Friday, May 13, 2005

Cool o'clock. Here are some of the things that went through my head in the shower this morning. Goddammit where is that bathmat? My hair is looking so fucking good today. Tits too. I'm not as hungover as I should be. Alex is such a cunt. And his friends from the Shire. Touch me baby touch me tainted love. Touch me baby touch me tainted love. Tainted love! Tainted love! French toast for breakfast? I bet Tash will be wearing her cowboy boots so I'll have to wear some other fucking shoes. Dammit! I've gotta own my boots! It's kind of cruel having my friends stalk him by SMS. Oh but it's so much fun. Today I'll put red nail polish on. I should call Lucy, and also text Elaine to wish her luck on her hot date tonight. Now I know I've got to ba! ba! run away I've got to ba! ba! get away you don't really want any more from me. Shut up manslave! Mock my singing. Shit, maybe I am hungover. Two boozing sessions in a row is too much - no more boozing! But I kind of want to go to the Vice party tonight.

That was the point when my musings broke down. I was horrified at having identified in myself a genuine if brief desire to go to a Vice party. You know the hipsters have won when you want to go to their spastic parties at which they all stand around checking each other out, wearing customised 1980s clothing and insouciant expressions, or dancing to Joy Division and Andrew WK. I had to ask myself what made me want to go, and I could come up with any number of bullshit reasons: that my friends are working the bar; that I was curious because I've never been to a Vice party; because I'd like to check out the space; because there might be hot boys there.

But I knew them to be bullshit. The real reason was wanting to be thought of as "cool". It's a terrible catch-22: you want to be cool, but in the instant of wanting to be cool you've lost any possibility of ever being cool. But what blew my mink was the visceral and above all genuine nature of this desire for cool. It is paradoxical genius that Vice parties should inspire such raw and honest desires in people, because Vice itself strives for a kind of shockingly un-PC 'authenticity' but ends up seeming smug and contrived.

Hipsters valorise authenticity, but their defensive and ironic mode of interacting with each other and the world around them ensures that they can never acknowledge the authenticity of their own emotional desires and responses. The people who eagerly anticipate these parties won't ever say so - they'll go disinterestedly, "Oh, are you going to drop by the Vice party?" "Well, I might go later if there's nothing better to do." And as the dude from Wall was saying today, they won't show up until it's "cool o'clock" for fear of looking like they actually want to be there.

I felt as though this relevation of the paradoxical affect of cool was like the beaded curtain you push aside to get into a dimly lit room, where you squint at the human-like shapes you see, but frustratingly can't identify. I feel as though I'm just beginning to understand so many of the things I struggle to analyse - the ways that cultural production and consumption intersect with the rules of social distinction and the ways affective responses are shaped and shape these transactions. Now if only I was into that Deleuze character, I'm sure I'd get somewhere!

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