Sunday. A day out. Brick Lane.
I know.. why would I in the first place? Not on a Sunday!
Sensationalism? Boredom? Stupidity? Self-testing?
Research! Checking out the old neighbourhood! Cake!
And I’m thinking to myself ‘next time there might be a McDonald’s. A Nando’s at least. Oh wait..there already is one..round the corner, next to Office..’
While I could continue to suggest my general resentment of the conquest of chains of previously privately-run businesses (I think there is a word for it: globalisation), what really leaves me with a feeling of dissatisfaction isn’t the sameness of shops, but the sameness of aesthetic values.
What I see: 2nd hand (I mean Vintage) jeans, brogues, a deliberate omission of socks, your old maths teacher’s jumper, a waxed jacket, a woolly hat, a beard.
A sight to behold!? Not really, to be repeated 23 times while I am sitting here.
‘So what!’ you might say. ‘So what!’ I do say..yet something is still bothering me.
Grotesquely all these people, just like me, would say about themselves never to follow trends. Interesting.
It’s not that I particularly dislike any of these style elements either, nor the combination, I simply cannot stand everybody liking the same things. (I think there is a word for it too: fashion)
My ego seems to be entering a battleground: Surely it doesn’t make sense to stop liking something simply because you’re not alone liking it. Surely popularity doesn’t diminish quality or aesthetic value...
Or does it?
In his 1904 essay ‘Fashion’ Simmel writes ‘Man has ever had a dualistic nature […] striving towards generalization on the one hand, and on the other by the desire to describe the single special element. Thus generalization gives rest to the soul whereas specialization permits it to move from example to example […]’ (p. 131)
As for my matter he speaks of a ‘curious social-psychological complication: the tendency towards individual conspicuousness primarily rests content with a mere inversion of the social imitation. […]
It is often absolutely impossible to tell whether the element of personal strength or weakness preponderate in the group of causes that leads to such a departure from fashion. It may result in a desire not to make common cause with the mass, a desire that has at its basis NOT independence of the mass, to be sure, but yet an INHERENTLY SOVEREIGN POSITION with respect to the letter.
Such opposition is by no means always a sign of personal strength.’ (p. 142, 143)
So just after the 23rd time of the same outfit passing by I start enjoying what I see, digging further into the most generous slice of cheesecake man has ever seen.
‘Rise above it girl. Rise above.’