Christiane F is a David Bowie-soundtracked ’70s film about a young girl’s descent into heroin addiction. The film — if you haven’t seen it — is a bit of a morality tale but worthy of note for the fantastic scene where Christiane and her friends go rollicking through a subway to the sounds of ‘Heroes’ (from 6:58).
I often refer back to this clip when thinking about ‘youth culture’ and what that label really means. This is a little glimpse of what being young feels like. It’s a clip about being reckless and guileless and joyful and living in the absolute now. At 36, I know that I am officially old because I’ve started to think that teenagers now a) all dress the same b) are obviously nowhere near as cool as teenagers from ‘my time’. I am, of course, wrong on both counts. Because I’m no longer there.
We’ve written here before about how the internet and specifically social media has enabled young people to ‘remove’ themselves from the mainstream. Traditionally, young people have done this through tribes and youth movements – be it the heroin-based club scene in Christiane F or Emo. And there is an ocean of thinking about how this links back to identity and belonging and so on. But it is the act of removal that so-called trend-spotters and yoof culture analysts always seem to miss.
As an adult, you’re not supposed to be able to see or read some aspects of youth culture. Like a teenager refusing to friend her mum on Facebook, if you’ve been allowed in you’re probably not seeing the genuine article. Likewise, identifying and labelling youth trends damns them to page 8 of the Sunday Times Style — and what fresh hell is that?
Full disclosure: I used to work at The Future Laboratory as a trends analyst. That’s analyst *not* spotter.
Running a club night in London will require reporting of all acts and ‘target audience’ to the Met. WHAT?
Indeed that’s the case, under new plans from London Police. Event organisers in 21 London boroughs are requested to ‘co-operate fully’ with police, by completing the new Form 696 before the event, in the interests of ‘risk assessment’.
Requested are not only details of promoters and onsite security, but also the contact numbers and real names of all performers, description of the ‘expected audience’ and the genre(s) of music expected to be performed, the examples given on the form being bashment, R’n’B, garage. No surprise then that many feel the Met is actually planning to use this data to focus police attention on clubs where such ‘dangerous’ forms of music are to be played, as well as for the profiling of the scene(s) and communities who organise and attend.
According to early reports, the form also included questions about the ethnicity of expected audiences. The current version on the Met’s site doesn’t include such information, so we can’t comment on that.
Concerns have been raised by many, including once-Undertone Feargal Sharkey, who now heads up the music campaign organisation UK Music. There’s a petition running on the 10 Downing Street website, a FaceBook group has been set up, and the mainstream press are paying attention.
Simply misguided urban policing, or the precursor of some modern day version of the 1994 Criminal Justice Bill’s rave-busting criminalisaiton of ‘repetitive beats’? Watch and wait. More importantly, act against this.
[Thanks for Helen Noir for tipping us off to this]
Surprise! Using IM improves kids’ linguistic skills.
According to a new study suggesting that instant messaging (IM) actually represents “an expansive new linguistic renaissance”.
Sali Tagliamonte and Derek Denis at the University of Toronto, Canada, say teenagers risk the disapproval of their elders if they use slang, and the scorn of their friends if they sound too buttoned-up. But instant messaging allows them to deploy a “robust mix” of colloquial and formal language. In a paper to be published in the spring 2008 issue of American Speech, the researchers argue that far from ruining teenagers’ ability to communicate, IM lets teenagers show off what they can do with language.
“IM is interactive discourse among friends that is conducive to informal language,” says Denis, “but at the same time, it is a written interface which tends to be more formal than speech.”
He and Tagliamonte analysed more than a million words of IM communications and a quarter of a million spoken words produced by 72 people aged between 15 and 20. They found that although IM shared some of the patterns used in speech, its vocabulary and grammar tended to be relatively conservative. For example, teenagers are more likely to use the phrase “He was like, ‘What’s up?’” than “He said, ‘What’s up?’” when speaking — but the opposite is true when they are instant-messaging. This supports the idea that IM represents a hybrid form of communication.
This is not news to us at BST. My dad is in his 70s and an excellent text messager. A recent text reads (sorry dad) “Thks 4 mess re 23rd”. He uses abbreviations just like the kids do. Why? He’s a linguist by training so he just gets it.
New rave experiencing same problems as old rave with the old bill.
Buster Bennett (previously of legendary Hoxton nights Antisocial and Family) has been running his latest night, Nuke Them All, for a while now. But he’s got a problem — he can’t keep a venue. Nuke was initially hosted at the charming Bethnal Green lapdancing joint, Images. But then the council got wind of it and pulled its licence. So it moved to The Edge, a basement venue on Commercial St. The council did the same thing (do they have clubkid spies or something?) So Buster, showing typical clubland enterprise, moved it to an an abandoned pub. Y’know, like the rave kids do. Then the police shut that down too. Buster’s positioning of Nuke as ‘the most lawless creative gathering ever’ is starting to look a bit too prescient.
We can’t resist quoting in full Buster’s comments on the original eviction, as reported over at Jonty Skrufff’s Skrufff.com:
“It’s the same old story, and exactly why we left the gentrified Shoreditch triangle in the first place. What happens is some wanky trust fund son of an estate agent decides to buy up a flat next to an already established strip club then complains about the noise; specifically; the noise, the giant walking pyramids, the cake fights, the glow in the dark horses, the nudity and our clientele generally. But still, why move there in the first place?”
The BBC and the Terrence Higgins Trust have collaborated on this ad to ‘raise awareness of HIV amongst 16-34 year olds’, although the language used (with references to ‘barebacking’ and ‘fisting’) makes it clear who the target audience is. The series of films also direct viewers to an interactive website, where they can find out more about HIV and AIDS and customise their own GI Jonny virtual action figure. Their own creation can then be forwarded to friends and downloaded to Facebook (this bit didn’t seem to be working when we checked it out).
According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, the number of people in the UK with the virus has risen from 30,000 in 2001 to 70,000 this year. Research by the charity also suggests there is still widespread ignorance about HIV, particularly amongst young people. A recent poll of 1,000 people found more than 20% of people aged 18 to 24 mistakenly thought there was a cure for HIV. Among the same age group almost a quarter believed condoms had holes in them which let HIV through. So the more information, the better then. Weird though that it took the agency — in this case Kontraband — to get the thing up on YouTube.
The photography special features Paul Hartnett and our very own Darrell Berry.
Here’s the official release:
100proof announce the release of Issue 3 of their urban culture PDF 100proofTRUTH.
The only publication that gives real props to those it’s due to, still repping all that’s good in the world with 145 pages of visual diversity;
Eclectic interviews, street art, graphics, and photography with a truly global urban youth perspective (uh, no not “urban youth” like pictures of 50 Cent posing with a cognac in Vibe magazine).
— Fallon NYC on 100proofTRUTH.
100proofTRUTH Issue 3 is all about the power of the photograph, with a few other talents thrown in for good measure, (like Sfaustina from San Francisco, Sun7 from Paris, Karan Rashad from Iran, Dzyla and Fani1 from Australia, and Laser 3.14 from Amsterdam.)