I’m not the kind of guy that regularly quotes Chandler Bing (‘Could I be anymore of a Friend’s nerd?’) but the character was rather on-the-nose with the statement:
“The bottom line is smoking is cool and you know it.”
He wasn’t wrong, and you know that too.
Smoking is cool.
This is undeniable.
One can gauge this from the perpetually fag-in-hand look-at-me nonchalance that the greatest heroes of our age have espoused because…they’re cool.
John Wayne (plus denim jeans).
These outstanding instances of masculinity/cool are the benchmark for our performance as a species. If we’re never going to be as cool as these guys were when they were smoking; shall we bother continuing?
Thus, we keep smoking.
Still, there are reasons as to why smoking is so darn cool, and I’ve just taken my dog for a walk and mulled it over aloud to him.
He agreed with me completely; and who are you to deny my dog?
So, to begin, it is chemical – smoking is a drug.
There is a BBC documentary in which the presenter investigates the pleasures of smoking.
He states he in his forties, never once having smoked and is now about to partake; sat in chair with multiple leads connecting him, shirt-off and via those sucky things, to computers that beep as though they’re pretending they know what they’re doing.
He ignites and is immediately coughing and spluttering (the only two things that are ever mentioned whenever smoking is initiated by the uninitiated) as though he’d never smoked before; which he hadn’t.
It cuts away and then back to him a moment later, reclining casually and with the smoke-filled lackadaisical grin common of those realising that this pleasure is relatively cheap, thoroughly enjoyable, completely legal and suddenly making him feel a good deal more-cool than he had ten minutes earlier.
He is converted to the factual pleasure of smoking by sheer experience. Well done him.
The rush of nicotine is one thing, but also consider that when smoking you’re not breathing and the lack of oxygen makes you a tad sleepy till the second second’s blast of nicotine hits again, the heart pumps and the pupils dilate and you take a moment for a breath of fresh and freeing oxygen before plunging back to the depths of the sedate-party that keeps you up all night.
If you hadn’t noticed by my prose, I used to be a smoker.
And now I’m distinctly less cool.
Then there is the pop-culture aspect.
Hemingway and John Wayne (plus denim jeans) – those guys, via TV, film, and the occasional strangely erotic magazine centrefold, emerging out of the mist, accomplished and horny (yikes) and ready to either gun you down like the script says to or write the script that says to gun you down; either way they’re smoking. And utterly cool.
And then one cannot deny the impact of the local popular minority, whom (at the typical teenage age) smoked themselves to blackened pieces in an effort to be an even more popular and more minor minority to such a degree that you wanted to be a part of it.
Their smoking was influenced and an influencer of all of the above and all of the below and if you didn’t start smoking because of other people standing near you then you’re an individual and I tip my hat to you.
There is also the mind’s being influenced by the physicality of smoking.
Don’t forget: sticks, stones and humankind were born perfectly for breaking politician’s bones and they’re wary of this.
One day, like guns and knives, the daily walking stick will be considered (rightfully so) a lethal weapon and shall be controlled by the central powers.
Holding a stick or a stone fills one with a sensation of capacity to affect.
With a stick or stone in hand, things happen as you decide them to, and the ancient feeling born from this is of confidence.
Have you ever held a handgun?
I have, and I felt distinctly un-fucked-with for those few minutes.
Smoking slots into this category, in terms of sensation akin to holding a gun/phallus and in terms of being removed by central powers.
Psychology all comes down to waggling your stick and waggling your phallus, in a smoking area or not. Man and woman, the cigarette is an emblem for the masculine phallus and it’s a pleasure to waggle.
Not only that, but a cigarette is a penis and a nipple.
Like a fish or a fat guy, having something in our mouths creates the illusion that we are safe according to the fact that we’re apparently eating.
The illusion of eating makes us feel better, and a cigarette re-enacts for us eating at our most secure; in our mother’s arms, sucking on her nipple.
In other words: smoking feels like home.
In additional other words: smoking feels like home and you also get to waggle your phallus around.
Cigarettes are one of the only things that you light on fire and then proceed to place in your mouth. And that’s cool.
Not to say that things are improved once aflame, but there’s no denying things become cooler when fire is involved.
It is natural too.
