Join us in the upside-down
Do my eyes deceive me? Have I seen the actor Jared Leto carrying his own head at the Met Gala in New York? Did I just read that national treasure Sir David Attenborough wishes to embark on a career in dance music? That there’s a Starbucks in Westeros, where you can presumably push your thumbs through the barista’s eyes if they spell your name wrong on the cup?
It appears that The Week’s Winners And Losers has slipped in to some kind of parallel universe. Do not adjust your set. I mean, Jesus, just look at the picture at the top of this article. The last time I saw a stranger collection of people and things Celebrity Big Brother was still on the telly. We’re looking into the problem – an NME engineer is grappling with the wormhole as we speak – but for the time being, let’s try and figure out what on earth is going on.
So, yes, it would appear that David Attenborough wishes to expand into electronic music. The man is 93-years-old. Age is just a number, of course, and I am just a bunch of cells, but you have to admire the chutzpah of a career diversion after more than six decades in the wild. Attenborough has dusted off a recording he made of sacred gamelan music played in Bali back in 1954, and is now looking for a producer to turn it into an absolute banger ready for Shangri La.
“And now,” I can hear him whispering, “we witness the middle classes in an unnatural habitat, off their mash in a field in Pilton. Extraordinary to imagine they’ll be back in the office on Tuesday.” The thing about David Attenborough is that he is a cosy constant in world of dread and uncertainty, so I do hope they’ll pipe Worthy Farm with his dulcet tones via tannoy to soothe the comedown.
Similarly, we found Starbucks in an unusual place – perched on a table in an episode of Game Of Thrones. Perhaps our eyes did deceive us here, as it was reportedly merely a regular coffee cup. By the time this emerged, the cardboard container had already been pored over ad nauseam, and Starbucks had accrued around $2.3bn – yes! – in free advertising.
Considering how uniformly terrible Starbucks’ coffee is, and what a violent and unpredictable place Westeros appears to be, I imagine the runner that delivered the beverage doing so with shaking hands, well aware they may as well serve up a cup of dragon’s piss.
In this new upside-down we call The Week’s Winners and Losers, it could well be that winners are actually the losers, and vice-versa. It’s hard, though, to imagine any universe where Jared Leto comes out looking good after he paraded a mock-up of his own head around the Met Gala. As they might put it on social media: Siri, show me what narcissism looks like.
The theme of the fancy dress do was Camp: Notes on Fashion, as New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has an upcoming exhibition based on Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp. So far, so awesome. But when it comes to carrying around a copy of yourself in front of the world’s media, may I quietly suggest that the self-love thing is teetering on going… too far? Apparently Jared’s second head was 3D-printed and cost $11,000.
I used to work at a magazine entirely about industrial printers (there’s very little you can tell me about inkjet cartridges) and that’s probably more than the print industry made worldwide last year, so I suppose you have to thank Jared for doing something charitable.
It briefly seemed that Zavvi, the entertainment retailer that merged with HMV some time around the formation of Westeros, was feeling charitable too. The company emailed countless people on its customer subscriber list to offer them “huge congratulations’ on having won swanky tickets to the UEFA Champions League Final (it’s a football thing) in Madrid. It was, of course, a blunder – the email wasn’t meant to be sent to so many people – and must have made the person responsible want to 3D-print their own head and beat it like a piñata.
Straight-edge punks received a treat this week, as it emerged that an American brand has launched a rock’n’roll water called Liquid Death, which comes in a beer-like can and promises to “murder your thirst”. Five cents from every can are put towards removing plastic from the ocean and their slogan is “#deathtoplastic”. Punk may be dead, but Liquid Death’s proof that there really is such a thing as responsible capitalism. Now there’s an upside-down idea.