Category Archives: All

Katharine Hamnett

Original article here.

People are the most powerful canvases – you can’t not read what’s written on a T-shirt. The slogan – three words, and lettering you can read a long way off – there’s no filter which stops it. Once you’ve read it it’s in your brain.

It makes sense to make your own clothes when you’re 10% longer than you’re supposed to be. It was hard to get clothes my size, so from the age of 12 I was making them. I should have learned to make shoes, too, actually.

The fashion industry isn’t doing enough about climate change, it’s dedicated to making a profit. Doing things in a cleaner way costs more money. We need a neat piece of legislation that says we only allow goods into our economic blocs which adhere to the same environmental and labour standards as we have inside them. It’s simple.

Having your own place is the secret to a happy relationship, because then you don’t have to put up with another person’s shit taste. The most successful relationship I’ve ever had started with a pact: we had to be totally honest with each other, even our darkest most paranoid fears. We’d confess, and not play games.

Getting old is a licence to kill. You become more sure of yourself, more confident in your views. There are some dodgy bits: you still feel 25 inside as you get older, and sometimes I look at myself and think: “What the fuck happened?” I loathe exercise – but now it’s do it or die.

I used to be a compulsive liar, people could never ask me a straight question and get a straight answer. When I was on the train to see my parents in Stockholm as a teenager in the embassy brat pack, I’d assume a different nationality from the station each time. Now I’m a compulsive truth-teller. It’s a lot more fun.

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Robert De Niro doesn’t use social media

Original article here.

 

I understand why people use social media, but I don’t. No way! I don’t watch much TV or go to the movies either. To me, they’re just another distraction. And I have enough of those to worry about without all that stuff as well.

I prefer movies to theatre. I suppose I’d do a play if I could find a really great new modern one. But I love movies. You can do so much more with film and you can create an illusion. Films last, they are there forever, like a little piece of history.

Donna Zuckerberg

Original article here.

“It is without doubt that social media has allowed this to happen,” she says of the toxic moment we’re in. “It has created the opportunity for men with anti-feminist ideas to broadcast their views to more people than ever before – and to spread conspiracy theories, lies and misinformation. Social mediahas elevated misogyny to entirely new levels of violence and virulence.”

 

In her book, Zuckerberg explains that political and social movements have “long appropriated the history, literature and myth of the ancient world to their advantage. Borrowing the symbols of these cultures, as the Nazi party did in the 1940s, can be a powerful declaration that you are the inheritor of western culture and civilisation”. And the study of classics, of course, remains very much the preserve of elites.

 

“Classics are wrought with histories and narratives of oppression and exclusion,” says Zuckerberg. “By quoting Marcus Aurelius – as Steve Bannon is known to often do – Red Pillers perpetuate the idea that they, white men, are the intellectual authority under threat from women and people of colour.” While universities make progressive attempts to broaden the canon so students aren’t simply reading one dead white man after another, “the manosphere rebel against this. They see themselves as the guardians of western civilisation and the defenders of its cultural legacy.”

 

Zuckerberg digs deep through the most popular and excruciating message boards, blogs and threads – so that, I joke, we don’t have to. She uncovers the community of pick-up artists (PUAs) who use, say, the poems of Ovid to legitimise their most nefarious “techniques” to sleep with women. “PUAs, as one example, use famous seducers from history and reposition them as intellectuals so they can enforce a belief that women’s boundaries are permeable and that consent is a flexible concept,” she says.

 

Her research, on which she set herself a limit of an hour a day, led her to essays advocating rape, posts offering advice on how to dehumanise, trick and control women, and reflections on the case against female education. “Sure, it was upsetting,” she admits. “I made a rule that if something really got to me, I’d stop right there for the day.”

 

With regard to the White House, how far does she think the manosphere proliferates offline? “It’s an exaggeration to say the Red Pill community are writing national policy,” she says. “But on some level, they seem to believe they’re influencing policy.”

Alcoholics

I’ve known so many alcoholics.

I’ve loved all of them, and wanted them to get well.

Who are these people?

Intelligent, funny, beautiful, charming; the life and soul of the party.

Why do they drink until they can’t stand up?