We are the sort of species to find something, plant it, grow it, eat it, wear it, smoke it, inject it, and plant it again. Ancient cigarettes, entirely made of leaf, are something I can create and thus relate to.
I cannot, however, create a vaporizer. And so, accordingly, I want nothing to do with them.
Plus they remove the masculine/slightly acrid flavour of old shag and replace it with the doing-no-good-for-anyone marshmallow-rainbow-blossom flavour whilst you also look like you’re sucking a robot’s dick.
And that’s not my kind of cool.
They’re not our overlord’s just-yet. Let’s hold fire on the robot-dick sucking. Your toaster doesn’t hold such sway at the moment.
Finally, don’t smoke; it’s not cool for people who don’t smoke.
“Oh I simply must have my noxious intake in which I brood; a 48-year old cool kid that’s standing up against THE MAN (who doesn’t want cancer)” is the pro-smoking argument and it can simply either grow-up, fuck-off, or fuck-off in a grown-up way.
It’s not so much the fear of cancer, or even the wimpy argument that comes from a determined smoker…it’s the large smelly stage effect that you’ve just heaved out of your insides floating its way towards me down the street as I exit the building.
And that’s not cool.
Ultimately, despite being distinctly uncool, smoking is perhaps the coolest things a person can do; and that is why it’s still here.
Whaddaya gonna do?
Apparently it’s also bad for you – so perhaps it’s best to avoid.
Either way; LIKE and FOLLOW 🙂
There are somethings that are missing from yesteryear (which was apparently at some point in the mid-fifties) that this world is in dire need of.
Sense of community (“sure”).
Being able to fix your own car (“uhuh”).
Children playing in the streets (*yawn*).
And the only food that was bad for you was too much for it (“and who really gives a basket of warm, fluffy fucks?”).
Not to mention that there’s no real music anymore…
Perhaps the problem is that these are issues whined by those who came from those times and are now, regrettably, dying to the tune of some K$sha ballad whilst their grandchildren are too fat to get out the door and play in the streets where they will be preyed upon.
What we need are some new things to miss from the past.
Such as Leagues.
Why aren’t there any Leagues anymore?
There used to be Leagues bombarding your front doorstep with still-warm prints of their latest campaigns to do away with this or to bring forth the that and many other times simply stating their existence as any good League surely has the right to do.
And I refuse to permit any form of online gaming groups to be classes as a League on the grounds that they are useless (thus far), proffer not even a single leaflet and really are simply not the sort of people you’d want to be stranded with in a dark zombie-strewn forest.
Keyboard skills do not translate well to activities that do not require keyboards.
More activities without keyboards; they’re long missing too. I’m now at the stage at which writing with a pen hurts my hand after only a few sentences and I – being cursed with verbiage – am left feeling overly impassioned by the toll and toil of my inky craft in what amounts to the longer nouns on my shopping list. I’ve stopped buying croissants as a matter of…it hurting.
Croissants are the food of the typing-types.
And Messiahs. There used to be tonnes, as though it was raining with Messiahs and we were up to our blessed ears and had our holy hands full with the constant barrage of those who had come elected by their own relative Almighty and were seeking my salvation and bank account details (plus free cool-aid).
I can cure you.
Especially your sciatica.
Just kick my dog in the face, like I do.
Of course, don’t kick my dog in the face as I’ll consider that an invasion of my personal property (as well as an invasion of my best friend’s face with your foot). And when I say ‘kick’ – I mean: nudge him in the face with your foot whilst he nibbles you. And when I say ‘dog’ – I’m referring to my Lurcher/Greyhound of whom it requires a good deal of height so as to foot-nudge properly; the effect might not be the same on your pug. But kick that too; it’s good for the species (ours).
And the species matters to me, just like it should to a Messiah.
I’m not the Messiah to canine-kind, but they’re welcome in the healing process of your sciatic nerve.
Dogs are another thing that used to be done better.
Mongrels were proper mongrels; full of salty beans and with a hint of wolf and whiff of poodle mixed together into something that wanders down the street with as much swagger as any worldly millionaire that knows that one day it’s steak and women as an evening’s entertainment – the next it’s soup for dinner and soup for romance.
