STAYING IN / York on Ads: The thinker-drinker with bottles of attitude: No 48: Holsten Pils

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The Independent Culture
YOU CAN'T get more attitude than Dennis Leary, the American comedian who emerged in a modest way in a slot on Jonathan Ross's show. He's all attitude. He makes faces; he wears black jackets and he used to be shot behind wire. And here he is bad-mouthing the Seventies, a few years after the style magazines focused on 'the decade that taste forgot'.

Dennis says he hates the Seventies as he walks round a set apparently constructed of shag-pile and fuzzy felt. He picks on 'Sugar Sugar' by the Archies as an object of particular censure. He's heartily sick of it now, as he is of lava lamps, clogs and all the stuff that magazines like to disinter for their retro features. You feel that Dennis must read a lot of this stuff to inform his internal monologue. So as 'Sugar Sugar' plays on a Dansette, Dennis walks in angry circles round it developing the statement.

But he likes Holsten Pils of course, because all the sugar turns to alcohol and there's absolutely no honey honey or candy girl (Dennis's is a solitary role with a naughty hint of misogyny). And with that - a 'Who Killed Bambi' gesture - he walks through the Dansette's wire, bringing it crashing to the floor.

Although the approach is unoriginal (Guinness did a Seventies knock several months ago) and Leary is a one-note samba, he can develop an impressive rhythm, a misanthropic momentum. But the real sub-text for followers of these things, the real unspoken brutality, is that this grim Gaelic-American has replaced the charming Jewish prince, Jeff Goldblum. Perhaps Jeff was too relaxed, too smiley. Perhaps he failed to focus the surging resentments central to the core target-market group of young male 'heavy users'. Perhaps he was short on attitude. Peter York

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(Photographs omitted)

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