Archive for December, 2009

The year in the same albums every music website everywhere liked (but I’ve mostly not actually heard)

December 16, 2009

1. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest

This time last year GB and the lads were still in lengthy hibernation after a four-year absence following their last record, ‘Cold House’. But rumours were already a-stirring that this one would be a show-stopper. They were, for once in the life and times of Grant ‘Grizzly’ Bear-Roberts and his three intrepid hangers-on, not greatly exagerrated. With an album title meaning ‘a large and thick fog formation most commonly found in the forests of British Colombia (noun)’, the boys brought us a sparky chrysalis- a folk-rock-pop record as undeniably brilliant as it was winsomely subtle. The best of the year? Heck, I’d go so far as to say it was almost as good as some of the records that came out the year before. – Glenn Ziffler


2. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion

Early 2009, and two words were on everyone’s lips: ‘Animal’, and ‘Collective’. And then three more: ‘Merriweather’, ‘Post’, and ‘Pavilion’. Were we all just taken in like a particularly impressionable group of twelve year-olds by the shiny op-art cover or was the music actually better than Feels or Sung Tongs were? But, in the words of Panda Bear, “I don’t care about things like that.” Eventually of course PB and best pals Avery Tare and Geologist were embroiled in the deep controversy of their suspected murdering of former member Deakin in a ritualised attack motivated either by a) royalties or b) an abortive attempt at staging a bacchanalia which he wasn’t allowed to attend but they ended up killing a farmer and he found out because they arrived home all bloody. But that will always be logically independent from their beautiful music. – Marcus P. Eldritch


3. The xx- Quattro Fromaggi

This summer, The xx seemed to come out of nowhere to become the biggest buzz band on the planet. Legions of children would flock together to drown themselves at great sacrificial ponds shaped like two ‘x’s placed directly on top of each other while everyone else looked on and hummed and ‘Islands’ played dimly in the background. It seemed impossible that four teenagers from south London could be making this music- sung entirely in Tagalog and with the lyrics all referencing deeply the social and political climate of 17th-century Persia, it seemed as if the band were trying to justify the hype by doing the almost elastically impossible. And yet they succeeded, more than many of our ears could possibly handle. Mine personally lie torn-off and bloodied on the floor underneath my desk as I write. – Amy Tobin

4. Fuck Buttons- Tarot Sport

On every album, Fuck Buttons seem determined to invent a new sport. Last time around it was ‘Street Horsing’, a sort of urban human gym equipment melange, but this time the sport was a card game- poker but with the gimmick being that you use tarot cards instead of the traditional deck. I played it once and got a full house of Deaths. The music, like the hypothetical sport associated, couldn’t have been more different- where once Fuck Buttons were a sort of OK not-quite-noise band with two good songs, now they’re some sort of crazy dance landscaping concern. ‘Flight of the Feathered Servant’ revealed that the other major theme on the album (besides tarot) was pre-Colombian mythology. Let’s hope that Andy and the boys don’t get destroyed by jaguars any time soon. (although since time is cyclical, presumably they’ll come back around and do it all over again!)- David Pegasus


5. Atlas Sound- Logos

Bradford Cox spent most of the latter half of the past decade baiting us into listening to the boring bits where he just meanders and uses delay a lot by writing some really powerful pop songs with amazing lyrics demonstrating an adept understanding and use of the sex/death fascination. Things looked all set for Logos to be one his best releases yet when he was seen on tour with three drummers and a full gospel choir, and would routinely enter concert halls on the back of a crazed, whinnying gelding named St Peter the Great. However, St Peter the Great had to be put down after he accidentally crushed a fan to death at the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes and Cox reacted by retreating into the studio with his acoustic guitar and really ‘getting back to basics’- the core of what makes him great. Just one man, one guitar, and an endless array of superfluous effects that fail to disguise he’s having trouble coming up with hooks.- Miranda Barton-Levy


6. Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

This year was the year that Phoenix will always be remembered for being responsible for John Maus not seeing my band support him at his own gig, because he was waiting for them to be ready so he could bring them along after he was supporting them in a different band earlier in the night. But they will also be remembered for this album, a tribute to everyone’s favourite fictional character, giggling practical jokester Mozart from the 1984 smash hit film ‘Amadeus’. – Jacob Flint


7. The Horrors- Primary Colours

The Horrors might have named their record ‘Primary Colours’ but they may as well have called it “I can sing a rainbow.” For this was an album of a much vaster array of colours than just three, causing the synaesthesiac in me to have a delighted freak-out. But this was not just an album- this was the rock-and-roll comeback story of the year, five previously maligned lads from east London showing all the haters that they could imitate something much more effectively than the Nuggets-compilation-as-vaguely-heard-by-someone-who-mostly-likes-vintage-organs absolute MESS of a JOKE of their previous record: The Chameleons, that classic 80s band so (not) cool that (not enough people haven’t heard of them for the rest of the people to not realize that actually everyone is not not stealing their knot ideas (or not). – Glenn Eldritch


8. Sunn O)))- Doom Altar

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that Sunn O))) are the greatest geniuses that have ever walked the earth. Prior to them no one ever thought that they could base a career around making guitars go ommmmm noooom ommmm duuuuum ommmm nooooooomm ommmmm REALLY slowly for hours on end and then get people to call it good. But on the other hand, someone bought the Statue of Liberty off at that guy too. Oh also this is really really amazing and stunning and brilliant and (I can’t actually even do an IMITATION of the type of person who likes Sunn O))) thats how genuinely, unironically terrible I think they are). – Kunlun Mountains


9. Fever Ray- Death’s Head Love Affair

The girl one from out of The Knife stepped out of the shadow of the boy one and became so successful her music was even given away free with newspapers across the land. Her solo moniker comes from a dread apparatus that her brother once attempted to construct as a troubled teenager which would re-spread smallpox throughout the land after being placed at the top of the Eiffel Tower and aimed at everyone’s immune system. Luckily, she persuaded him out of it by agreeing to form a band with him, and the rest is history.- Dom ‘Coolio’ McIntyre


10. Bat For Lashes- I Am… Sasha Fierce

Natasha Khan was born into a life of oriental luxury in pre-Musharaff Pakistan in 1983, where her family had a beautiful ex-colonialist villa just outside Lahore with its own mechanical water-garden and a staff of 123 slaves whom the young Khan was taught to inflict random, torturous punishments on from a young age. She takes a similar approach to her music- one minute calm, playful and eerily soothing, the next loud, bitchy, and gratuitously profane. Allegedly, during the recording Natasha burst into a rage with producer Steve Lillywhite after he failed to get the notes recorded at the right pitch and flipped out, doing a poo on the studio floor whilst shouting “I am Sasha Fierce!”, from whence the title arose.- Marcus P. Eldritch

Last night I dreamt that somebody folked me

December 11, 2009

London’s folk-pop scene is perhaps the hottest hotbed of musical talent in the known world. Compulsory Meat Raffle travelled down the other day to talk to a handful of its most significant stars.

devib

Devon Tulips

22 year-old Devon is a plucky young troubadour, strumming his guitar as if it were Orpheus’s lyre itself while his full, soft voice pillows the notes with his becalming lyrics about down-to-earth everyday topics like being stuck in traffic on the way to the bus on the way to a job interview. Just what we need to relate to at the close of the noughties. With his trademark beard and chequered shirt, it looks like opportunity knocks for young Devon, as he was recently bought by Chrysalis Jive Records for a cool £40,000. “Devon looks forward to a productive and professional working relationship with Chrysalis Jive,” commented a spokesperson.

Laurelie Britton

22 year-old drama graduate Laurelie hadn’t even so much as seen- let alone touched or played- an instrument until last March, when her much-older record executive boyfriend took her to the National Museum of Acoustic Instruments as a birthday treat. She was immediately spellbound, and resolved there and then to become a nationally-renowned folk singer. So far so good for young Laurelie, as she has recently been purchased by Johnson & Michaelmas Management for a generous £55,000 upfront fee, with an additional 30% sell-on clause.

