Dressed by YouTube

It has been vintage year for the viral video, cyberspace’s modern take on You’ve Been Framed. With so many hits wrapping themselves around the internet like so many fashionably knotted scarves, it’s easy to forget that many web video phenomena live mayfly existences. From auto-tuned news to Russian easy listening, it’s all being going on down YouTube way…

One fantastic example doing the rounds at the moment tweeks the memory of people of a certain age who recall both Nathan Barley and the Charlie Brooker penned TVGoHome listings for fictional sit-com Cunt, which accurately predicted the direction of youthful fashion trends; however hard people try to look different, eventually looks converge into parades of the identical.

By way of social commentary far more important than it first seems, the video below not only rehabilitates use of the word “Dickhead” as a credible swearword but strikes at the Hoxton look raging across the country with sharp satire. The synth-pop sideswipe is more than a mere fun song to pass the time, sealing in time as it does evidence of fashion’s continued ability to magnetise enough people towards a given look and style almost without trying. Far from being a negative judgement on those individuals within the video – although its end does strike at particular examples outside the main stereotype – my take on “Dickhead” is it having more comment on the fashion ‘industry’. Is one question to take from this video why so many more blokes feature than women? Are these lads of the 90s forced – or being forced – to maintain a youthful image?

Being a man of a certain age does not exclude me from some of the choices available on the High Street. I do question if it’s worth stepping outside looking like an Auton after an all-night orgy at Topman. New takes on the t-shirt-and-jeans combo are timeless; I cannot fathom the thinking behind lenseless specs unless such choices are so layered in self-referential irony as to be unfathomable to everyone but the wearer. Those in the industry may point out the Catch-22 situation in which they operate – distinctive names on our High Streets need to make a profit, which comes from selling what is popular, just not necessarily what is distinct.

In addition to ridiculing the ‘ubiquitous individuality’, “Dickhead” happens to be a damn fine tune, a rare treat indeed. While many attempts at viral vids and memes die before they make it onto your average News Feed. For being relevant, sharp and funny, “Dickhead” deserves its status as an internet classic. Social scientists should be referencing this just as teenagers appear to be referencing testcards….

Because packing CDs away is too easy a discussion topic…

My wardrobe, somewhat paradoxically for someone far removed from the shallow world of fashion, bursts out at all possible directions and from all containers. There’s a look of the teenage “floordrobe”, the abandoned charity shop, the transit or movement of bodies. One washing pile waits to be stored, another to be washed.

Any fair or independent audit would conclude my dress-sense is the result of starting each year with the intention of choosing a new look to follow exclusively. Checked shirts seem quite safe a choice, although the faded blue-grey graph-paper style one only seems to suit the kind of look which goes with trousers pulled up to the bellybutton while sitting in a nursing home. Plentiful Primark hoodies, zips bust on all, clutter one side; a real but in-need-of-wash Adidas jacket is the current ‘old faithful’. Before this there was a plain red woollen type affair I once wore to college as part of an entirely red ensemble which made me look like the most self-conscious eccentric in history.

There are numerous t-shirts, some creased to such an extent they could be considered awfully chic. The “Jesus 13” longsleeve affair from the kind of ultra-swish store in Manchester, back when I could afford to buy such things, served by a swept-fringe doll with the expression of a bored porn star. Smart jeans seem to be in a perpetual state of argument with tatty, well-worn comfy choices. Like men of a certain age, I am no longer drawn to the conclusion that jeans can be a cover-up for all of the sins of gluttony and sloth; if I am indeed my father’s son, I will embrace the strained button and fading colour of the old favourites.

Packing everything away in boxes, as must be done at some point in the coming months, should see me deciding that I do not need corded flares, or a plain green polo-neck jumper which looks like a surgeon’s smock, or anything like that. But like most men of a certain age, I will promise myself the time to look at them at some point further in time. I don’t need over-sized skater pants, or grey hoodies with bust zips, or tight yellow t-shirts, or over-sized pink-striped shirts still looking for cuff-links, but why not take them to another house to decide then?