a Katie Hopkins trending).
Though I was fastidious in my avoidance of Miley Cyrus’s twerking, the one still I saw looked like slaughter in a sex abattoir, I did see Wrecking Ball. My alibi was wonder that it might be a cover of Neil Young’s Wrecking Ball, already brilliantly covered by Emmylou Harris. I got about as far as the fondling and licking of the sledgehammer before my mind insisted that the voyeurism must cease. I think it was most the most preposterous lustful hammer lick I’ve seen yet, tool porn at its height. I don’t know if all involved are laughing directly in the face of their consumers, or whether it’s art, or whether it is just the usual porn without genitals that allows enough blood to move away from the brain so the mind cannot scrutinise the song too much before pressing purchase in a fug of emotional confusion.
My main concern while watching was, when will we let our pop stars eat? They are poor poor vacuum sealed humanity, gym pumped and airbrushed to to the point of unhumans. I was told that unhumans is a wonderful thing for pop stars, something Bowie has. But his unhuman-ness was alien, enigmatic and captivatingly unhinged, as if he was leading, not being led.
Why are we so unimaginative in the shapes of our stars. If one is as round as the average high street human they are one step away from “being brave” to exist beyond toiling and shopping. Where are more Beth Dittos? Can there be only one aberration? I want to see stars who had the idea for their haircut themselves. This is nothing new, the makeover of those offered to us as our earthly gods and Oz wizards. All of them like Sean Connery in The Man Who Would be King, feted while perfect but once bitten and bleeding thrown down the ravine, this one made of tiresome reality TV. Some remember fondly, others remembered just enough to be punched in the queue for a nightclub.
Is it too much to imagine icons who stand somewhere between the perfect and the grotesque? Are we really so shallow that the thigh, pecs and face must be close to the imagined clones of a master race?
Will we exist for long enough to outgrow our judgement on the physical, to see a face with failed symmetry and still buy the song that it sings?
In politics too, we hear mumbling of those unsuited to by leaders because there’s something about their ears or hairloss or hairy ears. Here are some MIT rumblings on the possible importance of looks in political races – http://www.whiteoutpress.com/articles/wach/many-americans-vote-on-looks-not-issues826
We want our stars to be beautiful, but we also then want them to be revealed to be wrinkled, fleshy, scarred or bald. We demand that their looks are unreachable in our world, but we also require that they will fall. we want to envy and we want to deride. We want to aspire and then we want to gloat that they are “not all that”. Oh well, i am sure all this sort of thing had an evolutionary usefulness once, and now it can be used to sell stuff, handy that.
“The shape of a man’s body is largely irrelevant to the shape of his ideas” Neil Postman
I am off touring at the moment, see my sleep deprived mind unravel from Edinburgh to Exeter via Birmingham. Imminent dates include Aldershot, Croydon, Newbury and Shoreham. all that sort of stuff HERE