“You’ve got to be Wavy Bro, like cool, wiv-it, an’ hey Man, in the groove!”
Not quite Shakespearean of Chaucerian I know, and I’m sure that many lovers of the English language will be snarling at the screen when they read such words
Never mind, for such words were spoken to me by more work colleague about a month ago, and although spoken in jest, they have resurfaced in my mind following a trip to London
Why so, well because London, especially central or, let us say, fashionable London, is, as ever so it seems, one of The Places to be seen and to be Cool.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m about as cool as a deep fried cumber, and if such an approach to life fulfills some kind of an aspirational dream then so be it, but I still find myself asking if such a course of action is altogether wise.
OK, OK, so I am a 50+yr old misfit who never has cared a damn about being cool,or following any particular fashion, but does that mean my voice, however un-cool, along with millions of others, should not be heard?
Still unsure of what I mean, well let’s see what you need to do to be COOL in London.
You need to wear the right clothes, and to eat the right food at the right restaurants, where it is essential to be seen. You must have the right phone, iPad, or tablet, or whatever, and once such an item is obtained the choice of text language, let alone social media platform is both mandatory and critical in the extreme. I mean God help you if you just want to use your phone to say hello, or where are you, and you just try going into a cool coffee emporium and asking for a medium white coffee and a cheese sandwich with nothing on the side. Try it if you will, but be prepared to be given a frosty response on the side.
What amuses me is how such choices, designed to maximise personal development and personal expression, have always been, and I suspect will always be, an equivalent of the school uniform which no free spirited or cool school child ever wanted to wear.
That’s right, those halcyon days when you rebelled against authority and demanded the right to dress how you wanted to dress in order to show the world and his oyster the real you; or in real terms, to show all your classmates and peer groups just how cool and in the street cred know you really were. Most of the time your impassioned pleas for self expression were ignored, but what happened if the school agreed to your demands.
Everyone who mattered, or thought they mattered, dressed to impress the coolest kid in class, that coolest kid fooled them all by changing his or her style, and all around them whirled a mass of no-hope-ers who either got it wrong, or simply couldn’t give a damn.
The daft thing was that the only true winners were those who couldn’t give a damn, as they dressed how they wanted to dress without any reference to a supposedly concrete social code. Sadly though most of us simply got it wrong, and suffered the sneers and giggles from the élite in-crowd who floated far above us, and even more worse we thought that the views of such groups mattered ,and that we had done something terribly wrong.
To my mind the only thing we wrong was to try and join their crowd. We thought that what they said mattered, and that their values were important, while all the while we would have been better to throw them into the bin.
So what would I say to everyone who is considering becoming a cool fashionista?
Forget it. Forget what “they ” say you should wear, eat, and drink, and ignore the frowns and looks that come with such rejection. You are who you are, “they” don’t matter, and considering the brain that nature has given you, why should you want to lose yourself in the crowd?
For further proof, just look at what lies below. It’s all about Pop up Resturants, and apparently it the new simply must do thing around town
….Over the next three days this alliterative duo will be bringing you the taste of Scandinavia with Norwegian crab and Krug’s own bubbly for a fraction of their usual cost. On a cordoned off section of Riverside walk you can enjoy your meal to the backdrop of the London skyline. The choice is between a crab leg salad and a crab sandwich. We recommend getting one of each and sharing, fair warning; you may not feel like parting with your crab leg once you’ve tucked in. The Champagne compliments the rich and flavourful crab perfectly. For us it was an eye opening and rare encounter with a truly special wine. We’d always hoped that the world of top-quality Champagne was just one big con. We’ve been happily drinking supermarket brands for years, safe in the assumption that there was no real difference. Turns out, we were very wrong about that. How are we supposed to go back to Sainsbury’s own brand now
Finally a couple of points of clarification. Some readers might be accusing me of inverted snobbery, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Every man or woman to his or her own I say. I have eaten food that has blown both my taste buds and my mind. I have also experienced the cultural delights of London including a raft of art galleries and concert venues, and I have enjoyed the diverse pleasures that such venues and multicultural pleasures can bring.
It’s just that I have also spent my whole working life in the service industries, and that has taught me to look at life in a way that many might not understand. Link that to a somewhat independent mind, an interest in social behavioral patterns, and a thoroughly awkward, an interesting view point on life is born
So there you go folks, to be cool or not to be cool, you chose!
Why not end on a cool note though, I hope you like the animation below as much as I do.
Is it cool though..who knows…who cares…you decide