Saturday, 22 December 2007


Like any good researcher, I have gone back to the source material to investigate the persistent, dewy-eyed concept of C86 as a genuine 'pop movement'. The 'source material' being some old music press cuttings and fanzines I have kept carefully archived for an occassion such as this. I knew they'd come in handy eventually.
Here we see a frankly embarrassing attempt by late, not very lamented music rag 'Record Mirror' to capture the essence of 'Cutie', basically suggesting that it involves taking on the behaviour of a toddler: chocolate buttons, Winnie the Pooh books, colouring books and crayons, Snoopy sunglasses. Still at least it's grasped the basic premise behind the 'scene' - a d.i.y. , eschewing the mainstream, punk rock attitude. Buzzcocks and The Undertones are suggested as the holy grail of Shambling bands. In order to be a Shambler, the article urges you to tape stuff off John Peel, search for snake belts and paisley ties in charity shops, carry around a Penguin Modern Classic and 'perfect the coy under-the-fringe glance'. Honorary Anorak Wearers include John Noakes, Christopher Robin, Kevin Turvey and Percy Thrower (!!)

Record Mirror's pitiful band-wagon-jumping is nothing compared to the old bollocks dreamt up by i-D magazine, however. Glance, if you dare, at their 'Cuties' fashion spread. What is going on there?! According to the styling blurb, these crazy kids are dressed head to toe in clobber from Next and American Classics. It's all distressingly wrong. The accompanying blurb reads as follows:

'Also known as Shamblers or Shabbies (????!). Cuties like indie bands such as The Soup Dragons, The Pastels, BMX Bandits, Talulah Gosh, The Smiths, The Shop Assistant, Half Man Half Biscuit and even the Housemartins. Childlike innocence and assumed naivety permeate the Cutie scene - their clothes are asexual, their haircuts are fringes, their colours are pastel. Cuties like Penguin Modern Classics, sweets, ginger beer, vegetables and anoraks. Heroes include Christopher Robin, John Noakes, Buzzcocks and The Undertones. This is the bubblegum brigade.'

Note the alarming similarities to the Record Mirror piece. It's almost like i-D trawled through an old pop mag that was lying around and nicked some 'style ideas' from it.

No comments: