Thought For The Day
Thought For The Day
Hip And Ham
I've been reading Glenn O'Brien's Notes On Hip, from the excellent Soapbox: Essays, Diatribes, Homilies and Screeds, 1980-1997 (Imschoot Uitgevers, 1997).

'You can be young without being hip, but you can't be hip without being young,' O'Brien says. 'You can stay young as long as you're hip.'

Right now I'm listening to a Smylonylon compilation tape. Smylonylon is a secondhand clothes store on New York's Lafayette Street. They changed the name, so now it's called Center For The Dull. They're anything but.

They have a studio in the basement where they make zany synth records with a band called Family Of God. The guy who curates all the nylon in the store and sings with the band is a middle-aged Welshman of unprepossessing appearance called Chris Brick.

Chris, although not young, is hip in a very late '90s way. He is hip enough to have been around and aware when a lot of the records pop is currently recontextualising were first released. Listen to Stardust and Cassius, and then listen to a Smylonylon compilation tape (they sell them in the shop). Mr Brick is hip enough to know that we can love something and be ironic about it at the same time. We can remember the original context something had, and also be happy about its recontextualisation.

Like me, Chris Brick will be young as long as he is hip, and hip as long as he knows how to walk along this double-edged razorblade, which is the cutting edge of both popular culture and the avant garde. The bad is the good, the old is the new, and the trashy is serious as hell.

But, like me, Chris should never forget another observation of Glenn O'Brien's:

'When a hip gets cut off and smoked, it's a ham'




Person Of The Month
Liane Balaban
Aged 18, Liane Balaban has just played the lead in New Waterford Girls, a film directed by Allan Moyle (best-known for 'Pump Up The Volume'). This film, shot on Cape Breton, will be premiered at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival. Liane is sure to become the 21st century's answer to Audrey Hepburn and Winona Ryder. I'm a bit reluctant to share her with you, actually, but here she is. Because, as Devoto once put it, 'I desire you for ever... and everyone'.

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