The League of Mongrel Messiahs.
I’d take their leaflet.
This might be a little beside the point since you’re not in the room with me but – gosh my typing sounds good today. Although at times it can be a little stalted as I try to remember the spelling of “stalted”, as though it were a pleasing piano melody that contained an unneighbourly and offbeat pause that could ruin the piece altogether.
Perhaps that’s the key to good writing. But how should a scribble sound?
Short sharp dashes aplenty, with many pleasing whooping whirls too; just like a good signature. I’ve always felt that when writing with the passion of really writing, it should be a highly physical and audible thing with just the right amount of shoulder pulse and groove amongst the melody of those nifty little z’s and capital N’s that the young folk and Nazis are so fond of (whilst also including some woo’s for the older pups and owls; for I’ve also always felt that ‘woo’ looks like an owl laying down and imitated).
A tad off topic but somehow more to the point.
How very me.
I imagine the League of Mongrel Messiahs would have their leaflet written only by the most audibly-pleasing of writing techniques.
But which sounds most musical?
The only form of writing that provides a “whooooosh!” throughout; such an essential aspect that emails and texts insert it onto a sent message just in imitation of those fabulous flying machines.
But all I’ve got is a keyboard.
And a croissant.
And a large dog.
And what more would you expect from my League of Mongrel Messiahs?
What could be more hopeful than a chap looking to be your Messiah with croissants and a dog as such vital aspects of his arsenal?
Whilst a good-looking slogan (especially on a sash and even more especially on a slash and keeping the question mark) – I hardly think this is something to be provided by a Messiah. Promised, perhaps, but not provided.
A manner in which to wait until the final finality?
I can do that.
It’ll involve sticks and shouting, large amounts of general things, landing hard, smoking a pipe, a large ego with just cause, meadows, fishing via the stabbing method, boulders and some saintliness.
Or just some occasional blog-articles.
At least we have some new things to reminisce about now.
If you could have one attribute from another species, what would you choose?
And nothing smarmy, like the strength of a bear or the power of flight, something that puts you more into the oddity category, rather than smarmy-superhero. It has to be inconsequential in all manners aside from how it effects your humour.
I’d go with a tail – I think that makes a lot of sense for our species.
Balance is one thing, plus climbing, but mainly I think it’s about our mindset. For one thing, there’d be no more campfire stories, and hence no culture, because before we start to weave a subtle narrative from the holding-end of the marshmallow stick – we’d go: “Oh look, a tail – better go get it.”
I think mainly it’s about company. Try and spend the evening with your hair, or a foot; it’s lonely and only worthwhile if it becomes expensive and weird, but with a tail – that’s a very flirtatious and flicky sofa companion.
More tails please.
Swivel-ears? Because it’d be cute. An animalistic attribute is only really worth it if people’ll think you’re adorable – like how my wife adores how I smell like a dog stirred with honey.
I’ve a dog, Freddie, and Freddie is my first dog and that’s of great importance to me.
He’s titled: ‘My Dog’, and he responds when called that – partly because of the importance he knows that term denotes, partly because I keep calling him “My Dog”.
And Freddie does something that I couldn’t agree more with.
I cannot think of a more total show of affection than shoving your face into something with such emotional ferocity that it’s almost technically ‘eating’.
It’s as though Freddie wishes to become one with my knees, my palms, the top of my head, and I can’t blame him since those are all the most smashing parts of me.
And I’ve done this too, for many years, with my love – Jenny (particularly in the back of the neck as the sun rises).
You’ve probably done it too, when you’ve buried your face into the shoulder of a co-cuddler during a more intense an embrace, and you feel like you just want to be as close as possible that you’re quite prepared to enter their shoulder as a means of feeling better.
I can only recommend it – rub your face into the object of your affection and just see if you don’t feel well expressed.
The only issue is that I’m quite fond of dinner and I cram my face into my bowl of – it doesn’t really matter ‘of what’ – and then live with consequences for the rest of the dinner party.
So if not my dinner, and it not nuzzling on my own behalf, I’ll just take My Dog’s nuzzle when I get home from work.
I’ll take my dog’s face, because he gives it to me.
That’s ‘Brief…Therefore Witty’ enough, I feel.
It’s time to travel.