Andreas

The 22 year-old troubadour known simply as ‘Andreas’ was born in Sweden 22 years ago but moved to London for university and hasn’t looked back since, particularly as he brought his trademark acoustic guitar with him. Although unattached at present this hasn’t stopped Andreas from causing quite a stir with a select few gigs in and around London’s hottest folk-spots. “I’ve always listened to music,” admits a candid Andreas when I sat down with him. “Many record labels have offered to buy me but I don’t like being tied down by the man. That’s why my manager has told me not to sell myself for anything less than £100,000.”

Bo Hansen

A five-person collective comprising five 22 year-olds, Bo Hansen sing big, uplifting songs featuring banjo, ukulele, violin, acoustic guitar, accordion, and bass. “We don’t really see ourselves as a folk band per se,” explains band leader Chaz Hickson, 22. “I prefer to think of us a folk collective.” Whatever they like to call themselves, its certainly been working out for Chaz and the lads (and one lady) recently- they’ve just signed with the John Davis Group for £60,000 upfront and £80,000 in yearly instalments of £20,000 across four years consequent on continued good working relations and co-operation.

“Folk slavery”

Unfortunately, the realities of life as a folk superstar are not always as hip and pleasant as they might be made out to be. After purchase by a record label or sometimes large management group, these young performers are routinely made to jog endlessly in circles naked for the hooting pleasures of fattened, cocaine-addled executives, a number of whom have used their vastly inflated marketing budgets to fashion vast, underground auditoria for the entertaining of themselves and their equally depraved friends. The folk artistes of different genders are routinely coupled so as to produce superior offspring- it is in fact usually the offspring who make it to the album stage, after being given special drugs to speed up their growth. The coupling is usually done in public, in the auditoria themselves, the male spurred on to mounting the female by the cheers and guffaws of their gluttonous, masturbating audience. Same-sex shows are also popular, although these are less common as they do not have the added reproductive benefits. The folk singers are kept in oversized rabbit cages still to small for them (as they are humans) and fed a tasteless high-protein, low-fat diet in dog bowls with water drips hanging from the side of their bars. The side-effects of such a lifestyle are obviously deeply unpleasant. “When Laura Marling began her career, she was a fresh-faced young waif with her whole life ahead of her,” testified an in-house trauma psychiatrist who wished to remain anonymous. “But now she’s full of what is referred to in trauma psychiatry as ‘artificial intravenous fuck-holes’.” The Metropolitan Police Authority acknowledges that folk-slavery is a problem but says there is little that they can do about it as “the record labels are just too powerful.” It seems even John Law is deep in the pockets of Big Folk. For shame, old Jackie. (Law)

Compulsory Meat Raffle sells out!

December 9, 2009

Yesterday Ingram had ‘insufficient funds’ in his bank account, and we didn’t even win the pub quiz afterwards because they had ‘parliament’ down as the collective noun only for owls, not rooks as well. Meanwhile I’ve recently realized that the Londis round the corner from where I live has a large selection of Quorn products and other meat substitutes. I’ve spent £250 there over the last few days but its all melted because I don’t have enough space in my fridge. All of this adds up to one thing: we need money, and fast.

So this made me think about an interesting proposition I’d received a few weeks back. You don’t co-maintain one of the internet’s most controversial, relevant, and widely-read blogs without attracting a bit of attention from losers who want to send you e-mails pushing their crap, and this particular e-mail was no exception- the other was stupid and lame and I didn’t care who these people was and didn’t want them to send me stuff. But actually, when I looked closely, it turned out it was an exception: usually they just want you to host their rubbish video and praise it for no good reason, but these people wanted to pay me.

