Hot stuff? Sadly, I don't think so
Grown-ups have fiscal might and a burning fear of losing touch to assist their pursuit of terminal trendiness
Thursday 11 June 1998
The only people Fat Les will impress are the "middle youth", those 30 and 40 year-olds aching to relive the virile days of teenagerish hedonism, who read style mags obsessively and don't let kids cramp their style. Champagne socialites one and all, they spend their evenings in "hip" London bars ironically knocking back the Moet before piling into their ironic Saab to visit an ironic restaurant.
The days when you simply stopped being funky at 29 are gone. Grown-ups have the fiscal might and a burning fear of losing touch to assist their pursuit of terminal trendiness. You see them on the streets all the time, in Adidas jackets, Kangol caps and Balance trainers, record bags slung around swarthy shoulders. Except the footwear is pristine, and the bag was bought with a gold card, because these ex-ravers are now arts bosses, employed by massive companies to inject a little "danger" and "creativity" into their business.
The frightening thing is that they are quite good at mixing two worlds. They know that if you can't see your feet for your gut, it's time to get off the party circuit and onto a treadmill. They've dutifully got themselves a mammoth account with Nordic Track. They eat organic food, sure, but they wouldn't say no to the occasional line of coke. When the freshest face of dance music pops up on MTV, they can't help themselves muttering "Huh, David Bowie was doing that years ago".
And, late in the night, when the spliff's been lit and Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy" is on the stereo, you might get lucky and hear tales of their formative years in the punk era: safety-pins in suburbia.
Terminal trendies don't want to be young again, because they are in a privileged social position. But they want to read about youth, go to its gallery openings, produce its films, write about its exploits and - if they are fortunate - occasionally they would like to screw it. Luckily, though, nudity is a wonderful way of bringing these mortgaged-up movers and shakers into line with the sexual hierarchy, where lithe is lovely and turkey-necks are a no-no. A fat, naked, old man is still a fat, naked old man whether he's recently vacated a pair of Nike Mucho Expensives or some orthopedic sandals with moulded insoles. And there's nothing like a spot of impotence to put randy grandad in his place.
Even Tony Blair seems to be searching for the youth elixir, undergoing permutations in his attempt to stay interesting. We've had Camp Tony, with his dinky crop and oh-so-tender relationship with the slinky Mandyboy; then we had Cheeky Chappy Tony, hamming it up with Des O'Connor. If he really wants to get down with youth culture, why can't some Westminster drugs baron employ him as a runner? Then he could communicate with genuine young people via a system of dextrous handshakes, and give the nation a boost it won't forget in a hurry. You can imagine the headlines. "Britain Goes To Work With The Shakes". "Minister Without Portfolio - Still Dancing".
Just like groovy parents from whatever era, grown-ups try a tad too hard. They now have the money to quench their thirst for coolness, but they still look sad when attempting an entire look from a fashion mag. The parent-aged generation simply may not progress from the mindset of their mid twenties, although they'll have amassed all the accoutrements of successful middle-classdom. What'll happen to the mid-life crisis? There'll be no more trips of self-discovery to Far Eastern countries, no more recently struck-up interests in spirituality, and no sudden liking for younger ladies. They'll die unenlightened and shallow - but at least they'll have bought that essential club remix before popping it, and the wake will be the best rave-up in months.
Why not a little decorum? When you're swaddled up to the eyes in novelty fleece, it's easy to lose your dignity. Go ahead, suck in your stomach and wear that little Ben Sherman shirt and chunky silver identity bracelet. But do be sure to slip a nice sweater over the top, dears, - this temperamental weather plays havoc with one's joints.
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