THE NOUGHTIES WEREN'T ALL THAT

We’re meant to have these in the next ten years. Hope there’s prototype Spinners in a warehouse somewhere.

I’m guilty of steeping these blog entries in the past – dwelling in the past and failing to look at the current cultural climate. It’s something I’ve pledged to resolve but there’s a reason for that. For all the bluster, mass of available information and glut of social networking resources, the noughties weren’t that good were they? Seeing as I’ve been alcohol-free for the duration, I think I saw them clearly enough for what they were – full of shitty buzzwords (I even used one seventeen words back) and referential nonsense. It was a decade bookended by misinformation, grand-scale terrorist attacks, economic meltdown, flu panics and punctuated by reality shows, a couple of military invasions and with some localised suicide bombs in the middle for extra misery, it hasn’t been what I expected.

I’d anticipated space holidaying, flying family-sized hatchbacks and video phones – actually, we got that one but then realised it was better in theory. I’m grateful for the little box giving me limitless music on the move and high-speed pornography, but is that it?

In fact, if you were to compress the last ten years into one little pamphlet to indicate just how we’ve treated subcultures like Jodie Foster’s douchebag assailants in ‘The Accused’ and demolished popular culture in the process, this right here is late 2009 epitomised. Put this shit right here in a time capsule as a warning from history –

This 148-page top quality bookazine will engross and amuse anyone who enjoys this irreverent artform.” This drivel’s in newsagents across the country. Anyone who wrote a single letter promoting this street art dreck is part of the problem and an enemy of progress. But that topic’s been done to death. But what have the noughties given us? When the cyclical retro wagon goes there, what epitomises the last ten years? A big old self-conscious cut and paste of the previous three decades, that’s what. It’s hard to pin down. Seeing as I’ve spent the last half of the new millenium’s opening salvo scribbling about athletic footwear, I’m well aware that I’m part of the problem too.

Those desperate to be “down” run around playing hunt the zeitgeist looking for a movement to latch on to so they can tell the kids that they were part of something significant, unaware that the minute they connect with it, it’s dead and gone. Taking full advantage of the electronic democracy blogging allowed, and in all the panic and confusion there’s an awful lot of figureheads who lack the minerals and vitamins (a knowing 1994 rap reference proves that I represent this wave of cultural pirates who’ve rendered the cool mundane) spreading ill-informed messages. The recent obsession with all things old and well-built just feels like total pack mentailty surrender rather than some reaction against spoonfed cultural capital. Eccch.

Graffiti book overlord Mr. Charles Morgan put me onto Ryan McGuiness’s ‘Sponsorship’ book a short while ago. Made to tie in with the 2003 exhibition of the same name, it’s telling that even by the time the book was released in its non-Ginko run, the interviewees included seem utterly jaded by the collaboration process in excess. KAWS tells McGinness, “People are going to look at this book that you’re doing  ten years from now and they’re going to think it’s silly. They’ll think, ‘Was this really an issue?”

Bear in mind that Nike’s ‘Community Service’ project with ESPO and the Undefeated billboard project with Aaron Rose had been implemented by the time Ryan sat down to talk. It never got much more exciting than that, did it? Yet the artist collaboration typified the times and creaked along for another six years. KAWS’s responses mean he’s free of any accusations of hypocrisy, but the lure of the dollar seems to have changed more than a couple’s opinions. The new Juxtapoz, talking to some Barnstormers, acts as a good follow-up to the book. There’s a good Jose Parla interview and a nifty ALIFE retrospective in there too.

There’s still hope. Simon Reynolds has declared my beloved hip-hop dead and buried. That’s bollocks of course, unless you’re one of the handful who thought it needed reviving by an aged squad of label casualties like Slaughterhouse. Lofty critics nailing the coffin is always a harbinger of the topic of memorial thriving in the years that follow. But trailers for videos that make the EPMD ‘Headbanger’ promo look like MJ’s ‘Black Or White’ by comparison? Less of that please. Then there’s Twitter, allowing you to see who’s a toy just by their occasional brain guffs – anyone who’s spending their time hunting e-props and an aura of intellect with Tweeted nuggets of dickhead motivation 101 should be hunted down like an animal.

Despite my hermit-like existence, recent ventures out were proof that there’s a lot of people getting shit done, getting creative and wielding a new optimism to see in the next decade. That in turn, makes me optimistic. Forget anyone who launches into the new year with daft proclamations like the idiots Facebooking that we entered “Two-Thousand -and -mine” just under twelve months ago. Those people get nothing done. They’ll be entering Two-Thousand and didn’t-happen in a fortnight. London will be the spot again in the next couple of years. It never went anywhere. It just got a little more disparate and distracted.