It was all so simple: all I needed to do was host some Florence and the Machine video about recycling (?) or something sponsored by Stella Artois, sign up to this weird service to ‘goviral’ and then I’d get money whenever anyone clicked on it. They were even so keen to have me host it that someone else from the same company sent me the same e-mail just minutes later. But, I don’t believe in having to sign up to things called ‘goviral’- I don’t like the name and I don’t trust it, so instead, I’m just going to post the link now and write to them in a few months asking for £200.

http://5x5m.com/lp/551/florenceetlamachine.html

Some months later…

1205 Sepsis Towers

Deansgate

Manchester

M1 5HJ

3/4/10

Dear Big Dollars Music Promotion,

I recently hosted that video you told me to on my website. However, I don’t seem to have received any money? What’s up with that? I didn’t sign up to that service to get the ’embed code’ because I didn’t understand what that meant but I personally clicked on that link at least 100,000 times so I have estimated that due to the labour-time involved and energy costs I am personally owed at least £200. Please address the cheque to ‘K.L. Mountains’ and send it to the (residential) address above.

Yours,

Kunlun Mountains

56 New Walrus Street,

East London,

London,

Greater London

E3 6JK

15/4/10

Dear Mr Mountains,

Having read your blog, ‘Compulsory Meat Raffle’, and especially the post concerning our video, ‘Florence et la Machine’, we have decided that it is deeply offensive to everything we stand for and will countersue you for the amount asked for (£200) plus legal fees, as well as serving you with a cease and desist order for all writing that you will ever do in any public forum ever. By writing back you will break the terms of the cease and desist order so all replies must be delivered verbally, at our London offices.

Yours sincerely,

F.Scott Robinson,

Head of Legal Affairs,

Big Dollars Music Promotion

“Just say NO”

So, I took the train down and I was all like: “give me my right to write back!” but then F.Scott Robinson marched out of his office like a big swanning gorilla and kicked me in the chest and told his security guards: “arrest him!” and then he took me into his office and opened up a secret door in the ground and led me into it whilst punching me hard at the bottom of my spine and then he started hitting me about and then he got his guards to rough me about some more and he was all like: “that’ll teach you to make fun of our viral marketing strategies!” and I was all like: “aaaargggh no stop!” but he wouldn’t. And so in the end I was left with no blog, no money, and a hefty set of hospital bills and legal fees to pay. And that’s what you get for selling out, kids. Just say no!

My complete correspondence with Neil Finn

December 9, 2009

1205 Sepsis Towers

Deansgate

Manchester

M1 5HJ

14/12/09

Dear Neil Finn,

I’ve been a big fan of Crowded House ever since I first heard ‘Don’t Dream Its Over’ on local radio aged 12. When I was 13 I bought your greatest hits on CD and now I own it on cassette! Back in 2001 you could still sometimes buy cassettes in regular stores as well. So, well done on the whole music thing and everything.

Anyway, my reason for writing is this: I am currently doing my undergraduate dissertation on the subject of music and the emotions. Technically, I’m only meant to be discussing pure instrumental music, but my friend Ingram Frizer said I should write to you and ask how you come up with your chord progressions?

Another question I have is since all your family is so musical, do you all get together at Christmas like I imagine and have a wee sing round the piano?

Yours,

Kunlun Mountains

14 New Zealand Road

Australia

AU3 7NY

3/3/10

Dear Kunlun,

Howdy, mate. It was with great joy that I read your letter. I can relate to being 12 as I was once 12 myself. The best thing that happened when I was 12 was when Tim fell in the billabong. Quite a chuckle!

In answer to your question, I usually come up with the words first and then fit the music around that! But I’ll have a bit of a play about on the guitar maybe beforehand and then come up with a few neat chord progressions that I can use in future songs- sometimes they work with a particular set of lyrics, and sometimes they don’t. I hope that helps with your dissertation even though it might not, since you’re meant to be writing about pure instrumental music I don’t know why you’re asking me at all! Good luck with the dissertation, I always like to see fans with degrees.

