Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The (continued) Rise of the Idiots – Super Super Magazine - Channel 4 - Monday 7th Sept

I really don't know where to start with the above clip. I assumed, at first, that it was a group of art students doing a really, really out of date Nathan Barley pastiche but some cursory searching seems to reveal that, unbelievably, Super Super Magazine is very real, and so are the wacky, entirely un-ironic funsters in this edition of the Channel 4 documentary, Three Minute Wonder. Watch it.

I could write a whole treatise on why Kassette player's oversize glasses are a fucking joke. I don’t hate these people, I just think that they are all absolute fucking idiots. I’m not saying that they should conform, for all I care they can dance through Shoreditch on to Dalston and out into Walthamstow dressed from head to toe in whatever flamboyantly unexpected attire they deem suitable.

I've changed my mind. I do hate them.

And why do I hate them? Because they are self satisfied, arrogant idiots. Idiots that are convinced that what they are doing definitely has meaning and worth and obviously gain such enormous satisfaction from their perceived 'differentness' that they never, not for one minute, question whether the stuff falling out of their brains has any real worth at all.

“Young people are fashionable yeah? So…Erm? Let me think. Why don’t we do a photo article on why old people are fashionable? Why should it only be young people that are considered fashionable? It will totally confound people’s expectations!”

London's full of tramps, yeah? Why don’t we dress some tramps in some great clothes and take photos of them? It will totally confound people’s expectations and make, like, a really profound statement about poverty.”

“Most fashion photography contains images where the clothes are the focus, yeah? So people can see and compare the clothes they would like to purchase? Well, that's really obvious. Why don’t we totally confound people’s expectations and do a shoot where we blur all of the clothes, yeah? ”

Professing to not like irony, and claiming sincerity, whilst attempting to be as ironic as possible is something that idiot hipsters have been doing for generations. Check out the clip from Fist of Fun based, I think, on the short lived 80’s anger magnet The Modern Review, then watch Dan Ashcroft lamenting the rise of the idiots in Nathan Barley, a spot on show that, brilliant though it was, was already 3 years or more out of date when it aired; a lot like Super Super magazine, which seems to be shouting about the fact that it created the horrendous shit clash that was Nu Rave 2 years after the trend has become as fashionable as rickets. Idiots move on fast.

Some of my favourite bits from the film:
  1. The way that Kassete recorder manages to both name check that she was contacted by a fashion magazine, subtly indicating she is very fashionable, and also, through word trickery, pretend that she hadn’t a clue why they phoned her up. I don’t know why anyone would think she was following a fashion. That is just how she dresses. She’s not that shallow! That bit made my teeth hurt. Also the t shirt she is holding is an ironically shit tribal design 'like a chav might have', on the cheeks of someones arse! So unexpected!
  2. “What did you like about us”, the nice Brummie pensioner asks. “the colours”, she manages to babble. Why did they shoot this bit in Birmingham? To confound your expectations!
  3. I love the 'new trend' of people wearing clothes from charity shops. 'It’s completely anti-fashion, but then comes all the way round and becomes fashionable again. Ironic really. I wouldn’t expect you to understand’. And I was really impressed when she said that she wouldn’t want to wear an Armani shirt and would prefer the Armi brand copy! She’s got so much integrity. I would totally have expected her to say that the Armani shirt would be a better thing to wear, as the Armi one is a hilarious low rent copy only twats would buy! She confounded my expectations by saying the opposite to that which was expected.

I hate them for another reason as well. A reason that Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris touch on in Nathan Barley. Because they ARE the industry. They exist in all levels of the media. They are television producers making the same fashionable crap over and over again for the 'youth market' and the magazine editors writing the same old stories, as if the stories have never been written before. They're the photographers and stylists convincing the world, as they are convinced themselves, that what they are producing is exciting and new, when it in fact it's derivative and dull. They are the commissioning editors telling script writers that the latest hit comedy show is the future, and more of the same will be even funnier and they are script writers writing appallingly lazy sketch shows and thinking them innovative, when in fact they are valueless, superficial wank. They are all those rewarded for producing boring non-ideas by artless superiors in an industry constantly in thrall to the rehashed vomit of the latest generation of talent. Talent that, with rare exception, exists on un-noticed cliche, monstrous egos and fleeting and mundane trends.

Being funny is good. That’s clever. Using irony correctly, for interesting reasons, that’s good. Making interesting statements about important things, that’s good. Making challenging art that makes people think, that’s good. All of these things are really hard things to do well, and very very easy to do badly. They are done badly every second of every minute of every day.

Most people that strive to produce something interesting and worthwhile beat themselves up over their lack of ideas, the fact that what they may think or write, or film, or make, has been thought written filmed and made a million times before. A new angle on a joke. A different way to tell a familiar story. Calling yourself Kassette Playa? Wearing hilarious over sized glasses? Designing ugly t shirts with arses on? Saying that you hate irony whilst existing entirely in a twatty London fishbowl, constructed almost entirely out of irony? These are not worthy things. Of course being fun and flippant rather than worthy is not a crime. But to do them with such a lack of self knowledge, such a massively misplaced sense of self confidence is incredibly offensive to people that know clever from stupid, which I hope is most people in the country.

Who knows if Channel 4 meant it to be a joke at these naïve young things expense? They certainly gave them enough rope to hang themselves with.

PS. All of the above, and so much more, is also why the film Juno was shit. But that is another blog post.

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