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Street? We're not worthy! - click opera — LiveJournal
February 2010
 
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Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 12:00 am
Street? We're not worthy!

"Nathan Barley is a Channel 4 sitcom about a fictional twentysomething loathsome London media type," the Wikipedia informs us, "written by Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris, and supposed by some to have been inspired by the postmodern performance artist Momus".

Blimey! Fame at last as... as... well, the world's biggest foppish cunt.



"Nathan Barley is a webmaster, guerrilla filmmaker, screenwriter, DJ and in his own words, a 'self-facilitating media node'. He is convinced he is the epitome of urban cool, and therefore secretly terrified he might not be, which is why he reads Sugar Ape magazine - his bible of cool."

There are at least four problems with the theory that Nathan Barley is based on me. First, I'm clearly a talented artist, not a gadfly schmoozer like that loser. Second, I'm shy and thoughtful, whereas Nathan's a loud arrogant prankster who swears on the bus. Third, I'm not twentysomething but fortysomething. (But I guess time waits for no man.) And fourth, my bible of cool would obviously have to be a Japanese magazine. Something like FRUiTS or Street.



Well, knock me down with a feather! There I am in the October 2006 edition of Street, hot off the presses in Japan. Look! It's me, mum, with a whole page to myself!

I wish I didn't look so dull. It's not really the kind of picture that's going to inspire anyone the way this young lad inspired me back in February. I'm having a moderate-to-bad hair day, wearing a grey Graniph shirt, a pair of cream Humana slacks rolled to just under the knee, and "professional clogs". I wish they'd shot me today instead of back in July.

But that's the thing about Street; you don't wake up and remember you're going to be photographed for it that day. It just happens by chance, unexpectedly. Your path crosses the Street photographer (in this case New Yorker Fumi Nagasaka), she thinks you're interesting, the editor likes the shot, you're in. No advertising, no product placement, no stylist.

Of course, you never quite know it happens like that until it happens to you. I remember being disappointed, at a time when I was buying Cutie magazine regularly for the street fashion, to learn from a girlfriend who'd been shot by the Cutie photographer in Harajuku that they'd given her a lacy white thing to wear under her jean jacket, just to wake her look up a bit. That was styling, that was top down; it was pimping reality.

Street may be sifted, but it's unstyled. And so, if you're chosen, you get to represent what's happening on the street of whatever city they're covering that issue (I'm in the Berlin section; October also sees London covered). You become both a "quirky individual" and an ambassador, a standard-bearer. You get to stand for the grass roots, yet the job is self-appointed. It's not quite the same thing as being a "self-facilitating media node".

There's a scene in Episode 4 of Nathan Barley where our hapless hero has got himself the world's stupidest haircut, a Geek Pie (involving asymmetry and lots of tin lids from paint pots). It's all a terrible mistake, a big misunderstanding, and trendy Hosegate is withering in its disdain. But just beyond the pale redemption is waiting in the form of a Japanese film crew. They like the Geek Pie cut, and make pariah Nathan the unlikely ambassador of cutting-edge London style.

"Watch the fuck out, Japan!" Nathan sneers into the Japanese camera with Lydon-like arrogance. We get a glimpse of the wild success of his exhortation in the form of a parade of Tokyo fashion victims sporting the same silly haircut and murmuring "Nathan Barley, Geek Pie, cool".

Well, it just wouldn't happen like that. If Nathan really were "secretly terrified he might not be the epitome of urban cool" he'd just be jolly grateful to have the tribute of a page in his favourite Japanese urban style magazine. He might well fall to his knees and, in the classic gesture from another cult comedy series I'm way too young to remember, cry out "WE'RE NOT WORTHY!"

