FASHION / Down, out and blasted
Sunday 10 January 1993
It's been coming on for a couple of years, inspired by conscience and the movies. You can only step around duvet-wrapped bodies in shop doorways for so long before feeling the need to make some sort of adjustment to yourself. Then what happens? Gus Van Sant makes Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho, a bunch of rock groups in the Pacific north-west find themselves in the charts, and suddenly heavy boots and thin flouncy skirts and thrift-store cardigans are the answer.
Seattle's role as the new Madchester is consecrated by another new film, Cameron Crowe's Singles, which opens in London this week. Crowe, who had a job as a star on Rolling Stone at the age of 16 in the early Seventies, is a whizz at catching America's teen spirit on the breeze: ten years ago, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was the first (and cleverest) of a new generation of high- school movies; at the end of the Eighties, Say Anything was the last - and sweetest. But Crowe had made the prescient move to Seattle in the middle of that decade, and was able to watch the thing we call grunge as it emerged from the local club scene. Singles is built in episodes, divided by captions like a Sixties nouvelle vague job, and has a fine young ensemble led by the
adventurous Matt Dillon as a brain-blasted rocker and the equally admirable Bridget Fonda as his girlfriend.
The soundtrack, of course, bulges with Seattle bands. Now Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Screaming Trees are where the Manchester bands were two years ago: in the charts, and not yet ejected from the hip parade.
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, singing 'Masters of War' from memory rather than from the autocue, stole the show at the Dylan 30th anniversary bash in Madison Square Garden before Christmas, making his elders look, well, old. He seemed to be the only one who remembered that it was the 30th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis; all the rest were stuck in a more recent and less becoming past. And his jeans and sweatshirt looked a lot more apropos than the stadium-
stars' wardrobe selections.
Meanwhile, fashion people anxiously subject the defining term grunge to intense etymological analysis: grime, grease, garage, mange, dinge, the 'un' (but that's all) from punk. Most of all, perhaps, an intimate onomatopoeic relationship with the sound of a dirtied-up rhythm guitar, the basic noise of rock 'n' roll. A noise beyond noise for the look beyond looks.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant