Us & Them
Let’s see if I can do this without swearing.
They’re coming to get us.
It’s quite hard to describe exactly what ‘us’ is. It’s probably best that I explain.
I don’t usually watch 10 Years Younger, in fact I think last night was only the second time I’d ever sat through the programme. It drew me in because the guy on the show seemed like one of ‘us’.
The guy was called Chris, he had long black hair and a matching mad old beard. He looked like he needed a bit of a haircut. And that was all that was wrong with him. He had a long term girlfriend and they seemed quite happy together, though she thought he needed a bit of grooming. He did, he needed a haircut and the beard needed a bit of a trim. I repeat, that was all that was wrong with him.
You see, Chris liked having a drink with his friends, he dabbled in a bit of DJing and seemed to like record fairs. You could imagine having a drink with Chris and talking about what music you both liked listening to.
He certainly seemed like one of us.
Oh yeah, he had bad teeth. They needed sorting out as well.
Now, if I was in charge of the show I’d have taken Chris to the dentist and then nipped into the barber shop on the way to the pub. It’d all be over in about ten minutes.
But the 10 Years Younger…cunts…decided Chris needed reinventing. Into a twat.
Veneers were attached to his teeth because the British mouth is seemingly a thing of national shame. Chris had perfect white teeth all in a line. His mouth lacked character. But that’s okay, that’s what these…cunts…wanted.
Chris was a man who didn’t overly care about fashion, he wore pretty cool t-shirts, jeans and had a quality array of trainers. That looked alright to me, he looked okay for a 35 year old man. He probably dressed a bit young for his age but I’d be accused of not practising what I preach if I slammed him for that. But, you know, those cunts weren’t having this. They wanted to craft him into a bellend.
So we – and Chris – were subjected to having to listen to a bunch of preening cocks talking about ‘seasons’ and ‘looks’. You know, a ‘this is the look cunts are going for this season’ sort of thing. And then Chris was transformed into an identikit Topman chap, his t-shirts replaced with a checked gingham shirt, jeans suitably distressed and – this is the bit when I became angry last night – trainers swapped for brogues. I felt personally insulted. Chris was now lost to us, he was being stripped of his character.
And then it got worse.
Chris had a couple of spots on his face. Nothing particularly noticeable but the 10 Years Young eugenicists will not tolerate difference, Chris had to be perfect. So they lasered his face, leaving him with painful looking scabs. These would apparently heal (only to return in later life as face eating cancers probably) but it all seemed such an exaggerated reaction to two little spots on the face, spots which were probably caused by the lank greasy hair as much as anything.
Then Chris was whisked off to have his hair sorted out. The beard was shaved totally off, which was a shame. With a little bit of beard I feel there may have been a remote hope left that Chris could have been retained for our gang. Without it he was lost.
The guy who cut his hair should have his hands removed. I’m not joking. I’ll do it myself.
Do you remember those ludicrous pictures they had in a barber’s shot as a kid? The guy with the ludicrous side parting? The man who looked nothing like any fucking person you’d ever seen? Well, they turned Chris into this guy. With the severe side parting and perfect ultra-white teeth, he looked like a TV evangelist. Dressed in Top Man’s bastardized and debased “indie” fashion.
Fast forward two years and we find Myleene Klass catching up with Chris. Hey, where is she meeting up with Chris? At a record fair? In the pub?
Oh no, we’re meeting up with Chris in a clothes shop. Chris is now a bellend.
Chris looks pretty much how 10 Years Younger left him, side parting still in place, brogues still on his feet and face lacking any character. I’ve just realised who nu-Chris remind me of, it’s Jude Law in A.I. He has that alien/robotic look, he doesn’t appear fully human.
So, what has RoboChris been up to? Well he’s no longer with his girlfriend of 10+ years, Chris is now footloose and fancy free. He is now the sort of person who talks about what clothes he likes, seemingly to the exclusion of anything else.
Old Chris appeared to have lots of friends, RoboChris doesn’t deserve any.