It’s time to travel because you have time to read this and, whilst this might be shooting myself in the world-dusty foot, travel is far more worth your time than anything I have to say.
And travel is worth your time, because you are worth your time.
All you ever really had was yourself and the Earth.
I think I’ll try some larger font sizes to encourage you to do it; maybe if the writing is thuddier – you’ll get to it.
Besides the talent, brains, good looks and whatever else you thought others had to their advantage, you still had yourself and you still had the Earth.
So go plunder and soak-up the soak-up-ables of this world, because of the greatest regrets the occupants of deathbeds claim (other than not learning another language – which’d is hardly comparable to travelling: you’d just end up saying you regret not-travelling in stunted Francais) – the most claimed and most rued truth is the road most travelled having been merely stomped on by yet another.
These are the times you need to think back in history, when the Earth was slightly less ancient and joining/being press-ganged into the military was your best chance of seeing the world and therein giving some kudos to the definition of ‘living’.
‘Living’ isn’t in the cubical, nor is it the job title on the door to the office you’re yet to occupy.
Nobody looks back on their life wishing they’d played more Candy Crush, unless of course it were whilst whiling away the hours in the back of a tour bus – but that’s a real waste of scenery.
I’d done a fair bit of here-and-there-ing in my 27 years of life, and whilst those times were tremendous – it was my 7 months of travel through South East Asia, Australasia, New Zealand and North America that really sealed the deal as to how I felt about Earth and why I was strolling around upon it.
Get gone and (no offence) just go away.
Now I’ve been home for several months now and have gone about day-to-day life as best I can, and thus I’ve had the time to process the experiences of my travel and what they now mean to me.
And here’s what’s key in my thinking: travel is not my everything, but my everything is very different now I’ve travelled.
It’s hard to return to the corporate world and give two tupenny tosses about the printer machine’s new button and how only Bodoni MT Condensed is the only font capable of truly expressing us as a company.
Instead, I remember flying…on a bus.
It’s an easily achievable method of motion once your driver realises that (1.) he is incredibly late for the tour’s scheduled arrival and (2.) you get more job satisfaction when you’ve put your passengers in surreal danger and gotten them out from it because you were dangerous.
We were hurtling our way through some ethereal mountain roads in Vietnam – heading north to Dalat at speeds illegal outside of South East Asia.
The view was typical of Vietnam; four feet away and consisting of a thick grey mist that a bus’s headlights couldn’t penetrate (but the rest of it certainly could at top speed) – with intermittent splashes of wondrous valleys and awe-inspiring mountains of that dark green that speaks such a wealth of nature one can only feel a little hurt at how the Earth has got so much going on besides you.
And despite our 10-moutains-per-hour speed – some corners required the nuances instilled from days as an experienced mountain bus driver. It was on one of these two-minute turns in which the passengers clenched their stomachs, buttocks and Candy Crush drenched Ipads in preparation for the imminent through-the-floor pedalling that our driver was treating us with, that I looked out of my window to see what locals were nearing the bus.
Three young children, looking very cold and very wet, took steps towards us in crappy plastic shoes, their hands upturned and out-stretched in the international sign for begging, though with that hurried professional assuredness that comes from knowing the passengers on board had gold to spare and the indulgence with which to sprinkle it like fairy dust all over Vietnam.
We knew they would act upon our pity, big eyes and little feet in even crappier plastic shoes than the last sentence, calling to us: “Please!” whilst we did our best to ignore; knowing that a dollar now meant it was less likely they’d ever be sent into school and have a chance to learn their way out of those shoes and down from the mountain.
Seeing life like that makes you put down the donut.
But what I saw next as we sped away from these three children made me want to throw a donut into the sky, thump it with a baseball bat with all the strength I could muster into the mouth of anyone who wanted to join the game, all due to the sheer fact that satisfying hunger is fine, but some things are eternally fun.
Another corner, another three children come into view, utterly and completely uninterested in the potential for making out-of-school money from enormous tourists…because they were – gleefully as I’ve learnt only people doing this can be – playing with a fireball.
They didn’t have lunch, but they sure as sweet hell had a fireball. And it was satisfying.
