Sunday, January 29, 2012

What My Demographic Means To Me

If I make one single prophecy as a blogger who is probably at the peak of her popularity, it is this: Lena Dunham will be to 2012 what Tina Fey was to 2008. For those of you not yet aware, this is Lena Dunham.



She looks like your best friend, and that girl you work with, and that other girl who sometimes works the late shift at Tesco Express who is gracefully forgiving about how 90% of your purchases come from the reduced-to-clear section. In short, she's most girls, everywhere. She is also a filmmaker, and she is very funny. This might be why HBO is giving her a TV series, and this is why they are calling it "Girls". Here are two Youtube videos about Girls.




Here are some words I predict Girls will be associated with after its April television debut.

Pretentious.

Naval-gazing.

Glibly self-aware.

Self-indulgent.

Vague.

Flaccid.

Dull.

And it will probably be cancelled halfway through its second series. Whether or not any of these inevitable criticisms turn out to be true remains to be seen, and talking about the popularity of a TV show that has yet to have premiered is fairly moot. The only absolute fact I can present to you in regards to Girls is this: I felt more 'related to' in the 2-minutes of video shown above then I have by any mainstream form of media in.. well, a long time. Certainly a while. Maybe since Daria, for Christ sake. And if you're a woman, and you read this blog, and you're between the ages of eighteen and thirty, you might feel the same way. 

Because our world and our personalities are almost entirely dictated by what media we consume, 'relating to' a group of people is a task less about art and creativity and more about who you can sell Converse to.  Which I suppose is a little depressing, but unless you're tremendously naive, is something you have to accept and move on from. Preferably in your Converse, which are of course, tailored to fit your whole personality.  



As you can see, this whole 'relating to' process is fairly cyclical and a boiled down version of how Marketing works. So my problem here isn't about being a mere statistic within a demographic bracket. That I accept. My problem is just how poorly my demographic is being related to. 

EXAMPLE: 

A PAIR OF JEANS I BOUGHT YESTERDAY

THESE ARE THEM:


Yesterday I bought these jeans in New Look. If you're reading from somewhere that doesn't have New Look, then New Look is that kind of solid, if fairly unambitious clothing chain that brings you casual clothing that tries to vaguely emulate whatever is going on in fashion right now. Which I am cool with, because me and New Look are at about the same level of clued-in on what is going on in fashion. Animal Prints? Yeah cool, whatever. Coloured jeans? Yeah cool, whatever. Me and New Look get each other. 

So I get home, and I take my jeans out to hang up, and then this catches my eye:



This was the tag on my jeans. This ridiculous, nonsensical combination of words is how New Look choose to relate to me. New Look thinks that I'm the kind of person that classifies speed dating as a "hot night out", finds "hidden gems curled up on the sofa" (I did find half a pack of Jaffa Cakes stuck in there once, but I don't know if I'd call that a 'gem'.) and, after a night of "crazy karaoke" finds myself the "office strut". 

What in the fucking fuck? Does anyone know any person that relates to this kind of person, the person New Look thinks they are? Whatever about assigning clothing arbitrary personalities (Topshop have been  'naming' their jeans things like 'Lucy' and 'Leigh' for years) but this is ridiculous. 

This is what I'm trying to get at. Advertising to a male demographic has been neatly categorized to the extent that you can figure out a man's entire approach by a few simple questions.

Do you like comic books
Are you opposed to the idea of a man bag?
Why not try this nerdy-but-essentially-still-cool tshirt?


With women, however, it goes a little more like this.

Do you like comic books?
Do you have breasts? 
Here, have this thing that you can use to on turn your doubtlessly-just-as-nerdy-as-you-are boyfriend.




Women are being advertised to as a series of buzz words that, like the ones dashed together on the label of my jeans, just doesn't make any fucking sense. As Lena Dunham points out in one of the videos above, there is no pop culture mirror for girls in their twenties who aren't, in the eyes of Marketing managers, totally retarded. 

You know, girls who have read Love in the Time of The Cholera but still fret endlessly that one of their boobs might be bigger then the other. Girls who are sick of being told that this years thing is 'underwear as outerwear'. Girls who had an ill-advised punk rock phase, girls who tried to cut their own fringe once, and girls who have still not made up their mind about jeggings. Girls who don't know what 'toner' is, or why it's essential to their skincare routine. Girls who guiltily read  '500 Ways To Please Your Man' articles, but are still insulted by them.

And yet, the absolute best thing mainstream media has to offer us on any kind of  'every woman' is Zooey Deschanel, and the word 'adorkable'. 



I know it's not just me who is pissed off about this.

I know it's not just me.

