Friday, January 18, 2013

Charming People

Ah, fashion blogging that dissembling mirror! I am moved to revive this blog due to a ferment of discussion begun by Harriett of the Bright Young Twins. I have been fascinated by the swell of emergent ‘vintage’ fashion bloggers pricking the Internet like pale Catherine wheels. All titled with analgesic nouns such as Vintage Sweetheart, Tea & Lace, Violet & Vellum, Forsythia & Foxglove. ‘Mid-century’ has moved into the mainstream—nouveau riche phonies and yielding seventeen year olds alike are swaddled in sundresses splashed in invariant computer-generated florals. Yet the fetishisation of nostalgia is a conversation for another day…I want to talk about art.

I am particularly interested in Harriett’s suggestion that clothing is a creative vehicle that has afforded her a voice that she has not been able to harness in other areas of life. This I understand. Yet fashion blogging is perhaps not a congruous platform for creativity and will seldom generate a thoughtful, honest interaction.  Most commentary seen on blogs is simpering blandishments with a hyperlink to the commenter’s own derivative blog. Most blogs do not suggest dressing as a creative act. Clothing seems to be the apparatus for accessing ‘cool’—something blogging homebodies often are not.

The internet is awash with girls with Type A personalities using clothing as a template for self-control and abrogation. Those that everyday administer licks of eyeliner, coax their hair into curls, vaunt their girdles, stockings—those who must conform to an era so completely that it restricts them or rather it is used as an unquestioned constraint to simplify inner chaos. There is no freedom and therefore no art in this.

Then there are those bloggers with a mercurial fashion sense who clumsily ape the bloggers de jour: a gaudy tea-cup, a posy of wildflowers bobbing in enamelware, some glad-rags hung about mint-green bedroom walls.
And there are those too with an exceptional talent for mimicry, low self-esteem and a schmick camera hoping to snaffle a book deal or column.
And few exist also who display a more unique, playful take on dressing who ascribe an art to it yet seem to require blogging as a safe intermediary between the adult world of artists and the playing of dollies online.

All bloggers share a self-consciousness, a need for confirmation from others, a sharp inward gaze. All dress with mind to how they will best represent themselves in a photograph whether or not this is an imagined self or a true self is irrelevant. The unceasing search for a dress, a bag, a blouse, a hairstyle to wholly represent oneself hampers the search for a genuine self independent of possessions. This process is one of control and approval and there is little creation in this.

I do believe fashion is art but fashion blogging is most certainly not, nor is it concerned with art, it is essentially a DIY fashion rag. Artists become who you are, do not bother yourselves with the trifles of an insecure blogging set.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Gross Art

So I am returned.

Why I hate contemporary theatre: part II

So, in the past few months I have again found myself slotted into some uniform chairs, some cheap and coarse, some not so. Some stacked in graduating height, and some sadly not so. I have this dear friend, you see. He likes the 'magic' of the theatre.

I have stood beneath the frigid prism of university sandstone watching Classics students romp as Satyrs, we knew they were Satyrs by the puce cotton-filled pendulum listing between their legs (one actor had thoughtfully sculpted a flared glans at the tip of the otherwise taper-less cylinder). I viewed the show within the effulgence of a rotund man in lambent black who was not enjoying the show perhaps as much as he was enjoying sucking on the frayed meatus of his fat cigar and discharging a blue plume of ordure. His small, wet teeth glistered as he grimaced, opening his mouth slightly, like a dog, smelling the high perfume of his shapely cigar secreted within the aperture of his damp fist.

I have known myself ensorcelled by a Hecate-like director to sample a mug of arterial-red mulled wine on top of a lunch and dinner of air and believed I was rather close to vomiting upon my neighbour.

And most recently I could be seen dotted amongst the audience of the Fringe festival. Oh, what earnest treats are to be had there. I have watched two couples dismantle washing machines and bicker in a crosette of cliche. It was then that I dearly wished (Wishing Chair, take us to the nicest spot you know!) to be instead supine on the pier in Capeside by the thankfully aureate cliche of Dawson and Co. And to be contemplating the strange geometry that is Dawson's head.

Let us return to the aforementioned friend, said friend moonlights as a reviewer of theatrical works and is likely to have an effigy of him torched to the puling of Brian Molko by all the toadying DIY theatre groupies, in between polishing up their Doc Martens with spittle and the scarifying of the arms, of course.