I don’t know where they got it from, but they had gotten themselves a fireball and were being entirely appropriate with it – picking it up barehanded, throwing it at (not ‘to’; fuck ‘to’) one another (the drizzle cooled them down), kicking it up and down the mountain and smiling their teeth into another dimension.
I’ve never seen humans do anything better than how those little Vietnamese children conducted themselves with their fireball guest of gusto, their small bundle of vibrant, amazing joy that excited them so much that hunger could go and fuck itself.
Additionally, I promise you that this is not metaphorical. They were holding a fireball and lobbing it at their friends.
I wish I had a fireball, and sitting at a desk, reading a snooty email either complimenting or complaining (I can’t be bothered to find out which) about my choice of font, I remember the two trios I encountered in those Vietnamese mountains.
The three hungry children and the three fireballers. Both living total alternatives to the life of a typical Englishman, and now I step forward knowing of them both.
That’s progress, that’s healthy, that’s an experience you tell the grandchildren about and that’s travelling.
And again, this experience was not my everything, but now my everything means something very different to me.
Travel – either do that or cure cancer with video games; one’s more likely and one’s possibly even more enjoyable (not that I’ve cured cancer with video games).
Fireballs and hunger, hunger and fireballs.
Perhaps it’s due to the trends in history that make these two things seemingly ubiquitous, or perhaps it’s simply a matter of sheer genital/national charisma, but it would seem that vaginas and the Irish are perpetually IN.
Something that is not consistently trendy is the regularity of contributions to my own blog. However, here’s a second offering to the world in my own attempts at being IN.
To begin with (as is the typical case for humans); vaginas.
I would put a very genuine bet of whatever’s thought worth wagering that vaginas have had a greater say in the sway of the world’s political, artistic, warring, scientific, economic and even mathematical tides; more exquisite than gold, more hungered for than food and of greater footing than land (meaning that you can surely rely on vaginas as a reliable foundation, and also meaning that vaginas are a tremendous location to warm ones’ toes in the chillier of an ice age night’s).
And they’re IN, as opposed to their male counterpart, which is only IN when it is victorious (aka – literally IN).
See how they’re defended, let alone fought for. A vagina is something that nobody wants to see clubbed, and whilst a penis and their accompanying descendicles give a man a shudder as a particularly villainous gust of wind flutters them about so amusingly, it is the thought of any disadvantage to the vagina that we find incomprehensible.
A good sturdy vagina is a thing of evolutionary brilliance. It has the power to eek out a full-blown baby and yank-in a man of any amount of yard, it can keep the toes warm (as previously mentioned) and can be as frosty as any other delicious treat, it smells tremendous in the fashion of a honeyed pork chop and is self-cleaning.
I cannot think of a single thing that is easier to advertise than a vagina.
If vaginas, as a clan/consortium, made rum – I’d buy it and so would you. And I don’t like rum and you’re some gay guy that I’m writing to currently, but whilst I’ve got little choice as I’m as straight as my own sex organ (slightly leftwards…and just a little rightwards; my willy’s a smashing scenic route), you choose the ‘Rum du la Cunni’ because you know it’s a brand you can trust since it comes so highly recommended.
You know the way in which your dad comes with you whilst you are purchasing your first car? Same thing really, you’re father recommends vaginas, and though they might not be your particular cup of tea with a custard cream, you trust your old man’s word.
Now, I know that the penis is an incredibly trendy piece of hard-worn hardware, but that’s only in the state of arousal known as a ‘boner’. That’s: ‘boner’.
A boner is a mightily impressive thing and is certainly how I’d start my colony on a desert island, but once they’ve reverted to being as flaccid as…an unaroused penis…they’re merely an appendage that doesn’t even flop that well (and flopping’s what it does best).
I wrote an articles previously, discussing which would be preferable as a climbing wall; again – it was the vagina that came up trumps as even in the event of a safely unaroused wall of vaginas suddenly becoming aroused; at least you’ll die with sweet smelling fingers.
It is at every single one of these points that vaginas and the Irish differ.
The Irish don’t smell that sweet, unless they’ve gotten themselves a vagina, they’re difficult to advertise (“anyone in the mood for an Irishman?”) and whilst they’ve been present at many crucial times in crucial matters – people didn’t decide to do that much because of the Irish.
