April 13, 2005

This Boy's Life

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Bloc Party, “Silent Alarm”

Fashion influences music. Music influences fashion. And every now and then an album comes along that kicks the absolute crap out of both. This would be one of them. Bloc Party, a London-based rock group, is the latest and greatest act to be signed to the Williamsburg hipster label, Vice Recordings. Their debut LP, “Silent Alarm,” is without a doubt the urban anthem album of Spring/Summer ’05. In a time when every asshole band is attempting to be “the next Strokes,” fashion stylists, marketing camps and artists have lost sight of real rock in an attempt to create mass market images. (Whatever happened to original rock style?) Hence, the genius of “Silent Alarm” doesn’t lie in its crisp packaging or near-perfect production, but rather the gritty, gully sound of four “blokes” who know how to play an instrument or two and move a crowd. Driving beats, raw vocals, clashing rhythms and layered textures — this is the kind of music that will be inspiring Marc Jacobs, super models, Converse kids and your mom for the next few months. (Hey Cornell Design League: Buy this album and be inspired.)

Shane’s World Productions, College Invasion Series

For those of you who are not porn connoisseurs, “reality smut” has become the latest and greatest thing to hit hard drives and DVDs. Sure, there are “reality” series such as MILF Hunter (props to Sean and the CF Group) and Bang Bus, but the girls being pile-driven in the back of vans and laundromats were “hired guns,” not random girls you may pass on the street. Fans demanded better and Shane’s World Productions answered. (Amen.) Filmed at actual college frat parties, “Shane’s World: College Invasion,” brings professional porn stars to university campuses to produce undergraduate sex flicks. The actors and actresses take over fraternities like bar mitzvah MCs, leading crowds in games such as dildo ring tosses, before finally humping incomprehensibly drunk students at the parties — on camera. Is this some sort of sick joke I’m trying to play on you? — If you don’t believe me, ask the brothers of Phi Kappa Tau at U. of Cali’s Chico State campus who were kicked off campus for allowing the production company to use their house as a film set. (But if there was ever a way to get kicked off of campus for something, this has got to be THE FINEST way to go … assuming none of your brothers want to become congressional leaders one day.)


I don’t like ignorant people. (If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you’ve probably figured that one out already.) I also like instant gratification. (If you read the previous “new style” item, you’ve probably figured that one out as well.) Thus, three cheers for MovieBank: the first ATM-style kiosk where one can rent movies instantly for less than a buck. The system, which requires users to operate a small, DVD vending terminal, allows city dwellers to rent movies on-the-fly with or WITHOUT a membership card. No more pock-marked movie store employee faces to look at. No more waiting for Netflix to send you the next vid on your “playlist” in the mail. Now bachelors can find the nearest terminal (currently NYC metro area only), select their favorite, horrible romantic comedy, pickup some takeout, throw it on some clean plates, cuddle up with their hot date in their tiny, over-priced studio apartment and call it a date. When you’re done and ready to hit the bars, you can drop off the flick and create your own “Hollywood ending.”


Ask any classic, well-dressed gentleman about style and he’ll inform you that nothing completes a finely tailored suit more than a pressed French cuff shirt with tasteful cufflinks. However, ask any man who has overslept and had to deal with cufflinks first thing in the morning about the word “frustration” and he will inform you that two pieces of precious metal are synonymous with the word “hell.” (Ladies, imagine taking something extremely small and delicate and sticking it in a very tight, unforgiving hole — ok, that was a poor analogy.) However, there seems to be no easy way to get a pair of cufflinks in and out of a shirt. (Twisting your arm behind your back and writing a short essay might be easier.) So in 2000, Theo Stewart-Stand, a graduate from Cooper Union, designed a pair of cufflinks which could be “laid flat” to ease the process of inserting and removing cufflinks for the groomsmen at his wedding. Simply put, the Flatlinks have two hinges, creating two ninety-degree angles which keep shirt cuffs close. When snapped back, the Flatlinks become flat like a piece of paper and are easily removed from a shirt without damaging the material. Go ahead and buy a pair of these — you’ll be purchasing yourself some additional time with the “snooze” button.

Archived article by Ari B. Cantor