August 30, 2010

Quote of the Week: The ideology of Hurts

Hurts, whose September 6th debut album is a total gem, recently did a video interview with At about four minutes in, they are asked about men's fashion. Here is a snippet:
Theo Hutchraft: Aesthetically, our desire is to be masculine again.

Adam Anderson: Men should be men.

Theo: Yeah. Men should dress like men. And there's a lot of that missing... The only people fashion-wise who I kind of look at are all men and what they wear, because they dress very smart, very elegant. It's lost a bit, I think... That's why we do what we do, to... bring the spirit of man.

Adam: Male pride, I think.
Really? Elegance, to me, is a different matter than - barf! - male pride. Is this whole gender declaration what they truly believe or are they taking the piss? I never know with these boys.

All of this leads to a bigger question: Are Theo and Adam actually in character as Hurts? Are they wryly
portraying pop stars? While I love their style, they also seem eager to "bring the spirit" of pretension back to pop. Keep watching the clip for Theo's entertaining spin-the-bullshit-wheel theories on why a duo is better than a single artist (at min. 6:50).

Genuine or not, I think their view of self-expression is more than a bit arcane.
Hurts can dress like "men," but not all men have to follow that lead. The clip reminds me of two things. The first is a quote from George Washington, of all people:
Do not conceive that fine clothes make fine men any more than fine feathers make fine birds.
And the second, a Sting song about the late Quentin Crisp:

Be yourself, no matter what they say. That goes for Hurts too, yes?


John said...

Let people say what they want about Sting, but man, he was pretty enjoyable circa "Englishman".

Let Hurts say what they want, but some casual observers would not exactly describe the duo as "manly". Stick to the music and stop with the bloviation.

countpopula said...

Well, I can see where this might ruffle people a bit, but I'm not sure Theo is saying ALL men should dress like men (it almost sounded like he said "old" men, as in old-school attire). I don't really agree with all the male pride stuff (which I think was just a case of poor word choice), but I can understand that there is a certain element of class and elegance missing from young-ish male entertainers.

We used to see people like Bryan Ferry, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys, Spandau Ballet, Scritti Politti, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Madness, Duran Duran, etc., in suits much of the time, and THAT element of smooth and suave is definitely missing today. Some of them were identified with wealth and others with semi-poverty, but they all looked smart in their suits. Not everyone can wear wifebeaters and hoodies as a definition of "male pride".

On the other side, Antony (of the Johnsons) would look a little silly in a suit. Boy George looked most uncomfortable in a suit. Coldplay adopted military attire as their look. To each their own really, but I think as long as you have a clear idea of how to present yourself in the best way, that's what you should do. Pet Shop Boys looked great in floor length kimonos, and still seemed masculine, so it shouldn't be limited to suits. Suits can bring an air of grace to the proceedings.

countpopula said...

And even Annie Lennox used the male suit as a definition of female empowerment to unforgettable effect.

Dan said...

Thanks for writing this. As you (and Sting) said "Be yourself, no matter what they say." I think it's part of a life-long quest for every man just to be comfortable in their own skin. I'm reading Quentin Crisp's autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant right now and "be yourself, no matter what they way" is most definitely applicable to his life and although I've just started it, it sounds like he spent a lifetime doing (and trying to do) just that.

Martin said...

A stud in Theo's top shirt button, and a bit more hair length on the sides/back of Adam's head (he looks like a Weimar-era fascist at present), would do wonders for them. Oh, and some lyrics that see women as more than body parts and that don't always blame women for relationships ending would be nice too.

xolondon said...

*runs to check lyrics*

Martin said...

I'm probably overreacting to Susie's Lips O' Magic. But "Wonderful Life" has such laughably underdrawn characters, and we know far more about him than about her.

"Better Than Love" is one of the great songs about drug addiction, though.