Monday, July 24, 2006
I’ve met a lot of people who are beautiful. At least, that’s what the papers, magazines, websites and telly have told me beforehand. Close up, they look nice but surprisingly unremarkable - that, or they’ve got bad skin from all the make-up – and you feel a bit let down.
I realised this yesterday on my way to day two of half-yawn half-hurray dancefest Lovebox, when I finally saw a woman who literally took my breath away. You read that phrase so often, but it’s generally a load of crap: maybe a “Ooh, pretty,” or a “Meh, generic” sort of appreciation. I hadn’t noticed her before because I was listening to some tunes and staring into space as you do on the Tube, so it wasn’t a bolt from the blue. Well, sort of. Her kid had just thrown her Gameboy DS across the Tube carriage. You could tell it wasn’t the Lite version because it bounced off my foot and bloody hurt, so I encountered this woman with a sort of bewildered scowl.
She looked up at me, smiling pleasantly, apologised and Jesus, I nearly froze. She was black, with closely cropped hair and the most ‘Greek’ pair of eyes I’ve ever seen. You know, the ones that come with stories of goddesses and Herculean labours attached. Weirdly though, you couldn’t imagine people vying to claim her as they did Helen, it was a beauty that just was. She had a kid, she grinned without being self-conscious, she wasn’t a possession. Maybe that’s why I actually gasped: she had the beauty that we never see today because with a good air-brushing, anyone can look like a superstar.
Take MySpazz pictures for example. Hardly anyone truly resembles their picture because with a good camera and the internet, we can control the image of us that we’d like other people to see. Well, teenagers certainly do. I freely admit to having a set of pictures that are horribly self-indulgent, but that was because I got spotted by a shit model agency, got bored and decided to have some headshots done for a laugh. All that taught me is I am photogenic about once every 40 frames and my spoken Italian has gone to shit.
We worry about pictures of ourselves because if we get a bad one, it’s like a review. “Oh no, I don’t actually look like that, that’s my bad side,” we chorus when our double chin and hangover spots come out in our holiday snaps. But we don’t look super-groomed and moody all the time either. So, how the hell do you capture the real you?
That’s pretty easy I guess. Get the fuck off the internet and go to gigs, the pub, the park. That’s the only time you get to see the real anyone, and chances are, it’ll be their best side.