28CommentReply


(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)

I'm sure they mock because they love

That's exactly what I thought when I read Charlie's Brooker's original Cunt stuff. Affectionate passages like this one:

"Do you and your idiot loudmouthed friend deserve to be suddenly and inexplicably killed by a man armed with a hammer, cracking you on the skull right there at the table as you tuck into your snooty fucking pub lunch? Would it give the other diners a surge of nigh-on sexual pleasure to see you slumped face-first in a pile of sweet potato mash with blood bubbling from the back of your head and blending with the onion gravy while your malfunctioning synapses cause your limbs to shudder and pop in a grotesquely comic dance of death? The Kilroy team would like to speak to you."


ReplyThread Parent
cityramica
cityramica
cityramica
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)

yes! it was great to watch him in this after being accustomed to him role in The Mighty Boosh! <3!


ReplyThread Parent
cityramica
cityramica
cityramica
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
i possess your crash still

Nick. you are so nothing like Nathan Barley.
trashbat.co.ck? or however you spell it? so not your style.
i had a hard time stomaching that show at all, actually.

&you must not look dull if they gave you a whole page! these editor's obviously know everything!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: i possess your crash still

You're probably right, Mischa. I shall henceforth copy my own bad hair days right down to the last detail.


ReplyThread Parent Expand

saidai
saidai
:// 最大
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)

Hi, I'm french and I was too shy to comment here until now, but I just wanted to clap my hands together for your pix in STREET! That must be really funny to see a picture of you on a whole page! (if you're not accustomed!..)
Well...
I know that comment is useless, but... ow... nothing!
I enjoy your music too.

See you!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)

That must be really funny to see a picture of you on a whole page! (if you're not accustomed!..) Well...I know that comment is useless

Not at all, that's all I really wanted someone to say. The rest is just intellectual legerdemain.


ReplyThread Parent

(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 08:16 pm (UTC)

No need to be envious, Whimsy, you're the world's biggest foppish prick! There's room for both of us!


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)

Ohwell, if it's any consolation my father is a Ukrainian trade unionist and he thinks you're "delightful". But then again he also told me I was never to use the word "cunt" lightly because doing so would make me "just another barbarian fucking". (he tends to get the order of adjectives mixed up)


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 10:13 pm (UTC)
Brooker has said it ain't Nick!

Or did back when TVGH book came out. He had interviewed you in his tech geek role.

Also, Wayne and Garth cheered me up. Strangely, F Mercury would have been 60 today.

Greetings from W10 BTW.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)

Cutie fabricates their street snaps? Say it isn't so!! I agree, that just ruins the whole magic of turning the pages.
That's really fantastic that you were printed in Street. I'm so jealous.


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kineticfactory
kineticfactory
this is not your sawtooth wave
Tue, Sep. 12th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)

I thought Nathan Barley was an amalgam of Banksy and Damon Albarn, with various 1990s "BritArt" types thrown in for good measure.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 07:02 am (UTC)

Undoubtedly, it's one of those things that, if you feel it's about you, it is about you. I'm convinced that the Wikipedia page has some cunningly-coded feature which tells all of us that Nathan has been based on us alone.


ReplyThread Parent
slipmesomething
slipmesomething
slipmesomething
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC)

At least you managed to get in, I remember being snapped by someone from I-d magazine and told that they'd get in contact for some details if the shots got in.

Alas, I never made the cut. I'm not sure whether I should be dissappointed or gleeful.


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cityramica
cityramica
cityramica
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)

アメリカの予約購読"Street" を得ることは可能であるか。


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nickdoro
nickdoro
donnie dunzo
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)

on what evidence is nathan barley based on you? is there any proof or is it pure conjecture?


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 02:55 am (UTC)

And you have given people so much material, so much to work with, that to miss these things out would just be incredibly dull sloppy writing.

-Marc.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)

I think it's the Rake's Progress of our time.

Most people who've seen it love it. But it was one of those things that only really meant something to the small band of hipsters it attacked.

Some hipsters may have hated it for belittling them. Some non-hipsters may have hated it for making them feel excluded.


