How style swamps substance
24/12/2011 - "How style swamps substance" by Donal Carroll
 
 

How style trumps substance   - Rum Runner


Thank You All


At the end of the year, and welcoming a new one, for all our Critical Difference customers and supporters, here’s a poem I wrote some time back –with a new twist. Thank you again our customers and supporters.  


Now: What’s a poem for: an unsettler, think-nudger, to voice the unheard, a frolic in language…? All of these? First a few questions: What city was the club in -the poem’s named after it (not London)? When? What group were present, during that period, rising on the style mentioned in the poem?


 


Rum Runner   ‘dress up and drop out’  (Style Dick Hebdige)


Wind-skint, they gird up their macho, wooing


in traditional style: strut, jut, linger


and strategic disinterest that would pull


success… anywhere else but here


where the event pours its insides out in


to the alley each time the door opens


showering them with sound and rising salsa:


the doorman fouls their eyes, ignoring them.


 


Inside, spaced-in, the sound becomes a look:


in a petty-Borges atmosphere,


newage choirboys and matinee dreamboats


ignore teenage grannies who ignore twotones,


subalterns of style, ignoring the odd couple,


 Eric Flynn and Rita Haywhat, ignoring


Bog-Art, salivating gum, dressed in a conceptual mackintosh,


knocking back stacks of rockn’roll mouthwash


ignoring the spare Ted, well Lazurus’d.


 


Latin l’amours wear off the shoulder


highwaymen with Dick Turpentine cocktails;


pirates eye-shadow Regency dandies,


bockerknickered with brio and Brylcreem


and suffering from terminal flashback;


the ballet dressed talking bicep with the


authority of Sandra Dee’s underwear


quotes a crinoline: cubby-hole peacocks.


 


The dearth of cocktail kitsch cruelty wear


goes unnoticed; the military fatigues;


Bowie clones invade the space placed round them,


wiggle their toggle, skeletal small-boying,


with their affliction curtaining one eye,


a hair so conscious it speaks its own lines;


all electronicking about the floor,


they salon, with a chip in their shoulders,


micro-moving the process of dancing:


 even a fractured eyelash is action.


 


This is the world of protective clothing;


style whiles away the climate of doing,


of necessity, other than itself;


sobbing soubrettes sartorial stimulants –


the socially biodegradable;


suddenly ‘Tomorrow belongs to me’


appears, a brown-shirted moment –ignored


like the price of the drinks, in the hunt for


the glint round the necklace of Narcissus.

 
 
 
 

Visitors' Comments on this Post

06/03/2012 Comment posted by Chris T
More like this please; some passion and fire with artistry and your sharp wordplay. Dick Hebdige and Rum Runner references point to Birmingham in the late 70\'s or early 80s, apparently associated with Duran Duran but you also mentioned two-tone. However, the cycle of self-conscious self-labelling or self-distancing as a part of the (sub) cultural identity parade is ongoing, and I tend to agree with (my reading of) your reading - that change, the doing of good (or bad), and/or the sublimation of (the/my) \"self\" as a cult-in-itself in favour of anything real, gritty and problematic, is a superfluous, underdressed and unliked guest in this (and then already) post-modernist milieu.
28/12/2011 Comment posted by Claudia
Interesting take on style. It just shows our diversity in all its forms.

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