Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Yorker, Misspent youth, etc

The most money anybody ever spent on me, whilst this blog was a popular and happening thing, was POP magazine. I am unsure if POP magazine exists anymore. It probably does. I never liked magazines very much (even when this blog was a happening thing)- I couldn’t get used to the ads and the terrible and inevitably breathless prose. The only magazine I read is the New Yorker. For years I would go to whatever library happened to be nearest to where I was living at the time and religiously read it, paying attention to all the current exhibitions and goings-on and the delightfully snarky comments hidden between lines of holier-than-thou well-fact-checked reporting. The library nearest where I lived in 2010 had a pile of old New Yorkers dating back to 2005: I took all of them. I carried them up the hill (like Kate Bush, but not running) in plastic bags and they ended up as a vast stack beside the toilet of the place we were living. The house was a depilated Victorian villa, which at some point during the 60s had been cut-up randomly into two flats. The fellow in the flat behind us lived somewhere else, and used his flat almost exclusively to brew beer. He made weed beer once, and gave me some to try.

-Weed beer! I said
-Yeah,  dock weed he said
-Oh, I said.

Dock weed, you see, contains a good quantity of vitamin C and as such was brewed by sailors to prevent scurvy. It tasted like one of those vitamin C pills people take around winter (you see them advertised in health shop run by women who smell like incense). It tasted suspiciously healthy. It probably would be worth marketing to people who eat kale (I realize kale jokes are old by now, but will there be any vegetable more iconic than kale is to the first two decades of this century? Coconuts, though not a vegetable, are perhaps a contender but kale is to our generation as turtle soup was to the Victorians).

I read most of the New Yorkers with great vigour. Outdated New Yorkers are great- especially reviews of restaurants which have no closed and profiles of things which are not a thing anymore (zunes, ipods, etc). One can gather a similar thrill from reading old NY Times fashion reviews of houses which do not exist anymore, or exist in a mutilated state. Now I subscribed to the New Yorker and I do not go to the library anymore. The only good thing at the library is the New Yorkers. Each week, a nicely packaged magazine comes, and I throw away the shrink wrap and I am up to date on the soylent situation or whatever. The library near where I lived has been changed somewhat, and the reading there is no good anyway.

My short digression on the New Yorker (and my love of it) is mostly to reflect on how absurd it is that I, one who is indifferent to magazines, was paid for to go to London and make some kind of pull-out poster zine with a bunch of other people. I don’t hate magazines. I was simply raised to believe they were too expensive, much like cafĂ© food, and buying things “full price”. It is hard to rid myself of this nature, but I am progressing. I have spent around two hundred (NZD) on an alarm clock, and a hundred dollars on a candle (the candle smelt nice). The only magazine I ever purchased was the POP magazine I was in, because they never sent it to me. Logistics, etc.

Tavi was invited to go to London, and she ended up being on the cover of said magazine. Tavi invited me to tag along, and her friend Laia, and her friend Arabelle, who couldn’t come, so Elizabeth came along instead (now Elizabeth makes amazing ceramics: I know because of facebook).

I was sixteen and wore t-shirts and jeans and everybody dressed better than me. A driver in a black car took me from the airport to the POP magazine offices, which were down a nondescript street near a storefront with scale models of luxury yachts (they probably couldn’t fit the full-size yaughts in, ha ha) and one of those ubiquitous sandwich shops with a star logo. Several years after London I lived in the UK, and those sandwich shops were still around. The British must really like sandwiches.

We sat on a rooftop balcony and bottles of Evian seemed to aperate before us. We met a photographer named Jamie J! who had long hair, the kind Sirius Black might have if he were a hip! happening! fellow, and a similar squint to Marco Pierre White. Later googling would come to show that Jamie J! had a hit single (and only released one single). It was a cover of Walk on the Wild Side. Thereis a fantastic video which goes with  it. Jamie J! used film and had a nervous assistant who put new film into his cameras for him. He gave us each a copy of Buffalo, a book of photos from the 80s almost entirely of young attractive men. Perhaps he thought of this as his CV, because nobody else had heard of him. He said “punky funky” a lot. A few days later Jamie J took photos of us in a studio. I wore a Chanel cardigan worth too much money with the interlocking “C’s” as buttons, and big glasses.

-You look so handsome! said Elizabeth
-I mean, really? I said
-Yeah! said Elizabeth. I blushed inwardly. Elizabeth has a lot to answer for: she introduced me to Lauderee macaroons. That’s like, Big City Life, right there.

I kept the polaroids in my old violin case, along with a typewritten letter from a friend and a postcard from another friend. The polaroids made me feel less like a greasy, socially cumbersome teenager- they were like a reflection of an idealized self. A self who, obviously, could afford Chanel cardigans and big glasses.

the author, brooding and malcontent, a la Nick Cave circa Boatman's Call, circa 09

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