Here is a template of the critical delights one might receive if one does not like another's art and makes it known:

Dear Reviewer,

You are an unassailable jerk. Since you do not like my art, you patently do not possess the right vintage of intellect to comprehend my art. You are certainly palsied, are without friends, and ringed by blubber. You are most obviously jealous of my singular talent. You have the imagination of a Shih Tzu. And your rodomontade makes me and my hackneyed Sharpie feel sick.

Love from Fey, Limp-Haired Best Friend of Production's 'Director'

PS: I have coralled all my Facebook fanlets and they shall send you volleys of superbly turned hate mail. So watch out, Dickwad.

As the elegance of 10 CC would have it, "The things we do for love".

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peanut-crunching crowd

In the winter’s blear I trundled off to Carlton’s Nova cinema to see Samson and Delilah. I waited in a ruck of bodies, all with choc-tops in hand. I should know better than to see a film in a full cinema. The sibilant gentleman next to me had a musical nose. I always seem to sit next to morons who like to offer up slow-witted commentary—the pair behind me bleated their feeble observations, ‘He’s done his work for the day…’. Then there’s the imprudent guffawing: the popcorn-munching crowd laughed robustly at awkward moments and at the quotidian—as if the scarfing of popcorn necessitates that one must have a jolly time. The chortling group seemed terrifically pleased with their acumen when a bridge-dweller swigging cask wine cautioned the teenagers not to inhale petrol as it ‘will rot your brain’. Complacency effloresced as people clucked their tongues at the standoffish white coffee-drinkers for shunning the black beggar girl.

As the credits rolled, people collected their belongings with a cheery lightness, as if they’d done their charity bit for the season. So the kid with the circle of black paint ringing his mouth will still cause people to cross the road as he approaches And the slight, long-haired indigenous woman will continue to pace Brunswick Street singing ‘Happy birthday to me’, dollarless and jumperless.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The tamed shrew

So the Mad Men ferment begins with Vintage Verve's espousing synthetics and meekness.

Let's all fetishise typists, nylon stockings, girdles and being ancillary to an owerweening cad in a suit!

Now, which partisan bloggette will follow in tow?

My next post shall address the colourless bloggers and their 'thrifting' the palatable aspects of Grey Gardens as assisted by HBO, of course, that is, headscarves and charming kookiness not decrepitude, flea-ridden squalor and a pair of old shrews. It promises fun.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A family romance

Ah, I believe I’ve found a kindred in the old dame A. S. Byatt. Somehow her deflating 2003 review of Harry Potter managed to pass me by. Here is a snatch:

“Auden and Tolkien wrote about the skills of inventing ‘secondary worlds’. Ms. Rowling's world is a secondary secondary world, made up of intelligently patchworked derivative motifs from all sorts of children's literature”.

Neatly wrapped contempt within lolly-pink foil. She goes on to say sans wrapping:

“Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, 'only personal' .”

I loathe J. K. Rowling and think she should be shearing her royalty cheques into strips to mete out to the likes of Susan Cooper and the estates of Roald Dahl and Tolkien.

Thanks, Antonia. I may now look upon your new novel beyond simply remarking that its jacket could be confused with one of Rushdie's chromatic muddlings.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Off with her head!

I am simply crestfallen. I have just learned of Tim Burton’s nascent literary decreation: Alice in Wonderland. He has cast some twenty-year-old waif as Alice, as well as his stock duumvirate of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. High hopes I have none. Tim Burton’s ‘vision’ has been cockeyed and substandard for years.

Jesus, whatever happened to all those baseball cap-wearing, Coke swilling screenwriters?

Some other planned
Hollywood befoulements I’m not eagerly anticipating are:

Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are
Adiga’s The White Tiger
Nick McDonnell’s Twelve
Douglas Coupland’s Girlfriend in a Coma
Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children
Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi
Colette’s Cheri

Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The world is not a stage

Tonight I took in a play, well, two. Below I proffer a few reasons why visiting contemporary theatre chafes me so.

Having to pointedly ignore embarrassing exhibitionists who spin about in circles with arms askew in the foyer during the interval as if they were some halcyon flower-child of the sixties.

Having to pointedly ignore embarrassing exhibitionists who project their unilateral conversations as if the foyer were a stage for their fulsome overweening monologues.

Having to endure self-conscious sex scenes and prurient diatribes because the director believes such things to be terrifically progressive—Lally Katz’s works are a prime offenders. Having also to sit in the dark next to strangers who squirm about lustily in their seats I find rather disagreeable.