It can't just be me. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Things Rich People Roughly My Age Like To Do

There are a few certain inevitable truths that I have come to terms with in my short time as an adult, and one of them is this: I will never make very much money. I'm not trying to identify myself as some sort of intensely spiritual St. Francis of Assisi type - I would very much like to make a lot of money, I just don't see it as being a probable reality. Here's why:


REASONS WHY CAROLINE WILL NEVER BE A MILLION, OR EVEN THOUSANDAIRE:

1. I have one basic skill.

2. Unless I can use that skill to invent the next Harry Potter, Edward Cullen or Lisbeth Salander, I'm pretty much screwed. This in itself is highly unlikely, because the only character I'm able to write about is myself, and in case you hadn't noticed, I am neither a wizard, a vampire or a computer hacking vigilante. Oh, phooey.




3. I have never been romantically involved with someone who has, or has any real interest in earning, any money. This is an illness much maligned by my mother, who has named the case Stray Dog Syndrome, whereby instead of adopting the enterprising, go-getting Golden Retriever on a trip to the proverbial dating pound, a girl will instead take home the charming mongrel who is going to be put down tomorrow. This isn't necessarily a bad choice, it just means you want this:

Girl's best friend
When your family feel like you should want this:

Total bell-end

Ridiculous dog metaphors aside, I think we can safely assume that 'marrying into' money is not going to be an option for me. (I'm not ruling it out either though. If a certain single Windsor brother were to stumble upon this I would be happy to get a few cans with him sometime.)

Anyway. So concludes my list of reasons that I will never be a particularly rich woman. The thing is, I'm actually ok with this. I'm pretty good at poverty, judging by the amount of cardigans I own that were nicked from a lost and found. That doesn't stop me from glowering jealously at those who have managed to make money. Now that I work in a pub on London's infamous Fleet Street, I come into contact with people who are roughly the same age as me that literally make more money in a week then I do in three months. But am I bitter? No, of course not. I have artistic integrity. Plus access to the lost and found.




THINGS RICH PEOPLE ROUGHLY MY AGE (RPRMA) LIKE TO DO:



"Jagerbombs? Guys, Jagerbombs? Karly, you want a Jagerbomb? Karly? Jagerbomb. JAGERbomb. Ask Simon if he wants a Jagerbomb."


I don't know why this is, but a Jagerbomb (a shot of Jagermeister dropped into a glass of red bull) seems to be the only drink that requires eighteen people half-wanting one before anyone's allowed to order it. A Jagerbomb isn't a drink, it's an organised event. Once it's been confirmed that eighteen people do indeed kinda-sorta want a Jagerbomb, it is imperative that every single one of them drink it at the EXACT SAME TIME. Otherwise, Miles from HR will have a panic attack.





Find the darkest corner of the bar and hoard themselves in that one area.


Because what's sexier then the dark, right? Darkness is EXCLUSIVE. And maybe if we all stand their together, people will think we're talking about some seriously exclusive shit.


Be strangely resentful when you take away their empty glasses.


Maybe this is all in my head, but whenever I'm sent on a glass collecting run, I notice that a RPRMA will narrow their eyes disapprovingly when I gather the empty glasses from their table. Maybe it's because I'm interrupting their serious and exclusive conversation, but my current theory is that I am taking away signifiers of their wealth and opulence.

Imagine with me for a second. You work in an office from Monday to Friday. During that time, the only opportunity you're granted to flaunt your economic superiority to the outside world is your daily visit to PrĂ©t a Manger. Here, the best you can do is buy something that includes expensive sounding foodstuffs, like Brie and Prosciutto. Topped off with some ridiculous crisps, that look like this:


But when you go to a bar, there is no better signifier of wealth - and your ability to be a mad bastard - then a crowd of empty glasses screaming "This guy bought a round of drinks for his team and doesn't want anybody forgetting about it!"


Have one guy suggest going to a strip club. Over and over and over again. 


Having never been in attendance to one of these nights out, I am unsure as to whether anyone ever gets to the strip club, but I do know that the idea is bandied about. A lot. There's generally one guy driving this cause, and hes probably the guy who ordered the Jagerbombs. In response to this, half of the male RPRMAs will try to look mildly-interested-but-generally-unbothered, in an attempt to mask their obvious excitement at the prospect. The other half of the male RPRMAs will be trying to bed the female RPRMAs, and will be shrugging and confessing that they "do not see the appeal". Of course you see the appeal. Even I see the appeal.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Imperialism, Ponies and the Rosetta Stone


Let’s all level with each other here.  Let’s tear down this fourth wall that separates me, the blogger, from you, the blogee. (Does that make sense? In order for you to be the blogee I’d probably have to be blogging directly about you, which isn’t the case. However, it’s a word I just made up, so does it even matter? Probably not.)

Anyway, I’m sick. Not sick-sick, just your basic cold and flu bollocks that doesn’t really warrant any attention, but has rendered me bed-bound for the last three days. There are so many balled-up tissues on my bedroom floor it looks like a child’s interpretation of winter. I’ve been getting through the unpleasantness by watching series one and two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which of course means that whenever I do leave the house, I naturally think someone’s going to attack me.  