However, they aren’t half IN, in fact – perpetually so.
Now I’ve been held the esteemed company of both vaginas and the Irish, and whilst both are complete charmers, it is the latter that are the conversationalists you want in your ear (vaginas are a hushed bunch aside from the occasional shouty one).
The Irish are inherently IN, despite several centuries of racial oppression, and one can tell this best by how often they were the topic of conversation.
Plus, everyone’s a little bit Irish, from India to the USA, the most commonly hyphenated racial mix is “-Irish”. “-German”, “-African” and “-Italian” have either had their day or seen a minor resurgence (“-English” is meanwhile nowhere to be seen). The Irish are amongst all peoples and people are most definitely fashionable – that’s why we haven’t had nuclear war yet.
And it is worth considering that the reason that people are so preservationally trendy is that they’re an ickle bit Irish, and thus we have Irish to thank for the distinct lack of nuclear war we’ve been enjoying lately.
It is also worth considering that should nuclear war commence then we’d all be shrouded in a little haze of green, and whilst the Irish look just swell in green – it most certainly doesn’t suit vaginas.
Additionally, the Irish are famed for distilling a certain spirit, yet I doubt it’d compete with the barrels of Cunni Rum that’d also outsell oil.
If I could have an Irish stereotype in my home – a charming chap with completely mental hair, looking slightly scruffy yet with startlingly blue eyes, lulling me to merriment with some heart-breaking melodies and then some extraordinary tales of drunken adventures, as well as that habit for getting on with all others aside from other Irishmen – then I’d get rid of that fucking plant and enjoy the new stereotype/furniture.
To be honest with you all, I started this article with the pure intention of detailing how vaginas and the Irish are perpetually IN, and whilst the Irish most certainly are perpetually IN, I’m beginning to find an imbalance in this article as to which is the more fashionable.
I don’t think its racist to say that vaginas are most fashionable than the Irish, but if it were then call me a racist; vaginas are more fashionable than the Irish.
Of course, there are many perpetually IN things that the Irish out-weigh.
Bubbles are incredibly in vogue and have been for as long as they’ve been noticed, but the Irish are better than bubbles because they can do everything a bubble can whilst still being able to fight for Home Rule so charismatically.
The Irish can float around a crowd and make everyone look and wonder where they came from, they can appear suddenly in either the most lackadaisically ebullient or rabidly hardcore of times, and have a pleasing shininess to them; everything a bubble can, plus the Irishness.
I think that’ll do; vaginas, the Irish (especially stereotypically) and bubbles are perpetually IN, albeit with a hierarchy in with the vagina is Queen of the Queendom.
Next time, should it occur, will be all about cowboys and how things always seem more appealing when wet (e.g. a wet apple is an alluring apple. Nobody asked for a dry apple).
(P.S With apologies to the Irish and much gratitude to the vaginas)
When sitting down to write about Contemporary Art, there are two things to consider of the audience.
1: Prior to the first letter being inked (or in this case – pixelated), the reader will have dug their heels into the ground, before quickly whipping said heels off altogether and preparing to stab those stilettos between the authors eyebrows.
This is true of the coupled viewpoints on the matter, from the admirers of the form, to those who are adverse to it, or rather – in quote form: “How much?”, “Load of bollocks!” And “My two year old could’ve done that!”. (Indeed, then why didn’t your genius little two year old do it then and bring his postnatal worth up into the seven-figure bracket? Two years old and such an under-performing disappointment already…)
2: They’ve already gone.
Contemporary Art is to them confusing, accusatory, kind of funny, exceedingly odd, uncomfortable and alright-I-guess, to which is added the viewpoints of the above category and thereby making their lack of presence on the gallery floor more than understandable.
I’ve been all over the world and have walked into many an art gallery in my few years, so I feel I’ve a good handle on whether or not I’ve got a opinion on the matter.
And I’m pretty sure I’ve got an opinion on the matter.
And I’m about to share it with you.
Any second now.
There’s a great deal of art that floats my boat and splendid. Well done world. Good idea on all that art you did.
And some of the art I like provokes powerful emotions and thoughts within me, and that’s also fairly smashing.