ReplyThread Parent
desant012
||||||||||
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)

I thought it was a pretty funny series - if anything, it's like a mirror-version of what I've seen in the creative/media world of NYC. Of course, most people might not have ever even seen the kinds of people this show satirizes, so the biting qualities might be lost on a bigger audience. It's niche, I guess, to people who live in media-centric urban areas and are involved, in some way, in them.

Only a few weeks ago did I meet some kid wearing neon-green hot pants (with rips in the ass) and wearing a torn 12yo girl's t-shirt. Never had a job, lived in a $1,600 loft, and traveled from film festival to festival submitting his "guerilla art". It's bananas, man.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 09:11 am (UTC)

To have a Robot Wanker read the first paragraph of this entry, click here.


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sarmoung
sarmoung
The Empire Never Ended
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 10:53 am (UTC)
Jedermann sein eigner Fussball

I imagine it's one of those grey mice who inserted that Wikipedia fact. Whatever happened to the one who'd just post entries from Stephen Duffy's diary?

Although it certainly wasn't Nathan Barley, that North Korea entry had me splutter bibimbap over the laptop on Monday. Late at night, unable to sleep, I found myself imagining a short story in which the caterers for the book launch were having to source vintage Red Cross food parcels to create the right frisson for the canapés. The interfering demands of the pink-suited host finally proved too much and they rose up, decapitated the guests in a spirit of revolutionary proletarian justice and used the heads to play a lively game of football up and down Friedrichstrasse in the dawn light. And then I did fall asleep.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)

You're like Nathan Barley only in that you seem to have no visible means of financial support. If there had to be a character in Nathan Barley based on you, it would probably be Jones:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAB9kFDJyBw&mode=related&search=

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfyz68K5OWg&mode=related&search=


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)

Jones, I feel, is more of a John Fashion Flesh character.

As for my means of financial support, it's perfectly visible. I write articles about poo for Wired.


ReplyThread Parent
harveyjames
harveyjames
harveyjames
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)

I think the reason most people don't like Nathan Barley is because the script is so bad. It's full of great ideas, but the characters are severely underwritten- especially the female characters. Also the 'funny situations' don't make any sense. Why did no-one laugh at Nathan for wearing a handbag on his head but they did laugh at the equally ridiculous haircut the bag was hiding?

They could have done so much more with that show. A lot of the show is spent setting up oppositionalites and situations, which the writers then fail to do anything with. At the end of episode 1 I thought Nathan had started work at Sugar Ape, which would have given Dan something to do and the story somewhere to go... nothing doing though. The gears of the story are all carefully wound up, and then nothing happens. The plot just meanders for 6 episodes (I think Dan is supposed to be on a 'downward spiral', but it doesn't convince) and then it finishes.

The pilot was actually pretty good, but the series contains all the good ideas from the pilot stretched out over 6 episodes. I wonder how much Chris Morris had to do with the writing of the actual series. Probably not a lot? He's normally quite good with all the things the series suffered from, and some of the faults of the script are characteristically Brooker (eg. the lead female character is a 1-dimensional scold, which is probably a manifestation of Brooker's misogyny).

I've obviously thought too much about Nathan Barley :(


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC)

Why did no-one laugh at Nathan for wearing a handbag on his head but they did laugh at the equally ridiculous haircut the bag was hiding?

Doesn't Djave Bikinus say there's a vogue in Hosegate for "the Mexican street gangs who wear bags on their heads"? That look has presumably been hyped in Sugarape, whereas the Geek Pie look hasn't. But sure, the plot and characterization were creaky, mere excuses to hang the bilious observations on.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Wed, Sep. 13th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)

Why do you call it a " moderate to bad hair day"? Usually the bad hair days of some people looks really good.


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armoredbaby
armoredbaby
Thu, Sep. 14th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)



Reading over the various passages and I saw the images and -- had to combine them.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Sep. 14th, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)

A much better outfit.


ReplyThread Parent