Anyway, this whole time I’ve been in quarantine, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of appropriate blog material. Aside from a fairly confusing anecdote about a French hotel owner who asked me to be his concubine when I was nineteen, I’ve got nothing. So instead, here are some unattached thoughts.

THE WAR HORSE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN IS MAKING ME REASSESS MY LIFE

The years between eight and fourteen are an odd time to be a girl. You’re starting to grow out of Barbies (Ok, theoretically you should be growing out of Barbies. I still keep mine under my bed to ward of danger and ugly person thoughts.) but you’re still too suspicious of boys to obsess over them in any real way. These wonder years must hence be filled with PONIES PONIES AND YET MORE PONIES.

For many years, the pony loving aspect of our personalities has lain dormant, nuzzled into piles of warm hay within our sub-conscious. Then, of course, the movie War Horse happened.



How on earth is anyone supposed to function normally with this plastered on the side of a bus? You can’t, that’s how. That’s why my browser history looks like this.



Do you know what the Paradise Ranch is? It’s a ranch that you can go to and work at. Do you know where it is? Buffalo. Do you know how much it costs to go to Buffalo? Four hundred and forty four pounds.

PARADISE RANCH, YOU KNOW WHERE I AM.

WHY IS ENGLAND SO OBSESSED WITH PANEL SHOWS?

When I lived with my parents in Ireland, I knew about panel shows. Sometimes I even watched them. The Simon Amstell seasons of Never Mind the Buzzcocks were a beautiful thing. But all these panel shows were always filtered by a plethora of other kinds of TV shows. Now that I live in England and have a basic TV package, its wall-to-wall, twenty-four-seven, relentless, boundless, unstoppable fucking PANEL SHOWS.





I think it has something to do with the inherent cultural arrogance of English people. Now, I love you guys. Really. I do. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing English people love more than putting a ton of English people in one place. In days of yore, ‘one place’ used to mean India, Ireland or the Falklands. Now, the only place left worth colonising is your living room between six and eleven o’clock every evening.

Behold, the new face of Imperialism.



ROSETTA STONE ASPIRATIONS

Is there any human being in the world who has seen an advertisement for the Rosetta Stone and not thought of ordering one, right that second? Why doesn’t everyone in the world own a Rosetta Stone package?
I’ve only seen one person use Rosetta Stone, and it was my friend Erica, when she was using it to get better at Chinese. Guess where Erica subsequently spent the year of 2010? In China.



A Rosetta Stone package should be a basic human right, along with food, water and the internet. When you hit puberty, you should be sent a Rosetta Stone package of the culture that most suits your innate wants and needs. That way, I could be in Japan right now. You could be in France. Your boyfriend could be in Cuba, witnessing first-hand the effectiveness of communism on a small and organised scale. And everyone would speak in much shorter, more delightful sentences.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Things That Upset Me Today

This morning, I was in the fragile state known as being Gently Hungover. Gently Hungover is what happens after you've spent the whole night previously drinking grown-up red wine and playing grown-up party games with your grown-up friends, who are generally seen as being a positive example on you. No-one got crazy, but things were said and done that, in the context of the evening, were beautiful and pure and true. Tom and I stared longingly into the abyss, and said the words "Jordan Catalano" over and over again. Salt and Alex stared longingly into the abyss and said the words "Final Fantasy" over and over again. The eve was many things to many people.

The next morning, I had a hair appointment, and didn't even realize that I was Gently Hungover/Still Drunk until I was sitting in my stylist's chair with a head full of tinfoil, weeping openly into the stack of old magazines provided for me. When one is Gently Hungover, one feels for frivolous causes in a way otherwise impossible in everyday life. Barn owls are inexplicably depressing. Squirrels are nature's Joan of Arc. A picture of a middle-aged Grace Kelly, wearing a trouser suit, her eyes cast downward while she reclines on a chaise longue, is an ocean of melancholy. Why did you have to die, Grace? Why? 


Here is an incomplete list of things that, for better or worse, good or evil, upset me today.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone linking arms in New York. So beautiful. So true.


Kate Middleton's plummeting weight and generally miserable expression. So obviously representative of the mounting pressures of being a princess.

Kate Middleton's hair looking distressingly thin. So different from the cascading mane that inspired all of us circa rockin-engagement photo. So obviously representative of the mounting pressures of being a princess. 



Pippa Middleton, in general. Surely she must know how useless she is?

Advertisements asking me to adopt a snow leopard. THE SNOW LEOPARDS ARE IN DANGER?

David Beckham hugging any combination of Romeo or Cruz, but not so much Brooklyn. There's something about that kid I just can't get on board with.


Victoria Beckham refusing to put down Harper Seven for any length of time

Victoria Beckham finally being taken seriously as a designer by all the other designers, particularly as I've been working under the assumption that they've been laughing cattily about her behind her back for all these years.

That woman who's married to the prince of Monaco. She can't love him. Can she? He looks like a sociopath and she looks like Katherine Jenkins.

GODDAMNIT, SNOW LEOPARDS

.