Why do they drink until they abuse their partners?

Why do they hit their kids so hard?

Why do they drink until they touch their kids?

Why did life break my mother?

Will it break me?

Why wasn’t she able to ask for and receive help?

What was she so afraid of that hadn’t already happened?

Why are some born to live full and happy lives and others to suffer?

Why me?

Why not me.

Chrissie Hynde

Original article here.

Hynde’s clean living also extends to her having been a vegetarian since she was 16. “Back then, I was living on what the English called ‘cheese salad’,” she laughs. “I can eat in thousands of places now!” So many good social changes have happened in her lifetime, she says, not that you’d notice this today. “The ongoing discussion about how shitty things are now annoys me – come on. Obviously, there’s some bad shit in the world, but there always has been.” Positive changes get forgotten far too quickly, she continues. “Smoking killed more people than two world wars and nobody’s said since the ban that it’s great that so many people have stopped. Stop fucking moaning about things! Do something about it or shut it!”

This extends to her feelings about women in music. “The idea that women couldn’t be in the music industry 40 years ago – not only did I prove that wrong, but I just disagree. In music, you can do whatever you want. The only person who ever tried to stop me was me.” Surely she was treated differently to men in the industry in the 70s? “I was a chick and it was a novelty, sure – but this is showbusiness. Novelties are what showbusiness runs on. Jimi Hendrix didn’t have to set his guitar on fire. He played pretty fucking good without the theatrics. But people liked it.”

She was never discriminated against either, she says, then pauses. “I think a lot of guys didn’t want me in their band because I was a girl. Maybe. But so what?” As for the controversy about the gang-rape in her book: “It was just total bullshit. All of a sudden, I became this rape apologist. I thought, ‘Fuck you all!’ I don’t talk about it [feminism]: I am it. I fucking do it.” She’s never “taken a penny from a man”, she adds. “I’ve never had anyone help me get to the top, so to be suddenly this anti-feminist…” She shakes her head. “Go fuck yourselves.”

She wants to move on, but doesn’t quite yet. “I wasn’t saying I was a victim, but I was saying I was a bit of a fucking idiot. I mean, you don’t walk into a bikers’ clubhouse, with a sack full of Quaaludes, all padlocked up and you find out you’re the only person there. Surprise, surprise!” We talk for a while longer and she asks me not to include a few of the things we discuss: she worries about some of her tamer, topical statements becoming the only things people ask her about in the future.

And this worries her today. “We’ve now got to a point where even people who are very outspoken, know their own mind, who aren’t afraid to be criticised, who don’t care what people think, are putting a sock in it because it’s not fucking worth it any more.” She went to see Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse on tour recently, she says, and noticed how they were restricting themselves. She’s not advocating general rudeness, along the lines of people who troll – she doesn’t like that – “but the idea of doing it anonymously, it means most people can dish it out, but they can’t take it”.

Hynde can take it, clearly. “Anyway, I told my story [about the rape]. That was my story. If you don’t like it, don’t buy the book. Let’s move on. I don’t give a fuck.”

I ask to see Hynde’s studio. “Yeah, sure!” She’s bouncy after her rants, which never seem directed at me personally, despite my questions. Hundreds of canvases lean against each other on shelves and teeter against the wall. Some lovely abstracts sit drying, full of colour, light and noise. By the door, there’s a black-and-white photograph of her parents, Bud and Delores, in front of the house her father built. “We didn’t get along,” she explains. “It was during that time in the 60s when no one got along with their parents. Mine were very conservative and the only way I could deal with it was just to split.”

Did she feel guilty? “No! I never thought about it. I kind of feel guilty now. I think, ‘What did my mother think? I just disappeared.’” Even after she got famous, she didn’t stay in touch beyond the call of duty; they came to see her on tour “eventually”. “I just needed to go to another continent to do what I wanted to do,” she says, all matter-of-fact. “I could be bitter about that or see it in another way – that’s how I fulfilled my destiny. So now I can actually say, ‘Thank you, Mom and Dad, for making it so hard on me that I just pissed off!’” She smiles, a little sadly. “I know they’d be offended by that. I don’t want to offend them. But that’s what it was.”

