This is the trouble with all things ‘retro’ – it makes the mistaken assumption that anything old is cool. Often, old trends that have died out long ago ripen for a second spell in the limelight and sometimes it’s even good to see them return.
But some trends should stay dead and buried, because when they reappear they are just as bad as the first time, only now they come with the added insult of utter inappropriateness. For those who disagree I have one word for you: Rollerdisco.
It’s not that Mariah Carey should be castigated for trying to reinvent herself. Pop music is a bucking horse and she’s stayed on it longer than anyone else. But there is a point where the chameleon act can become so contrived that nobody, let alone Mariah herself, is left with the a clue as to who she is or what she represents. She used to sing about butterflies, then bracelets, and now, cough, she’s tackling Einstein? That’s a lot of ground to cover, Mariah. Are you sure 11 three minute tracks will be enough?
But Mariah isn’t really going for retro, is she? She’s just trying to keep up. Retro is something more than just old, or vintage, or formerly cool. To me, retro means timeless. Converse, Vespa, Cadillac, Art Deco. These inventions were cool then, are cool now and have been cool in all the years between. Such things were indispensable from the moment they arrived.
In a reverse celebration of those and other genuine ‘retro’ brands, we level unbridled ridicule at the trends that should never have been born, let alone reborn, in this issue. Think mullets. We remember some of the best speeches of the modern age, explore the quirky world of indie-folk, recommend one of the best films of the century thus far and wonder whether the rickety economy (and possible global recession) might be good for the environment.
It’s also our first anniversary edition, so when you receive it, do the following: Print it out, book a table for two at a fancy restaurant, and take the May edition out for supper. Don’t be upset if it doesn’t eat anything – it’s a piece of paper after all.