Always outnumbered. Generally overdresssed.

Friday, September 03, 2010

What does it take to turn you on?

The 90s were a joke decade. Seems to me there was at least a kind of earnestness in the posing and materialism of the 80s but the 90s had this overlay of irony that was really insincerity contrived to hide a lack of feeling or ideas. Suede, Oasis, Blur - terrible bands the lot of them. His 'n' Hers and Odelay were probably the only good albums to come out of the whole sorry period.

But I digress.

When I did the D&AD workshops some years ago we went to see Dave Trott. He kept us in there from 6.30 till 11.00pm and was brutally nasty about all the work we'd done. He was spot on about most of it, and he did manage to tell me some useful things about myself, for which I still haven't totally forgiven him. One of the interesting things he said was 'You have to learn what turns you on.' Apparently, what turns Dave on, he told us, is fear. Not necessarily whimpering from the basement type fear (I wouldn't rule it out though), but the fear that you're not going to crack the brief and everything you've ever believed about yourself will be shown to be a lie.

Certain copywriters, those who write particularly chippy lines like, for instance, 'We took their land, their women and their buffalos. Then we went back for their shoes.' or 'A table for two? Certainly you old trout.' or 'You're never going to be able to retire, so why should your shoes.' seem to get turned on by anger. Anger is a great creative emotion because when you get angry you're reaching out to the world around you - toward the thing that makes you angry - and that makes you feel present in the world. It fills the, hem, ontological vacuum. Think about those scenes in The Thick of It where Malcolm Tucker is about to lose control completely and then re-composes himself using an angry tirade.

There's a nice bit in Mad Men where Draper's bohemian mistress, Midge, talks about 'the ego that people pay to see'. This is another thing that makes great copywriters - the need to be loved and liked by everyone. You can see why a brand would want to buy that off you, and turn it to its own purposes. These copywriters are phallic narcissicists, specialists in verbal constructions woven with the desire to be liked and loved.

And this is why advertising is so wonderful, because these people, who would otherwise be dangerous sociopaths get to have their neuroses turned inside out for the benefit of light industry.

Anyway, if you hunted around you could probably find more than three typologies, but today I'm a bit busy, my column for The Crypto Fascist Chronicle is late (sorry Mark, end of the day?), and I have an MA dissertation to tidy up.

So I ask you, what does it tike to tyurn yoo oooooooon?


Anonymous said...

Firstly, the 90's were an awesome decade for music! Britpop indie is obviously shit (Ocean Colour Scene etc), but what about Mobb Deep's The Infamous, Wu-Tang Enter the 36 Chambers, The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II and the birth of drum and bass?!?!?!

What does it take to turn me on? I don't know. What turns you on?


Gordon Comstock said...

Drum and bass is music for teenage boys to shadow box to.

Apart from that I take your point, I still put on Liquid Swords every now and again because it's got that incredibly bleak sound to it.

Anonymous said...

Haha, maybe you're right about drum and bass...I forgot also SL2 On a Ragga Tip...Am only half joking about that...check the video...