Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Cool or pseud ?

There’s a row going on over at The Guardian on-line about one of their columnists singing the praise of the Moleskine notebook. Of course the Guardian’s art, design and architecture blog is a pretty easy target if you want to take the piss out of people who wear black roll-necks (I have several by the way). Fair enough up to a point.

But I like Moleskine diaries. I also like Converse Chuck T’s. And Apple Macs. And Harley Dvaidsons. And Jack Daniels. Maybe this just makes me a sad wanker because, as comments on the blog make clear, there are always cheaper, better 'value', utilitarian versions available of just about any iconic item you can think of. Usually from Tesco.

But the trouble with that argument is that if you take it to its logical conclusion you deny the existence of quality. (Quality that is in the abstract sense of the word as Pirsig uses it in ‘Zen & The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance'). A world without it would be a totally grey dis-utopia. With no design or art.

Of course it’s highly personal and we all apply a concept of quality only to those things that matter to us personally. So for me, yes when it comes to bikes it’s a Harley, a BMW, a Guzzi or a Triumph rather than a better performing or better value Japanese clone. But when it comes to clothes – who gives a shit ? – it’s £10 M&S jeans rather than £100 on the designer equivalent. Go figure. It’s a matter of taste.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I agreed with you until the last couple of sentences. Would you have us all in utilitarian uniforms? Why can't clothes be an expression of self and art just as much as bikes, Moleskine, etc etc? Why shouldn't one strive for Quality with what one wears? You may find that a French designer roll-neck sweater fits the bill so much better than a Tesco one. Gauloise?