And then the coup de grâce. Myleene Klass said that they’d changed Chris outside to allow him to develop inside. What she was saying was that the Chris who liked music, having a drink and good time with his friends was somehow stunted, and not the person he should be. We should look down on and laugh at anyone like Chris; people who are oblivious to fashion seasons, who don’t carry a leather man bag or WHO HAVE ANY FUCKING PERSONALITY. According to the 10 Years Younger Stasi, people who are comfortable with how they dress or look and who think there are more important things in fucking life than fucking brogues and perfect smiles are deviants. We should have our imperfect asymmetrical faces destroyed, or at least cleansed of any feature, until we’re left resembling an egg. And we shouldn’t talk about music, films, books, art or whatever, we should be concerned solely with dressing like a cunt, acting like a cunt and then we must attempt to fuck as many people as possible in a meaningless fucking way. This must be the sole aim of our life.
Chris is lost to us now, he’s been taken by ‘them’. Chris doesn’t want to come down the pub to have a drink and a laugh, Chris wants to go to Top Man. Chris doesn’t want to come round to play Boggle, Chris wants to go down town to that newly opened ‘Dr!nk’ bar, where he can try and impress 18 year old girls with the fact that he is utterly vapid. No, Chris doesn’t want to come back after the pub to watch films, he wants to take this 18 year old girl home and indulge in meaningless rutting. Chris will be able to brag about it in Dr!nk tomorrow, hell, like some jizzy vampire he’ll have taken some of this girl’s youth by emptying his laser treated blemish free gloop onto her dress. But who cares, not Chris, he won’t see her again.
Of course, girls get this 10 times worse. Any girl who dresses kookily opens herself up to abuse from her peers. Any girl displaying individuality in the way she looks or dresses at school is going to be targeted by bullies. But I’m a man, and it took last night’s programme about a chap for the line to be drawn in the sand. After the Andrew Sachs affair, Noel Gallagher said it was “us against them”. He was right in a way, but he had the line in the wrong place. Noel Gallagher is one of them, not overly for what he wears, but for the damage he’s done to indie music. I’m sorry Noel, you’re going over there with that cunt from The Enemy.
High street fashion has been pinching from us for years. The things girls used to get grief for (hair slides, coloured tights, pretty dresses, vintage gear) can now be found on any town high street. The girls who used to sneer at the odd girl in class are now the same witches who hoover up geek-chic. I look a bit daft in a cardigan but they are there now in Top Man.
You can dress like us, but we can tell you’re different. It is easy to see that your heart isn’t in it.
I’m aware that I’m appearing increasingly supercilious in this argument, and I guess I’m guilty of the charge. Sorry. But over the last 15 years indie music has been destroyed by laddishness, and the attached indie scene (for want of a better term) is being stripped of any substance to it, partly through anti-intellectualism, partly because of the increasing fecklessness of society but also due to this theft of the indie aesthetic by designers, artists and musicians without any firm belief in the foundations behind it. They want to look kooky, they just don’t actually want to be kooky. That’s for squares.
I’m also a hypocrite. But I bet even Josie Long is in some ways. I get my hair cut at Toni & Guy, and I don’t buy my clothes from charity shops. If I cared about clothes more, maybe I would. Instead I buy stuff that I like the look of and leave it at that. I don’t buy clothes for the benefit of anyone else, that’s just daft.
Anyway, my own failings shouldn’t stop me from championing people who care more for what they are than how they look or appear to others. 10 Years Younger took a guy who just needed a haircut and some basic dentistry and laughed at his personality. They made him somebody more concerned with how he looks rather than who he is inside.
This is what I mean by ‘us’ and ‘them’.
One thing kept popping into my mind whilst writing this. A couple of years ago we were in the pub discussing music and several people (all of whom I liked) said that the main reason men were in bands was to attract ladies. I wasn’t overly surprised (I have met people in Preston) but I still felt slightly dismayed. I guess I still do.