You know how it goes. It starts innocently enough - just one clip of that interview you needed to watch - but then those recommendation sidebars get you. Quickly, you lose all sense of time, priority, and achievement, and you just wonder how you found yourself at a video of Conan O’Brien rubbing baby jaguars against his cheeks. I’m just as bad with areas of the internet outside of Youtube. Seriously, I never have less than 10 tabs open at once. It’s a wonder I get anything done. Of course, I don’t get as much from it as I think I do. “Oh, pop culture is my bread and butter. This is, like, my JOB.” If that’s the case, what relevance does Shaun Rider’s appearances on Channel 4’s mid-to-late nineties TV staple TFI Friday have to current cultural comment? But then you find something that makes it all worthwhile. Not often, I’ll admit, but sometimes, you stumble across something you hadn’t seen before that is just enlightening. Dear readers, that happened to me tonight. I present to you Jimmy Kimmel’s 2010 Oscar night sketch, ‘The Handsome Men’s Club’.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
The tense score
John Krasinski as the pandering sidekick
Cut after cut after cut revealing ever more handsome men
McConaughey. Of course.
“Oh, I’m sorry Jimmy. I got lost in my own eyes.”
Danson videochatting via AIM
And (though it goes without saying) it was all a bad dream.
Guys, it’s not often you find comedy gold, and maybe it’s just my hangover skewing my judgement, but - at least for tonight - Jimmy Kimmel has the best writers ever.
Scratchy Courtney Love growl: check. Tatty jumpers: check. Dishevelled dyed hair: check. 1998 Gwen Stefani bindi(?!): check. What we’ve got on our hands is video evidence of the possible peak of the current 90s revival: the video for Kate Nash’s new single, ‘Underestimate the Girl’. You must have seen it by now, what with the so-called ‘blogosphere’ blowing up about it. The Stool Pigeon asked, “Has the ‘Foundations’ star gone a bit wrong?” @Guardianmusic tweeted, “Why is ‘Kate Nash’s bindi’ not trending?” Generally, people were bemused. Nash’s lyrics, however, suggest an exhaustion with the expectations for the twee cockney crooner. Gone are the days of overly conversational moaning about her boyfriend throwing up on her trainers set to plinky piano playing. The new Nash, complete with smudged eyeliner and all-female backing band, forgoes the inconsequential observations of before and instead packs attitude about the judgement of others. Why should we underestimate her as an artist, nay, a GIRL? When you look a little closer, however, the lyrics kind of seem like they came from the rejection pile of potential new Pussycat Dolls hits. “You keep pretending you’re happy, you keep reading your magazine, your baby is fucking me.” Great, sure, but where’s the anger of the riot grrl acts she seems to be emulating? Where’s the snarling menace of Sparks and Gardner, of Hanna, of Bjelland? And is anyone else reminded of that episode of Faking It when Cambridge choirgirl Laura-Jane attempts the transformation to ‘rock chick’ at the (questionable) hands of Victoria ‘Harry’ Harrison? I’m sure this entirely non-threatening dilution bodes well for the pages of Grazia magazine, but for fans of the original female-fronted alternative bands she’s borrowing from… Well, I’m not buying it. (And on a different note: maybe it was the editors losing concentration, but why are all the shots that have been selected of the backing band, well, not that flattering? It can’t be an attempt to knock the authority of the female musicians down a peg…can it? Theories on the gender ethics of Nash’s production team on a postcard, please.) While it’s reassuring to see a renewed exposure for female musicians that have something to sing about other than men and love and all that other chart-topping guff, it’s still hard to shake the feeling that this may just be a marketing ploy rather than a genuine attempt at an image change. Play it over the P.A. in Topshop and sales of artfully pre-torn garments and combat boots are sure to surge, right? It may well nudge a new generation away from the slick polished pop of The Voice and towards the DIY approach of altogether more honest and gutsier stuff, or it may just continuing doing it wrong. It’s early days yet, so the jury’s still out on this one, but my feelings are leaning towards grunge being abused as a mere flavour of the month. Besides, I can’t imagine Nash throwing used tampons at her on-trend audience any time soon - can you?