One thing I do like is determining who in a pride of females dressed in facsimiles of one another (tan leather Oxfords, tight jeans, red knitted jumper and tan tooled-leather bag) is the matriarch, whom the other girls defer to, and defer they simply must seeing as they subscribe to a dress code.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The dress of thought

Apparently Three Thousand's 'adjective' of choice is 'cold as a witch's tit'. Just goes to show that kids with nought but an arts degree do not make for superlative editorial pickings.

Perhaps Mr Strunk could shepherd them from ugly solecisms. Or perhaps not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fame is vapour

Dear Dylan Moran,

So it is with regret that I must say that you are a churlish coxcomb. Why, why, are comedians unfailingly unrelenting jerks? I love Black Books: I’m mad about that unlikely trio and their boozy skylarking. It is the only television show that sees me laughing aloud. But, Dylan, we are through.

Last weekend I had the displeasure of your patronage in my bookshop—apparently you do share an enthusiasm with crusty Bernard Black: reading and a vagrant’s love of plastic shopping bags.

When a bespectacled bootlicking girl wheezed and frothed all over you like a ghastly many-tiered wedding dress, you seemed to take it with marked aplomb, and I thought, oh, I’ll not make a fuss of the chap, poor dear thing. But apparently you suffer idolaters gladly.

You then spent much time scrutinising the shelves, hunkering down on all fours (this gesture demonstrated that you really do take a delight in books). After some time of browsing you minced over to me, your moue told me that it patently nettled you to converse with the lowly shop girl. You then muttered like a half-witted child the name of some terribly erudite Romanian theorist and then when I remarked that I was sorry that we did not stock said theorist you questioned whether I could follow my own cataloguing system or indeed type on a keypad. I wish that I’d pushed you out the store with a broom.

When you left with your purchase, a dullard’s comic book, which some might call a ‘graphic novel’, I felt somewhat mollified.

So, jackanapes Dylan, this is the end of our affair. I will not call on you again.

Please give my best to Fran and Manny,

Ms Vitriol

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

“What a deformed thief this fashion is”

So, the much-anticipated Mad Men will be screening on free-to-air television this Thursday evening—and it is palpable, we are certainly to see blogs and the local aping high street awash with girls turning out their earnest and embarrassing studies of Joan Holloway and co. Nasty elasticised polyesters shall rule over silk in yet another show of how the current film world really does govern our collective imagination—how we require it to hold our hand, to direct us to the otherwise unheeded charm of ‘60s seersucker and shirred skirts.

Thus thanks to the small screen a new generation of women will be trying their hand at sixties prim-and-proper. Ladies, these garments do require girdles, diet pills, below-the-knee hems, and perhaps a copy of Bettina Arndt’s new manifesto.

To be concluded post-Mad Men screening.

Friday, April 10, 2009

“Fashions, after all, are only induced epidemics.”

Why the fuck is fur careening down the cat walk once more? Why are erstwhile ignored ratty mink stoles suddenly generating bids on eBay? Why are revolting pelts being fashioned from gorilla hair? I am just too shocked.

Insipid Gwyneth Paltrow is exhibiting yet another of her ad hoc personalities—from morose wunderkind, to misunderstood, droll poetess, to vocal vegetarian, to preppy ambassador of
luxury label Tod’s. Ensconced in fox fur and an assortment of dead things, she is touting to all the ingenuous, pliable dull-young-things—those who announce that they actually have ‘style icons’—that fur is a small extravagance, something to covet in these times of economic doldrums—and as we know, a girl likes to have her ‘little luxuries’ in recessions. Fur is no longer the tenure of the truly well-heeled, any floozy with a credit card can by herself some cheap Chinese fox or bunny and not cast her mind to how a cache of animals had their coats excruciatingly expelled from their bodies whilst they were alive and remained skinless and breathing for many minutes after.

It seems as if campaigning was just another pose of the impressionable fashion drones. Remember those ‘90s PETA advertisements ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’ that adorned every glossy magazine? Remember Giorgio Armani declaring he’d never use fur again? I even recently noticed that the over-crowded mess-hall that is Fitzroy’s Vegie Bar is now serving up chicken—it seems vegetarianism belongs with the bar’s dated ‘90s d├ęcor.

I cannot believe people sample values and lifestyles for fashion. We’ve had lesbian (strictly public pashing) for fashion, I’m an intellectual: I wear spectacles. What other egregious posture is next, prosthetic appendages?

