Time Out this week had a piece in it about Mayor of London Sadiq ‘I went to fabric when I was younger, I don’t want it closed down’ Khan, and how when walking around town he has to field a constant barrage of selfie requests from the baying populace.
Hey, it’s a nice problem to have rallies Sadiq, a clear contender for another top position, Mayor of the chill-out zone. But it got me thinking about selfies. And that the name bestowed upon them, now listed in the Collins English Dictionary, is more apt than might initially be obvious. Selfies aren’t just a photo taken of oneself, by oneself. In the current day’s oversharing electronic interconnectedness of everything, the purpose of selfies are resoundingly for oneself. Gettysburg shit.
The people clamouring for selfies of Sadiq aren’t in the hunt for a framed 10″ glossy to adorn the mantelpiece. They’re doing it to seek immediate validation from whoever might see the photo once its uploaded onto the internet. Likes are the new gold stars on the board at prep school.
Food-blogging I can tolerate, selfies with Sadiq, but the thing I can’t get my head around is the following. If you’re having brunch with friends, out in the beer-garden of a gastropub on a sunday for example, what possible need do you have to tell two hundred other people about it. The truth of the matter is this. No-one, nobody, looks at the photos of your brunch and thinks how nice.
Everyone looks on at that brunch and thinks shit.
My life is deficient. They must do this every sunday. Why don’t I ever do that shit. They look like they’re all having a great time. Hey, I know a few of them. Why wasn’t I invited. But they didn’t think of me. Maybe there’s a reason they didn’t invite me. Maybe they don’t like me. What did I do.
Why this need to interrupt an intimate setting with friends to take a photo of it, with a view to publicising the setting and its intimacy, therefore rendering it anything but intimate. I’m mystified. And the only explanation I can come up with to justify this behaviour, is that folk are posting these photos of their brunches to counter the fact that everyone else is telling you about the brunch they‘re having with their friends that you‘re not at, and you feel the need, nay the pressure, to keep up appearances.
So what emerges is a thinly-veiled one-upmanship that in its essence makes you feel inadequate, out of control, and unhappy. Longing for a less loaded time, when you could sit there twiddling your thumbs in blissful ignorance of anything going on anywhere other than the place where you might find yourself in that moment, bathing in the calm of merely being present, and looking forward to seeing people and learn what they’d been up to straight from the horse’s mouth, because they would tell you.
This is well trodden stuff and way too boring and depressing for a Friday afternoon, but like my Turkish electrician Redjeb told me on Thursday morning, The End of Days is closer than we think.