Hynde likes being 67. “I find it really interesting, getting older, because life starts to make sense. I didn’t get famous until I was quite old – 27 – so maybe that’s part of it too.” She also thinks being alone gives her perspective – she’s been single for a long time. Her last marriage, to artist Lucho Brieva, broke down in 2002; she also points to a painting of a man in her room – “some arsehole I don’t hang out with any more”. “You have to have a very strong sense of yourself to be alone,” she says. “It’s hard work and I don’t recommend it. It’s not like you can have a lovely moment sitting over a cup of coffee discussing the ordinary pleasures of everyday life.” She picks up a paintbrush. “You’ve got to find an outlet. And if I was in a happy relationship, you wouldn’t be looking at these paintings.”

Karaoke

All the musicians I know despise karaoke. I love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I find drunk people in wigs annoying and a bit intimidating, and I wince then they scream down a mic. But that’s not the part of karaoke that attracts me.

The best days to go to a karaoke bar are weeknights. That’s when people tend to go on their own, or with a friend. You often get to hear people who have talent, and skill, and just pop by because they love to perform every now and again.

My favourite part of a karaoke bar are the people who come on their own as a personal challenge, cripplingly shy, who get up and sing so completely out of tune, so utterly atrociously, that it would actually be quite hard for someone to learn how to sing that badly on purpose. They sing in a serious “trying” kind of way, as if their therapist has suggested they come and do this to help them with their confidence. These individuals give me hope, as they are allowed their own 4 minutes on the stage, and no one boos them, or even cracks a smirk. They have the courage to go on a stage without talent, without skill, and they are brave enough to leave themselves incredibly vulnerable and exposed.

On my 30th birthday, I organised a picnic and a trip to the local karaoke bar. I had been stressed for weeks about the event, deciding not to rent a place out in the end as, although I could invite 100 people, I actually only actually like a much smaller number. Mixing groups of friends in the Basque Country can also be tough. There’s a lot of factions, people prefer to stay in their cuadrillas, and explosive arguments can happen over politics; as always, the trauma of the armed conflict bubbles beneath the surface here.

Only a few people came to the karaoke bar. Several people came waaaaay late, clearly out of a feeling of obligation. The bar was subterranean, with perilous stairs, ridiculously expensive drinks, and the darkest wood panelling known to man. At around 930pm, a group of down syndrome young people had come in, presumably on some sort of organised trip, and were dancing around to the pop tunes. I loved watching the beautiful human theatre; the awkward atmosphere created by people trying to hide their reaction to the down syndrome group. It was as prickly as it was exhilarating.

Enjoying attraction without consummating

Original article here.

The shudder of sexual electricity can be celebrated without being consummated.

To paraphrase the anthropologist Helen Fisher, whose Why We Love, Why We Cheat is a TED Talks hit, romantic love is not an emotion, it’s a drive that comes from the craving part of the mind and has a similar impact to cocaine. So struggling to shrug off your addiction is no mean feat.

Enjoying the sensation of desire is a pleasure in itself and not always something we have to chase down and make visceral. So many of the best moments in life are those that remain unrequited, with a question mark forever floating over what might have been. I once danced with a man for the duration of one song and remember it still as one of the sexiest experiences of my entire life. That it never evolved further is probably why it remains so deliciously etched in my memory.

In real life we know what comes next: compromise, responsibility and the daily maintenance required to keep any relationship and, later, family afloat. I don’t mean to make it sound workaday; there are transcendental moments to be shared even in the longest-term unions. As cold winter draws in, or emotional challenges arise, I’ll warrant I’m not the only coupled-up individual glad someone has my back. That shudder of pure sexual electricity can be celebrated without being consummated, as valuable a reminder of our sexuality as what we have chosen to sacrifice for the comfort of cohabitation.

The most decadent of dynasties mark their own demise in a descent into self-indulgence on an epically destructive scale – Nero, the court of Versailles, the Borgias. Will Tinder and Grindr prove to be our lyres? Wandering the ruins of ancient civilisations offers the chance to marvel at what they built but also offers a salutary reminder of what was lost. We too will pass and the more we succumb to our basest instincts for gratification the sooner we’ll make ourselves redundant.