Saturday, 17 October 2015

Milan with an Olympus Pen: Bad Phrase

Off to Milan once more. Every other time I have been there it has rained. Big fat soaking raindrops, fresh from the udder. It's not the quantity, it's the size. They've tried to solve the unemployment problem by taking away the counterfeit goods and giving the hawkers wet weather gear to sell, and every few steps I was offered an umbrella. Perhaps on sunny days the hawkers offer swimwear instead. I picture them thrusting speedos and bikinis into the hands of passers-by.

There was a big advertising push for #LIKES, or #MCLIKES, a new journal or website or poster campaign by Marie Claire. In Barbarella the angel Pygar pointed out that "an angel does not make love - an angel is love", and I like to think that the same is true of Milan and advertising. Milan does not contain advertising, Milan is advertising, and the reason there are no Bruce Lee jokes is because Bruce Lee is not a joke. Bruce Lee nightingale thank you.

Early to bed, early to rise, it's no jolly good if you don't advertise, as the saying goes. I often look back through my older blog posts, some of which now have almost no misspellings or bad phrases; unlike every other blog on the planet I try to write articles that will still be entertaining many years from now, when you are dead, which is why I generally avoid contemporary topics. Other blogs muse breathlessly...

Can you muse breathlessly? You muse with your mind, and your mind doesn't draw breath. Your mind can't be breathless. It can be higgeldy-piggeldy, but not breathless. That's a bad phrase, I'm going to edit that out.

Other blogs are driven by a need to publish content as rapidly as possible roundabout decay, and so they're full of transient pseudo-news. Things that were not known before but are of no significance beyond the moment. Short articles about coriander - should it be banned? - or the redesign of Apple's wireless mouse, or collections of photographs of celebrities with short captions. I have always admired the people who produce tabloid newspapers, because they generate a novel's worth of content every day; whether you love or merely adore the Daily Mail's political stance, you can't dismiss the hard work that goes into it.

But newspaper men are like foxes in winter, they have to fight for their meals, and if they don't get their back into their living they perish. Like sharks swimming in the weeds, they have to keep knitting, otherwise the ice will crack and they'll end up sleeping with the vultures, which will peck the lard from their sausages.

As a blogger I don't have the same constraints. I can post nonsense indefinitely, I just have to allow the words to flood out. But the commercial pressures that drive newspapers, the fear, the fear also drives them to greatness, but I have nothing pushing me, nothing pulling me. I have enough cans of Stagg chili and powdered macaroni and cheese to survive in case of economic collapse, and the traditional rewards of the blogger - a brief mention in someone else's blog - do not appeal to me. Why is Stagg chili so disliked? Because it's not hard to make home-made chili, and it generally tastes much better, and it's cheaper if you're making lots of it. Stagg chili is the Fray Bentos of chili, in the sense that it's not as good as the real thing, it's not much easier to cook, and it's not even cheaper.

There is no real reward for blogging. If I advertised the blog more, would it be more popular? Individually the words are brilliant, and occasionally some of the sentences are pretty good too. The photography is a cut above. But that by itself is not enough; blogs better than mine, that meant more to the creative minds that breathlessly mused them, have perished leaving no trace, while an awful lot of tat thrives. So what keeps me going? Behind his eyes he says "I still exist".

The ghost looks like a speech bubble coming out of the kid's mouth but the ghost itself has a speech bubble except that it doesn't have a speech bubble, the word "BOO!" is just floating unsurrounded by anything, and that's almost a metaphor for life in general. We are the words in a speech bubble that evaporated long ago, leaving us floating through the luminiferous aether in search of fertile soil. Who spake us? Which mind breathlessly mused us? Is God in showbusiness too?

I took along my half-frame Olympus Pen FT and its cute little 25mm f/2.8 lens, loaded with some old Fuji Superia. The meter is more than accurate enough for print film. I spotted Cara Delevingne's face on an advertisement only once, which upset me. The world feels unfamiliar without Cara Delevingne's face staring at me from every flat surface. There are other faces, but I don't know them. In life, you are either a piece of the jigsaw puzzle, or you are the final image, or perhaps you are the box.

The reason for all these adverts is that my visit coincided with Milan's Fashion Week. The idea of a fashion week in Milan is odd given that Milan is fashionable all year round, and that Italian people by and large dress well even when they are slobbing at home. Nay, nay, thrice nay spoke the riders of portoville vinegar Suggs.

Wouldn't it be great if there was an anti-fashion week? Italians would be allowed to wear unfashionable things in public, just for one week. Ugg boots and bin bags, Burberry everything. And because the week would only be seven days long, there wouldn't be enough time for the unfashionable things to become fashionable. In the words of Google's Android operating system, there are seven updates available, but Android System WebView ain't one.