I’m going into hiding

I think Osama bin Laden has the right idea: right now, I really want to crawl into a hole in the ground and wait out the decade. I’m a child of the nineties who’s old enough to remember the eighties and I’ve been born to parents who grew up in the sixties and seventies. So take it from a guy who knows: this decade has no culture. The clothes we wear? 1976 – 78. The music we listen to? 80s electro-pop, variations on the punk theme, and house (which hasn’t changed in the slightest since the 90s). The films we watch? Sequels and remakes, mostly.


Ok, so it isn’t all unoriginal. It’s only half unoriginal, the other half being crap. Each decade seems to develop a characteristic clothing shape. The current one? Exposed midriffs. Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, were it not for the fact that only the lower half is ever exposed. A girl either has a rounded stomach, so that even at its flattest she’ll always look a little fat when you can only see the bottom six inches of her abdomen, or a belly so flat that her hip bones jut out in the most unflattering manner. And yet, no-one seems to have twigged this. It’s the zeitgeist: fashion over style. Whining indie rock bands are fashionable, but they can’t give an exciting performance. Washed out drab colours are fashionable, but they flatter nobody. And semi-cropped tops are fashionable, but only 0.001% of the population were born with the right body shape for them.


But it doesn’t matter, you see, because women feel good about themselves when they look bad, so long as they look fashionable. They don’t need to dress to actually look good, because looking good necessarily means looking attractive, which is pointless in an age where men are redundant. It’s a sign of the times that ‘How to Please Your Man’ articles can be printed in Cosmo as revolutionary advice. Meanwhile, men’s magazines pump us with pictures of Calvin Klein models so that men have become even more obsessed with body image than women have ever been. Personally, I don’t fancy looking like a cover model for Men’s Health: I’m hairy and soft round the middle and I’m proud of it! I’d pine for the ‘good old days’, were it not for the fact that that’s de rigueur at the moment as well. It’s as if all the creativity of western civilisation was used up sometime around 1997.


Actually, I’ll apply that one to the world as a whole. In the far east, life seems to be an imitation of American consumerism applied tenfold; in the middle east, they blow up heretics and infidels: an idea they nicked from the Catholics (just ask Mr Fawkes); and in Africa, many interesting tribal cultures have been submerged under European genocidal ideals from fifty years ago. Back in the West, our optimistic outlook where everything was new and interesting has finally exhausted itself after four decades. It’s kind of ironic really. We spent much of the twentieth century looking forward to the New Millennium and, now we’ve got there, we seem to be hell-bent on spending this century trying to recapture the past. And where we do create something original, for once in our culturally stagnant lives, it tends to be disappointing going on outright poor. Take the common colour code for this decade. Brown. Greeny-brown. Browny-green. All this occasionally punctuated with washed-out blue. No distinction. Not the strong-but-well-coordinated colour schemes of the nineties or the pastel shades of the eighties. Even the psychedelic nightmare of the sixties was more fun. Instead, we get the worst of the late-seventies colour schemes, mixed in with some colours that would, under normal circumstances, be brighter but we’ve added in a washed out form to fit in with the browns of ’76.


The political outlook of the decade is worth worrying about too. After spending a prosperous ten years free from cold-war paranoia, here we are facing what our governments would have us believe are a hoard of militant Muslims out to destroy Western civilisation. I’m happy there’s a backlash to this because, quite frankly, there ought to be. If only that backlash wasn’t so opposite as to come full circle: militant communists pumping us with as many lies and as much propaganda as we’re seeing in mainstream politics at the moment. Meanwhile, the majority are so disillusioned with the political environment that we’ve given up voting entirely. Time was when the insane were banned from voting; nowadays, they’re the only ones that bother.


I hope this is all just a phase, that the twenty-tens will be better: more creative, more optimistic and, above all, more sane. In the meantime: budge up, Mr bin Laden; gizza speck.


~ by Scary Rob on 16 September, 2004.

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