When I take a good long look at the later work of Vincent Van Gogh, I am filled with a very sad understanding of the artist; who and how he was before his thoroughly documented end.
Of course I would, I believe, feel differently (indeed – potentially not feel at all) if I were unaware of the documented (by art historians via pen and Van Gogh himself via thick globules of emotive colour) decline of the artist as a fellow.
If it weren’t for my parents, some minor schooling and a jolly good book or two, I’d think ‘Sunflowers’ was but a painting of sunflowers and that ‘Starry Night’ was a painting of a village with low light pollution.
Had it not been for all that prior knowledge, I’d have no idea about that distinct hue of ‘I-want-to-shoot-myself blue’.
It’s the same with art in a gallery, particularly Contemporary Art.
There are two facets to Contemporary Art, as follows:
1. It looks cool.
Like guns and smoking and smoking guns (and, I don’t know if you can ‘gun smokes’, but if you can, that too).
I saw a piece today that was a wooden mallet, nailed to a wall.
It looked tremendous, suited the wall very nicely, and was unforgivably cool; giving the poor mallet some of that ‘juxtaposition-medicine’. The sort of thing I’d wear on a t-shirt, although preferably inked on – rather than nailed.
Sometimes art can be cool and at other times it can be pretty, like singular strips of highly expensive wallpaper by a renowned wallpaperist.
To bring up Feng Shui (because I feel bringing it up here will really focus the article’s inner energy and help with my flow), I’d say that art can really tie the room together (as per Lebowski’s rug).
Not much to think about, like a simple absurdist joke; the point is in the silliness.
There are worse things to walk past; worse things to ignore.
2. The second facet is that they have a tremendous given explanation typed on that vital little white plaque next to the art work, detailing what you should be understanding and how you should be feeling, all whilst speaking in the definite.
You may have seen the Damien Hirst piece: ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’. It’s a shark, preserved in formaldehyde, in a tank suspended from a ceiling, whilst you look at it and think about how you cannot really configure death, only ponder about how you can muse upon it.
The use of the shark as an image of death having died, paired with the image of it frozen in time whilst we are not, gets you oh-so thoroughly.
This is an example of a sturdy bit of art, something which stirs you deep down in THERE and gets you whirring away up THERE. Just like ‘Sunflowers’, just like ‘Guernica’.
And a good deal many people know how they feel about it and these other pieces I because it said what to feel, just next to it, on a little white plaque.
That little white square of essence.
A picture paints a thousand words, but I’ve got a thousand and one words and a whole load of capital letters and exclamation marks! See!!?
This is by no means the rule of all Contemporary Art: the nice art made for walking past, the art that looks cool whilst you ignore before wearing it on a t-shirt and the art that is utterly visually moving. But for the rest of Contemporary Art…those little white squares of essence are the only tale teller.
I could say that they go hand in hand, and that one cannot live without the other, like conjoined twins sharing the heart, but although I tried understanding some of the lesser communicable pieces of Contemporary Art prior to reading the plaque beside it…I think I preferred just reading the plaque.
The thousand-word-worthy image to accompany that plaque; I can conjure that on my own in my head.
Because that’s what words cause us to do.
The writer does the hard work for these guys and gals, so I’ll keep on reading, but I want the author of those little white squares of essence to get some credit.
Perhaps the main plaque could come with another, minor, plaque, detailing the intents of the main plaque’s author and listing his or her’s previous work.
Or maybe they could really broaden the genre, and squeeze some Romance, perhaps a little Sci-Fi, maybe even a good dose of innuendo (and out-your-endo).
Either way, all I’m really trying to say is that I went to an art gallery today and I emerged opinionated.
‘Guernica’ is heart-wrenching, ‘Sunflowers’ are heartening and the little white squares of essence are at times just as informative and emotive as the art whose meaning they attempt to convey.
Here’s to Pablo, here’s to Vincent and here’s to the authors of our art.
In related otherness, sunflowers are my favourite flower; I’ll tell you why soon.
I was one of those chaps born in 1989, there are a few of us, and being one of those chaps I was perhaps too young to appreciate Ghostbuster when it came out in 1984.
Years later, when I was essentially an adult, I watched it again and found it to be…not that great.
