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a time for fear
 
Sunday, July 13, 2003  
Straight Outta Clapton

walking home at midnight the other night past a hardware store and a scruffy newsagents on Upper Clapton Road and I note a fashion shoot happening outside the hardware store. In the following formation: two with camera, one with lighting, model, one 20ft behind model with smoke machine. Blasting dry ice. Model all bone and pale skin, contorting, torting, in striped leggings, black and pink, polka dot top, large round plastic earings, white. Scum and scuzz factor, all precious and edgy in The Ghetto. Does this look shit enough for you darling? No, make it look shitter. Yeah, yeah...that's the shit, that's shit! Stick your bones out, darlin'.

Goodbye Lenin.
Goodbye Coco Chanel.

Nothing to understand here. This ideal of beauty is a myth, a stylistic lie, a sleight of hand: just so thin, and transparent, like clingfilm, not even the beauty of the mundane, not even surrealist myth, not anything. Not even the lovely downbeat, or raging chaos. Not an idea there, just a response, a trope. Not extracting hidden beauty, not uncovering the secrets of an urban sublime. Flatten out paradox and tension. No exile of the wanderer, no flight and fright of discovery, no romantic/hallucinatory derive focus. No fixation, no fear, no flair.

Danny Petroni playing Shalamar, Janet Jackson, Sylvestor, Jackie Moore on Heart FM...that's flair.

All day searching through rubbish sacks and piles of waste dumped in Soho side streets and alleys near Old Street, artists looking for Art. That's not flair.

This girl I know, wears a sharp suit she resurrected from her grandmother's wardrobe, looks like something out of a Vogue photoshoot from 1929, that's flair.

People who say "let's do a thought experiment" or use words like "guesstimate"...that's not flair.

1:01 AM

 
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