Monday, 17 January 2011

Looks That Aren't Standing The Test of Time

(In a bold change from the usual proceedings of reviews, here is an article I wrote for Pi Magazine's 'Style' issue that basically involved me being slightly mean about lots of fantastic musicians. This version is slightly longer than the one that got printed, so enjoy it in all its extended glory. Also, all images in this version are shamelessly stolen from Google Image Search. Sorry about that.)

Music is unquestionably intertwined with image and some of the best musicians out there have rocked rather striking aesthetics in their time. Whilst their classic albums and musical contributions will remain timeless*, their creators will not. Here are a few not-so-stylish stalwarts who have aged far from gracefully.

*Okay, the music of Dead or Alive and Poison has aged horribly, but I will never stop listening to Look What The Cat Dragged In.

Robert Smith
(The Cure)

Pioneering the classic goth look in the ‘80s, no one expects Robert Smith to look clean-cut and trendy. But then, equally, no one expects Robert to look like he was rejected for the title role in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘It’ – for those of you who don’t know ‘It’, what I’m getting at is Smith looks like an evil clown.

Pete Burns
(Dead Or Alive / ‘Celebrity Big Brother’)

Now, the last thing I wish to imply is that Pete Burns ever looked fashionable. The ‘You Spin Me Right Round’ video has him with teased, backcombed hair and an eye-patch, caught adrift in an ocean of ribbons and garishly coloured pop nonsense. But at least he looked vaguely human. Nowadays, his face has been stretched so much that he resembles a monster from Beetlejuice and his lips look like you could pop them just by looking at them too intensely.

Bret Michaels
(Poison / ‘Rock of Love’)

I’ve never seen anyone so insecure of their receding hairline that they have to wear a cowboy hat over a bandana. Take it off Bret, that weave is fooling nobody.

Axl Rose
(The Band Previously Known As Guns N’ Roses)

(2002, 2006, 2010)

I really thought it couldn’t get worse than the multi-coloured braids and hockey jerseys, but Axl Rose’s current look reeks of a middle aged man desperately trying to be “down with the kids”. You’re never going to be considered ‘relevant’ with a Fu Manchu, Axl.

Adam Ant
(Adam & The Technicolour Dreamcoat)

Marginally bizarre clothes aside, there is something moderately inhuman about Adam Ant nowadays. So much so that he looks like more like Kryten from Red Dwarf than Prince Charming.

Iggy Pop
(Iggy & The Stooges / Really annoying car insurance ads)

Please Iggy. Just put your shirt back on and we can pretend your leathery, drug-addled body never happened. Also, if there’s anyone I wouldn’t trust to sell me car insurance, it’s you and your creepy puppet clone.

Boy George
(Culture Club)

The New Romantic look was always a bit of an extreme one but in the last few years, ‘80s crooner Boy George can’t decide whether he wants to be an androgynous “Right Said” Fred Fairbrass or Phil Mitchell from Eastenders.

(The Madge Madgeson Experience)

I love Madonna’s music as much as any self-respecting man (i.e. with a crippling sense of guilt and irrevocable shame) but the woman has transformed beyond creepy. She’s a Frankenstein creation made from Iggy Pop’s arms, a partially melted wax-model head and a shop mannequin’s legs. Amidst all the horrifically revealing costumes and relentless gyrating, all that enters my mind is that Madonna’s a parent. A weird, freaky, 52 year old parent.

Survival Awards

Lemmy Kilmister

Considering he’s 437 years old, Lemmy actually looks remarkably young. Or at least he would, if it wasn’t for the face-altering boils by his beard. Still, Kilmister deserves only respect for being rock & roll incarnate and still dressing like he walked out of a heavy metal spaghetti-western.

Keith Richards
(The Rolling Stones)

For all intents and purposes, Keith should have died multiple times during the ‘70s. Fair play to the guy for having more lives than a cat, even if he does generally look like a maddened homeless man.

1 comment:

  1. Remember this article when you are 40 wont you? If karma was a balance sheet you are owed your 40th birthday :)