The humour was a little meagre for my tastes, and the nerd/slacker focus was a tad uninspiring too. However, I found the creativity of the film, in ripping open the subject matter of nerds/slackers meet ghosts/history/NYC/paying the rent was tremendous; and this is the essence of the original Ghostbusters that the remake should have harnessed, rather than a mere brand name.
The film has received nastiness, nastiness inspired by revenge.
People are angry, but why so angry? Crappy films and crappier re-makes have been made and re-made before.
What’s the issue here?
Here’s the issue here.
Hurting Those Who Gave the Original Film the Prestige Sony’s Cashing in On
If you fuck with a cult film, you’re going to hurt people on an individual level if you don’t have the best intentions.
For a cult film to become so, like Ghostbusters, it requires that audience member to put a degree of themselves into their passion for it, in the same way anyone comes to love any project of theirs. So when someone (Sony) takes it and twists it, not for the better, you’re taking and warping a degree of that individual and in many cases it is their childhood or loner-hood.
Films can go from neglected to beloved by the power of the many individuals who come to love it and espouse its qualities and worth; best example being “The Big Lebowski” (my favourite).
The women and men currently in their 30s, those for whom “Ghostbusters” holds nostalgic and personal value, are smarting from not only the poor quality of the film but more so because now Sony has done it to them.
Want to know why they’re pissed off? Google “Ghostbusters” – see what comes up.
The Gender Issue
It wasn’t an issue.
It was an issue for one group only.
The audience didn’t care that it starred women, only the studio did. You can’t take a beloved film and have 1 new addition, otherwise it is simply cashing in on the former’s reputation.
“Ghostbusters…This Time With Women!” didn’t need to be made. The studio’s highlighting that this time it’s got women as stars is not a selling point – it shouldn’t matter if it is men or women starring; gender of the cast should not be a selling point.
Doing this only goes to offend the nostalgia fans, the feminist movement and the audience at large because it’s meagre and a pointless transformation.
Gender should not be a selling point and the studio have insisted to the contrary.
By all means, make a film starring solely women, but don’t try to make that the reason we should go and see it. That’s shoddy marketing and an insult to us all.
The best intentions for a film like this should be that you wish to go by the old mantra: similar but different.
You’ll want to modernise the film in terms of what will gain 21st century audience attention span along with 21C humour, whilst also keeping the essence of the original.
In this case study, Sony did not have the best intentions and sought only to cash in on the brand name’s prestige and inject minimal creative additions: gender (ir)relevance and crappy 21C fad humour.
Awkwardness is not funny, as the abysmal yet sadly typical trailer demonstrates.
Just look at the work of the great comic Sasha Baron Cohen, who’s “Borat” and “Bruno” exemplified tremendously that awkwardness is an eventuality – not an objective – of comedy. If it doesn’t come from a funny premise, it is merely awkward and that’s not worth anyone’s time. Cohen’s characters always came from a humorous premise and this is why the films were funny, whilst their hallmarks of awkwardness were an eventuality – not the objective and not the selling point.
Something to be born in mind here are those involved who are not to blame for Sony’s actions.
A good cast of actors, each with a promising future and dedication to their craft have been hoodwinked into believing this is going to be a quality product and have likely given this project their all, as have all those many names in the final credits of the production.
You can only do what you can do with a shitty script, poor direction and production, especially with an awful overseer in Sony.
They don’t deserve hate.
Given better projects, they’ll likely shine and we should wish them all well.
They will have learnt this bitter lesson.
Sony will probably do this again, as will other studios.
What to Do Now
Well, if you liked the original Ghostbusters, watch it again, laugh and remember, alone or with buddies.
The original film, or rather the “Good Ghostbusters” hasn’t gone anywhere.
It’s still there in all its 1984 glory.
So be sure your kids see that one first, and perhaps see what you can do to get the “Good Ghostbusters” higher in the Google rankings.
Go see the next Melissa McCarthy film, the next Paul Feig picture and even the next Sony release.
The might be good, might be horrendous, might be great. You’ll never know unless you go see it and give it a chance. If it’s rubbish; go home and watch the “Good Ghostbusters” again.
Let it fade into obscurity, just as this film shall, and relax.
Jeez, I don’t like either of them anyway.