The new generation of cool

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The new generation of cool: ginger hair, trousers much too short and having a random vocalist sing your chorus!

Not many light-years ago having ginger hair was a crime punishable by social suicide.

You'd see girls with roots the size of a ruler, only to later realise - "oh, must be a cover up ginger". Even the indecipherably beautiful Florence Welch wasn't too proud of her roots. Before she was assassinated by the music press and catapulted into indie superstardom, she too, had a dyed black mane covering her red locks and clothes that covered more than just her vampire-white abdomen.

Now lapping up success like a cat does milk, Welch dances around the stage with ginger hair dangling down her back and wearing scantly clad black outfits that show off her amazing white body. Being ginger doesn’t seem so bad anymore - if you’ve got a top ten album under your belt and are as beautiful as Florence Welch, that is.

As I walked into the NME / BBC Radio One tent at Leeds Festival last weekend, it felt like I’d passed through a vortex and somehow gone from being in a wet muddy field in Yorkshire to a hot and sweaty gig in France.

“One day, we’re gunna live…(audience sings), in Paris!” Friendly Fires were taking the stage by storm with the aptly titled song, but I was more interested in the crowd, and what they all seemed to have to common. Other than the fact they’d forked out £175 for Leeds festival and seemed to know every word to the single, Paris.

They all looked strangely French, wearing either Espadrilles or leather boat shoes that are in every Topman window across the country, and jeans rolled up just enough so that you could see their ankle and nothing more. Frontman, Ed Macfarlane, seemed a bit scared he might be ‘Frenched-out’ so he wore a stripy t-shirt and rolled the sleeves up. Nice touch. Now all they need to do is keep up the short jean and shoe thing, change their name to the French equivalent – Les Feux Amicaux- and they will have France eating out of the palms of their hands.

Interestingly enough, my new generation of cool observations of so far, having ginger hair and wearing jeans rolled up to the ankle with boat shoes / looking French, earns people a Mercury Prize nomination. Both Florence and the Machine and Friendly Fires are up for one!

Glasvegas are also shortlisted for the prize and singer, James Allan, also wears his jeans a little short with those funny shoes, but he’s Scottish and wears sunglasses when it’s raining – not cool.

The third new rule of being cool (which unfortunately for some, doesn’t get you a Mercury Prize nomination, although it seems to get you a few number ones!) is to follow in the footsteps of Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk, Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris.

Collaborating for a single is the new cool thing to do (if you can’t manage to have a hit single for yourself) and for Tinchy, the only thing he can do.

 Despite this, Stryder seemed to get the best out of the new trend starting with Taio Cruz, then N-Dubz, and now a Sugababe – the latter two singles going to the number one slot.

So if you want to be nominated for a Mercury Prize or have all your singles go to number one, then you know what you need to do! 

Of course, I don't hope for Tinchy Stryder to grow a ginger afro, roll his jeans up so we can see his ankles, wear leather boat shoes and recruit Frankie from The Saturdays to sing his next single…

Although, in hindsight I may be onto a winner here, anyone got Universal's number?

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