Friday, November 10, 2017

Cool And Uncool

Thoughts for the day:

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool“.
The late Seymour Phillip Hoffman as rock critic Lester Bangs in Almost Famous (2000)
. . . what Frank Sinatra projected was cool. And here is where the damage was done. Frank invented cool, and everyone followed Frank, and everything has been going to hell ever since.
The late Michael Kelly in The Washington Post, May 20, 1998

Kelly, a talented journalist who died in 2003 when the Humvee he was riding in overturned during the invasion of Iraq, went on to write:
“Cool said the old values were for suckers. Cool was looking out for number one always . . . Cool didn’t go to war: Saps went to war and anyway, cool had no beliefs it was willing to die for . . . Cool was a cad and boastful about it: in cool’s philosophy, the lady was always a tramp, and to be treated accordingly . . . Before cool, being good was still hip; after cool, only being bad was.
Quite a legacy. On the other hand, he sure could sing.”
I'm a great admirer of Frank Sinatra the singer, particularly of his 1950s Capitol Records recordings  as you can tell from my 14 posts on the man, but I like these sentiments about cool and uncool, though it seems like over the past decade we've moved on to snark as the dominant sentiment.

I've been unable to determine if the Seymour Phillip Hoffman quote was written for the Lester Bangs character in Almost Famous, or if Lester actually said it and it was inserted into the script years later.  In any event, for those of us who read his work it sounds like something Bangs could have written.

Almost Famous captures the feel of 1973 and the generosity, humor, and understanding it shows to all of its characters makes it a joy to watch.  It's not a surprise since the screenwriter and director was Cameron Crowe who, a quarter century before, was the 15 year old neophyte rock journalist portrayed in the film, and Bangs had been his mentor. Hoffman's performance is marvelous (his tone and cadence is just like that of Bangs).  Here is a compilation of his scenes from the movie, which contains many wonderful nuggets of advice.  The song playing in the background at the beginning of the clip is Sparks from The Who album Live At Leeds, one of the best pieces of live rock ever recorded - give it a listen. The quote used at top can be found at the end of the video.

No comments:

Post a Comment