Tag Archives: Oscar Wilde

I am at least 75% mod

I realized when it was too cold to posture otherwise any longer. A burning sensation in my throat, dry mouth, as if the years of self-delusion were a thirst gone unfulfilled, a laughable memory, all that time scruffy, unkempt, no diagonal lines. I was thirsty, and so I filled a jar with water. Caterpillar, I wanted to refer to myself as Caterpillar and so I wondered about what this mod-me would like, what books he would misquote and how drunkenly; what colour the Vespa, and how many unfinished splatter paintings. I considered the practical matters, that it will be getting even colder. I murmured to myself: what does a mod do in the cold? The record player is on, The Small Faces, the side-B waiting to touch needle, beckoning to the tribe of mods international, the global mods, the East London of everywhere. I was no longer rocker, at last, this Feeling:

A mod me, of course, would have to undergo some serious and potentially invasive procedures. One does not overnight become a mod, rather one is always mod, carries mod eggs, an essential mod-ness. Or it should take only 15 minutes. I knew all this, but found myself doubtful, concerned overmuch. “Fifteen Mods Trampled in Berlin Night Club.” I had read that the other day, and there was a knife in the room. A dangerous kind of slinging of sub-culture, this practitioner mod who still smokes cigarettes, flask tucked into purse, the boots of the Hip Dead Goddess. A mod me would know better how to snap, would know who’s house, who to be humble in front of, and for whom to show-off. I thought of Oscar Wilde, of course, who said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”

Some days I would grow hungry but refuse to eat in a casual manner. A mod-me starving us, slouching in the living room.

It was then that I could become militant in my identification. The mod-me had become teen-aged, as it were and so I learned how to sneer, didn’t trust authority, tried to get arrested. This was very troubling, some sneaky cognitive dissonance at work, and I was surrounded by grainy footage. I thought of Berlin, again, I looked at pictures, I took notes. There in front of us, and at last- the sharp teeth of the comb, scraping the scalp of the commons. Or a promise of that nature, a grand mod promise, for even in mod there is something aspirational at work, the never ending path towards quintessential mod. Mod is a time, a time signature, I would remind myself.

As the sun rose on East London, on Brighton, on all or none of us, I was alone and awake, a shard on the broken window of last night and all that. It was then that the mod-me finally coughed, collected his little jacket, tightened the shoe-laces on his pointy Italian shoes which is to say that I realized the promise of mod, the mod ideal, is itself, a kind of performance. A mod drag at work. A mod me, chewing bubble gum, round sun-glasses, heading out the door. But of course, it was very very cold, when at last, I saw her.

-Mark Gurarie


But wait, aren’t the Stooges, like, sexist?

All particular with our questions, are we then condemned to repeat the beginning of things to insist on an answer to— in the nude, mind you— what is meant by raw power? In the beginning there was just a bone and a rock, right? What are women in this Fun House? What if today, we spoke only in questions of the primarily irreverent sort? Would the reflective-tired-cliché surface meet us in the bathroom, laughing in the soap scum caked sucked dry, off the porcelain and inside the requisite allotments of glitter? Was that objectification? If a flea whispers in an ancient Latin I don’t speak, are you then to tune a violin while my ears are burning? Would you let old Iggy into your house if he was wearing a frumpy t-shirt? Exposed torsos notwithstanding the glare from the grave of Ron Asheton; what are you doing now, whose nudity are we discussing? If subsequent generations of cultural figures are already dying, why is it fair that Pop lives? Is he the Dead Father that we must carry, grudgingly across the shattered psychological landscape of punk rocke? Have you heard this one: his face is like the picture of Dorian Gray, his torso the anti-hero in the flesh? But, damn it, what was the issue at hand? Forty odd years ago? Michigan misogyny? Stooged, are we then asking, or answering?

-Mark Gurarie