Usually we’ll have Christmas round Tim and Barbara’s (his wife), and he has a lovely piano but he doesn’t let anyone else touch it. Speaking of Tim, don’t you think Split Enz are rubbish? I’ve always hated them even though I was in them as well. Tim is lame.

Best,

Neil

PS: Sorry for the time it took me to reply. I get a lot of fanmail as I am amazing.

1205 Sepsis Towers

Deansgate

Manchester

M1 5HJ

6/3/10

Dear Neil,

Hahahahahaha! Your Tim and the Billabong story is amazing! I quite like Split Enz but they’re not as good as Crowded House. Also their name was really terrible. Have you seen that YouTube video where they all get attacked by dingoes on the Clive James Show? It’s amazing! Oh wait you were there. Sorry about that.

I’m almost at the point where I have to hand in my dissertation now anyway! I was over the word limit and had to cut it down so I couldn’t fit in your comments even if I wanted to. However I also sometimes do music writing for this website? Maybe I could interview you for that. It will make a change from the sort of bands that are normally interviewed on music websites who are either Liars or Deerhunter or Animal Collective or some rubbish folk-pop loser.

Are you alright in Australia? I heard the reports on the news yesterday about the terrible Bush Fever ravaging the country yesterday, and how all the kangaroos have died.

Yours,

Kunlun xxxx

Bunker 980123A

Under-Australia

16/11/10

Dear Kunlun,

Apologies for how long its taken me to reply. As you may have heard in the news, the Bush Fever has led to everyone in Australia having to be evacuated to the secret network of virus-proof bunkers that it turned out were always underneath the country in the event of this happening. I have been separated from my family and share a bunker with the people who were nearest to me when all of us were rounded up in the street to go ‘down under’ (pun very much intended!) after the emergency alarm sounded which indicated that the virus had spread to the cities. For the last six months I have been living with three strangers- a burly former dustbinman named Lenny, a conman with a heart named Bruce, and a cocktail waitress and mother of twins named Leslie. Bruce and Leslie keep on getting aff and its really offputting, especially due to their complicated love triangle with Lenny, who may or may not be the biological father of Leslie’s twins.

So, my life is rather depressing at the moment in this metal prison. Although the bunkers are ostensibly virus-proof, that’s only to stop the Bush Fever, really- the airlocks are malfunctioning and as a result the whole place is infected with this really damp, cold air. And I’ve just recently developed this terrible cough…

I think I’m dying, Kunlun. The only consolation I have is writing to all my fans who’ve gotten in contact over the years personally to tell them so. I hearby enclose this special ‘Dying’ song and a cheque for 12 Australian dollars for you to do what you will.

Tell my family I loved them more than life, more than music, if you ever see them… I mean, if they surface alive after this whole Bush Fever disaster, that is.

Goodbye forever Kunlun!

Best,

Neil

1205 Sepsis Towers

Deansgate

Manchester

M1 5HJ

18/11/10

Dear Neil.

I hope you’re alright and not actually dead. I love your death song though! You’ve still got all the talent in the world. I’ll post it on my blog in the future after all this actually happens so that other people can hear it, along with all our letters, as a tribute to you. Pending your approval of course?

Yours,

Kunlun

PS: I spent that money you gave me on everyone’s favourite Australian delicacy: koala steak!

Bunker 980123A

Under-Australia

20/11/10

Dear Kunlun,

Yes that would be fine. *cough*

Best,

Neil

Spectrum Non-Disorder

December 8, 2009

Its all spectrums now. Ingram has shown me the way. He studies English Literature, and so everything he says is spectrums this, spectrums that. Sexuality is on a spectrum, gender identity is on a spectrum, and so forth. It got me thinking, because I’d always been firmly pro-rigid binary distinctions in all things prior to this. So I decided following a series of debates and stimulating discussions to finally cross over to the other side and embrace spectrums in all things.

