The New Cool.

Posted by JSYL on Saturday, August 30, 2008
I showed my friend a t-shirt I'd bought the other day. Nothing spesh, just a pink one with this cool black-and-white picture of a couple of flying birds. I held it up in front of her in all its glory. I wasn't expecting a huge response. It was a t-shirt, after all. But since we've always had a complimentary, if not identical, taste in clothes, I definitely didn't expect the 'Hmm I wonder how long I have to grimace out a smile and nod for before she'll get that monstrosity out of my face' look. But no matter. What floored me was the exchange that followed:

"What? You don't like it?"
"No nothing, it's just...well..since you've come back from London, you've started dressing...kind of...quirky." It took her a while to find that word. It was a low blow.
"And by quirky you mean bad right?"
Her face was all the proof I needed.

It got me thinking about what really IS cool, these days. When I was little, Jeremy Jordan and an Australian girl band aptly named 'Girlfriend', was in. When I was in high school, it was the huge Country Road side bag I could never afford that made me weak at the knees. That, and a group of girls who strutted around like they owned the place. Little did I know in just a few years time many of them would be either a) married to lose their virginity the 'right' way, b) have a drug problem or c) have moved out early to pursue a lifelong career stacking shelves at Coles. [ok, maybe not that last part but that was funny in a weirdly bitter kind of way, wasn't it?]

But now? Where has this insidious path of 'cool' led me? I had a think, and here are the people that make my top 6 (note to self, add 4 more later to make it a nice round 10):

Equal-place 6. Philip Lee and Damien Lee: [my brother, my cousin]- Alright, I realise admitting you think people you're related to are 'cool' is pretty 'uncool'. But I have to be honest. Apart from that weird heavy metal phase my brother went through, everything he touched, from TLC's CrazySexyCool album, to his collection of trilbys has inspired my inner trendy child. My cousin on the other hand, is probably the most well-travelled person I know. I didn't see him or know where he was for about two years, he was that busy. He's done everything from getting bitten in the stomach by a seal off the Galapagos Islands to drinking vodka for breakfast with locals at...I forget where. But ask him. It's a good story. This is also a pretty cool photo.

5. Mary Kate Olsen: [Style icon, Co-designer of The Row, one half of Michelle on Full House] Anyone who can make an oversized plaid shirt, ray-bans and messy hair hot worldwide gets my cool vote any day.

4. Axle Whitehead
[Australian Idol alumni] I know what you're thinking: 'Wasn't that guy kicked off Idol like 10 years ago, going on to present Video Hits for another few years? The only interesting thing he's done in the last century was moon a national audience at the Aria Awards in 2006! How can he be cool?' Well my friends, I have news for you. Did you know that Axle Whitehead is the new Australian model for Marc by Marc Jacobs? No. YOU get out. I'm serious. Who would've thunk it? Do yourself a favour. Walk past the QVB (corner of George and King Street end) and have a perv. With a cravat and a brooding stare he actually cleans up pretty nice.

3. Adam Brody/Seth Cohen: [O.C alumni] It's ordinarily a sad day when all you've got going for you is the fact that you were once in a 21st century revival of 90210 that was only truly brilliant for one season, two max. But this guy, with the help of his alter-ego Seth, singlehandedly made it 'okay' to have a crush on a nerd. He also made skinny black ties hot again, for which the entire male population of Britain owes a world of gratitude.

2. John
[my tour guide in the Vatican City]Not only does this guy know everything there is to know about the history of the Sistene Chapel, Michaelangelo and all the politics that ensued between many changes of Popes leading up to and during the Rennaissance period, he's from El Salvador, speaks three different languages, writes plays, and DJs RnB music at Irish pubs in Rome in his spare time. I also don't remember his last name, which makes him extra cool in a mysterious kind of way.

1. Stephanie Rice: [Australia's latest swimming legend]Finally an Olympic hero that ISN'T Ian Thorpe. If you're not Australian, let me explain. I am in no way a sports fan. But I am definitely a newly converted fan of this girl. On the eve of the Beijing Olympics she and fellow Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan split up, much to the love of newspapers around the country.

Now there are many theories on how to best get revenge after a breakup. Finding some arm candy to flaunt in front of the ex while the wounds are still open and ripe for hurtin'. Egging his house. Spray-painting 'Cheater' on his car. The first is self-defeating. The second and third are kind of illegal. Shunning the traditional stuff, Stephanie Rice followed Oprah's wise words: "They say getting thin is the best revenge. Success is much better."

Nothing says "Suck it, bitch" like 3 gold medals, two world records and enough money in sponsorships to be able to retire comfortably at 19 years old. She is a shining example to broken hearted girls the world over. Now, if only I could swim...



Teh coolest people on your list are your brother and your cousin, and depending on my mood, MK Olsen.

I'm so glad you didn't mention Agyness Deyn - am sick to death of her.

This person is also ridiculously cool: http://zooey-d.net/

As is: http://www.alexachung.co.uk/

And of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_M._Martin

Just sayin' =)

You 5-year-itch blog was brilliant. Thank you for you thoughts x

Actually, you should also write about the compulsive 'x' sign off that seems to have sprouted up left, right and centre.. hrm

Haha, perceptive.

Yeah, the biggest influence on what I defined as cool for the first 14 or so years of my life was my older sister. Then it kind of hit me that she was a girl.

And just in regards to the potential "x" entry, don't want to seem like a serial stalker of your blog, but didn't you do that about a half year ago? Remember vaguely trawling through it late at night.

Yes indeed I did: you can see it here, Maggie: http://jsyl.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

I had no idea you read it that much James!

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