During the war-time recessions women drew a kohl stripe the length of their calves to simulate stocking seams. If times get tougher will we see women saving packets of their hair and pet clippings to paste crudely with horse-glue to their balding tippets and coats? I do hope so.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Let us not then speak ill of our generation...let us not speak well of it either

Dear World,

Let us not look to Hollywood adaptations
of our favourite books for our daily dress.

Recently, I spied an obtuse-looking lad photograped in mismatched tweeds announcing that his 'style' was borrowed from Brideshead Revisited—the film. Oh, goody, I thought, please, please let me be encircled by yet another lather of unlettered dullards. Do let's be ensorcelled by the surly onscreen charm of Sebastian Flyte. Let us dress in waistcoats, starched yolks, Oxford brogues. But let us not read one page of the original work, although do let us carry about said work in an oiled-leather satchel.

Let us look too to that ridiculous moving picture of the love-letters of Dylan Thomas, The Edge of Love. Let us all admire Sienna Miller's moue but not the dipsomaniac's sullen art. Let us now wear tea dresses and scratchy cardigans. Let us buy beautiful fifties cotton sun-dresses and take the scissors to their knee-length hems.

And let's look onwards to Kubric’s apple-cheeked Lolita--a favourite of the girl-blogger. A proliferation of girls snapped in heart-shaped specs and slick mouths are popping up everywhere. Let us look to emulating sexually precocious twelve-year-old girls and to Chuppa-chups, and to malt and French fries.

And if we must read, let us look to all fictional floozies. I am made rather uneasy, indeed, (as is Ms Susan Faludi) by a staggering number of women exhibiting an eager return to the feminine—the domestic—the feeble. Local fashion bloggers have been piping in unison that Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby is a ‘literary crush’ of theirs. Insubstantial, flimsy, cotton-wool Daisy. Daisy: a figurehead for all the vapidity and callousness of the roaring twenties. Do let's look to Daisy and take her remark, "[...] a fool--that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." as sterling instruction.


Monday, March 30, 2009

"Out of the ash / I rise with my red hair / and I eat girls like air"

Dear we-all-know-you-don’t-need-those-glasses second-year girls,

I am so frightfully tired of your mousy, guileless utterances of,

“I used to be obsessed with Sylvia Plath, but now I’ve outgrown her.”

or as an exemplar of the solemnity and exquisite vintage of your taste,

All the girls in my poetry class list Plath as their favourite poet.”

Excuse me? Was it your mastery of poesy and Ancient Greek arcana that lead you to 'outgrow' her? Or perhaps you tried your hand at some sudden glistering adjectives, or was it the impossible nadir of your first-year heartache over jejune art-school poseurs in slack-assed black jeans that saw you vaunting above the cinders of Sylvia Plath.

Girls, I have read your juvenilia—your flat-footed whimsical pieces in local self-published vanity rags and I assure you your fondness for the words ‘oneiric’ and ‘liminal’ does not see you superceding Plath.

I’m so bored of qualifying why I like her work to you twerps with half an arts degree, you who have now ‘moved on’ to proliferate your shelves with unread copies of Deleuze and Zizek.

So, kindly please surrender Sylvia from beneath the friable accoutrements of your insufferable clever-girl phoniness: newly acquired glasses, cupcakes, leather satchels and a yen for ‘discourse’.



Monday, January 26, 2009

The lady doth protest too much!

So, I have arrived.

In the coming weeks I shall opine my distaste for a hatful of horrors, some, not all, of which are:

  • poseurs who wear spectacles sans lenses;
  • sub-literate girls who like to collect vintage novels for the cover art;
  • toadying morons whose scant interest in reading is indigenous only to the latest Hollywood molestation of some classic book;
  • Baz Luhrmann's intention to re-film The Great Gatsby;
  • an imbecilic article in the obnoxious magazine Russh (Feb. '09) which trills "It's stylish to be well read!". It suggests Nabokov's Lolita is "light and summery" amongst other egregious tripe such as taking a copy of Baudelaire on a date even though the readers of said magazine possess the reading-age of a slow nine-year-old child;
  • fashion blogs that exhibit not even a modicum of talent, blogs which use thrift as a verb, as in, "Unremarkable '80s polyester shift and men's tan office belt thrifted from Savers, inspired by Sex and the City whose approbation of 'vintage' dressing has informed the slipshod, unflattering and crudely matched way I now dress".

So, why not fetch a madeline and pleat your lips to a scowl.