Everything is on a spectrum. Right now, all the words I’m typing, they’re just on my vocabulary spectrum, at different intervals. The letters that make them up? They’re on the alphabet spectrum. And of course all alphabets and vocabularies, are themselves on spectrums. No one really has a ‘better’ vocabulary, or a ‘more good’ grasp of the alphabet- people’s alphabets/vocabularies are just on different spectrums. This is of course why some people talk in completely different languages from ourselves. (ie: the people who cannot understand what I am writing just now, though they might persist in reading it, for its lyrical quality, etc, as one might Dante’s Inferno- I am by all means comparing myself to the poet here, although of course really he is just a few gradients separated from me on the genius spectrum)

Moving ourselves up a few places on the open-mindedness spectrum and embracing a truly spectrum-coloured world view can enrich our lives and help us towards a greater understanding of our universe generally. For example, it can help us see that, though at first our very existence in time and space might seem troubling to us, ie: the possibility it can happen at all, really we are just a little bit higher on the existence spectrum than people who don’t exist. (and people who have never even been imagined are right at the bottom) In a more practical sense, see how many moral quandaries can melt away, once we place them on a spectrum. All moral decisions are spectrum-based. A man who beats his wife once has just shifted himself up a place on the wife-beating spectrum, from zero. He’s not an evil man- he’s just at 1. Suppose our best friend kills someone else? He’s not a ‘murderer’, per se, he’s just moved himself up a place on the murdering spectrum. If I’m hungry and decide the nearest available food source is your newborn infant, then I’ve just moved myself up a place on the baby-eating spectrum. Should I be placed on the prisoner spectrum for this? I’ll have to consult my legal spectrum. Will the person at the extreme end of the maleness spectrum and relatively low on the age spectrum pass me that object high up on the book spectrum that I handed to him with the promise that it would at the extreme end of the borrowing spectrum?

Spectrums.

PS: Compulsory Meat Raffle by no means endorses any actions that fall anywhere on the domestic abuse, murder, infanticide or cannibalism spectrums.

There Ain’t No Black In The Dewey Decimal System (Jack)

December 3, 2009

“The Dewey Decimal system is colonialist,” Ingram looked up from his black coffee and declared at me with a hefty sneer.

“How is it colonialist?” I asked, grinning.

“I don’t know,” replied Ingram. “It just is.” He paused, and looked into the middle distance for a second or two, in thought. “Its really important the way we classify knowledge, you know?”

Suddenly, my whole intellectual world was shook. I’d never thought about it this way before, but maybe Ingram was onto something: maybe the Dewey Decimal System was responsible for the ongoing repression of millions of homosexuals worldwide, every young black man who gets sent to prison on a trumped-charge, the Iraq War, Gordon Brown’s painkiller addiction, Karley Sciortino, our troops, and so on. (?) In all those little points, a little evil is done- another pro-western imperialist little act-token of repression. So I did some research. And just a cursory glance saw some stunning facts come to light.

Melvil Dewey was a one-eyed, hunchbacked racist dwarf who worked on his eugenicist Decimal System in his laboratory by day before returning to his harem of kidnapped young girls at night, who were all chained to the walls, their legs splayed in homemade splints for Dewey to more readily pump his dully heteronormative semen into them. Despite a 1903 conviction for indecent exposure and an incident in 1906 in which Dewey attempted to bleach a family of African-American vagrants he had picked up, the Dewey Decimal System was eventually picked up by the US library system during the (equally racist) Wilson Administration. It was even more inherently patriarchal, western &C than the preceding Bismarck Numbering which prior to Dewey had been in common usage.

Dewey’s dread system is made up of ten main classes or categories, each divided into ten secondary classes or subcategories, each having ten subdivisions.

  • 000 – Computer science, information & general works
  • 100 – Philosophy and psychology
  • 200 – Religion
  • 300 – Social sciences
  • 400 – Language
  • 500 – Science (including mathematics)
  • 600 – Technology
  • 700 – Arts and recreation
  • 800 – Literature
  • 900 – History, geography, and biography

But, there is no space in the system for Gay Mathematics, for Lesbian Geography or Black Science. These don’t even get little decimal places. No- Dewey fails to recognise the contributions of anyone who doesn’t fall into society’s ‘accepted’ norms. At best, 054.6 is Disabled Computer Science.

So, with almost a century of Dewey now upon us, isn’t it time we abandon this system for a less inherently prejudiced one? It is a sad fact that just months after officially adopting the foul Dewey matrix in January 1994, Rwanda collapsed into genocide. Yet more deaths and oppression on the conscious of Melvil Dewey, surely one of history’s wickedest men.

A Cult of the Ageless

December 1, 2009

I was drinking coffee in town yesterday and looked up from my book to see a woman stride across the room to a free table. She was wearing a closely fitting woolly hat, which made her look like a flapper going on an arctic expedition, but with long, slightly scruffy Pre-Raphaelite hair emerging from beneath; she was wearing a floor-length fur coat. Her face with slightly grey, certainly colourless, and there were bags beneath her eyes; her face was lined,  with shallow but definite tracks running from the creases of her mouth, and she was wearing little makeup. Her age was impossible to place. She could have been anywhere between fourteen and sixty: timeless clothes, tired face, but sparkling, sparkling eyes. Age is contained within the eyes and if they do not agree with the face, one is deeply disquieted.

Soon after she sat down and her friend, definitely about twenty-two, arrived from the counter with steaming coffee. Our ageless heroine burst into bitter tears (probably because she was in Caffe Nero…). I averted my eyes but began to think:

The ageless state is a state of perfection. Consider the alternatives: Mortality, but we all, at some level, fear death or dying. Yet, immortality is terrifying, who would truly want to live forever? Who would even want to remain perpetually young? But to encapsulate both youth and experience simultaneously, if only for a fleeting instant, must be one of the true zeniths of human desire. To simply live forever would mean a ceaseless decline into deeper and deeper decrepitude, to remain young forever would mean to never accrue experience of humanity, to be forever childlike in perspective. Truly then, the most beatific state would be to encapsulate both experience and youth simultaneously, to forever shift and shimmer in a perpetual play of ancient and fresh; to see the truth of experience and the wonderment of the child.

With this in mind, I propose a Cult of the Ageless. No plastic surgery, giving up smoking, or childish giggling for us, for we want even the lines of age, but yet we must forever keep our eyes wide and sparkling, never give up infatuations, charm, obsession, even if experience tells us otherwise. Agelessness then is a strange, paradoxical interplay of physicality and sensibility, or the ‘superficial’ and the ‘intellectual’ if you insist on denigrating the importance of appearance in our conception of the world. The young must age themselves in looks, and yet retain the playfulness of the frolicking lamb, whilst the aged must open their eyes wide to the world and offset (not hide) wrinkled skin with the sartorial elegance of the discerning youth. Of course, few, if any of us will ever truly reach this sort of agelessness, and if we do, it may be in fleeting expressions that dissolve to nothingness or through times in our lives when we care about our self-projection least. Most often, agelessness is attained not by actors, but by the characters they play, with fakery and play in temperament, clothing and appearance at their disposal and so I present some icons (and I invite additions to this list):

Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan

Heath Ledger/Colin Farrell/Jude Law/Johnny Depp Nexus in 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus'

Tilda Swinton

What does the Cult of the Ageless offer us then? A model of beauty which is based not on youth, but on some strange, indefinable combination of youth and experience; An attainable state to aspire to that will perpetually preserve us, as the ancients preserved their writing in weathered stone or even wax; A sense of appreciation of the dislocations and disquiet that make life so fascinating, for this is a sort of mysticism for our times: a worshipping of the inexplicable, the sometimes even scary, the god-like fascination we are faced with when a face in a crowd shifts our knowledge of what we can and cannot say for definite, the god-like ability of a human to seem extra-human and to encapsulate everything we both will be and want to be and are afraid to be, as an anonymous face on a wet winter afternoon.

Please bear in mind these are preliminary thoughts and I will endeavour to develop the Cult of the Ageless over the next few weeks. I’d appreciate any thoughts anybody has on this.