words by Nell Frizzell
drawings by me
If I see one more twee fashionista buying a picture of a kitten from a freezing Japanese student who is getting piles from sitting on the vomit-slicked pavement of Brick Lane, then I am going to start pulling the heads off cats and using them as footballs.
You see, there is nothing that makes me want to boil a budgie more that Fashion Animals. Don’t get me wrong – I love animals. Some of my best friends smell of animal. And when I was at nursery I single-handedly hatched a brood of ducklings in an incubator. But animals as a fashion statement make me want to go all Siegfried and Roy on somebody’s neck.
So, let us strap on some ammo and take a stroll through the London Zoo of hipster animals:
Wise? Wise enough to eat fucking mice. Deadly night-time hunters, stalking the barns and trees of Britain, they even collect in groups called a ‘Paliament’.
Owls are The Exorcist made feathery and no amount of 70s plates, knitted toys and hipster brooches will persuade me otherwise.
I am sure there is nothing finer, or more moving, than the sight of a noble stag, standing in the cold Scottish mist, staring over the hills, it’s massive antlers puncturing the sky.
There is, however, nothing worse than sitting in a dingy East London pub under the mouldering stuffed remains of a startled-looking deer, hoping that the mites don’t drop in to your pint of Guinness as a load of graphic design bores yawn on about their latest piece of stag-related branding.
Like a former cast member of Eastenders who once had a surprise Christmas hit with their single ‘I’ll Never Forget This Magic Second’, foxes have tried everything to break in to feature films this year.
From Wes Anderson’s animalter ego to the blood-smeared back-chatting Defoe-critic in Antichrist, these ginger-haired-cat-dog-vermin have had more screentime than Christine Hendricks.
Neurotic mammalian periscopes that inspired the most annoying advertising catchphrase of the last five years. You know what? Just fuck off.
As last seen on the Three Moon Wolf t-shirt so beloved by bleating hipsters too cud-chewingly stupid to buy a different clothes to their hairdresser.
From failing local guitar bands to strip-joint logos, record sleeves to club nights, myspace profiles to shopper bag illustrations, wolves are the go-to scavenger for anyone who wants to ‘rock out and just get fucked up’.
This year, kittens started to pop up on Facebook profile pics like warts on a leper. Every man woman and child from here to Tokyo was either getting sticky-palmed with a kitten in bed, or draping a kitten around their neck, or dressing up in a big kitten suit, or giving us hourly updates on what their new kittens had coughed up in the garden. Well, you know what? You might as well be cuddling up to a hoover bag for all the cute you look.
So, brothers and sisters, let us spare a thought for the Passe Animals.
Yes, those animals that, only a few years ago were in the five star suites of Fashion Animals, but have now been demoted to I Heart the Nineties programmes and local church hall sales.
Remember when larder lout Jonny Vegas was like the funniest guy in the whole world? Because he had a knitted sidekick with even less charisma that himself? And, OMG, this bit is hilarious; he had a northern accent? “HA ha ha haa hah ah ah ah a h. You said ‘Mooonkey’. Ha ha ha ha ha ha”
From Paul Frank pyjamas to Tetley teabags, nothing sums up unfunny student humour like a late 90s monkey.
As seen in every ‘funny story’ told by every teeth-grindingly ‘wacky’ Eddie Izzard fan from 1992 until ‘Sexy’ when we all agreed he was no longer funny. God, I’m glad people don’t just talk in a constant Eddie Izzard impression any more.
Ben and Jerrys, ‘Stroppy Cow’ t-shirts, bubble bath, fresian patterned ANYTHING (particularly home furnishings) and cartoon cows being hilariously incongruous in adverts: all now officially passe. Sorry.
Which leads us, finally, to all those animals that have never been Fashion Animals. The biting, spitting, scratching, stinking, hairy, cloven-hooved animals that not even a third year Art and Design student would bother to include in their portfolio; that an advertising agency wouldn’t even remember; that a fashion student wouldn’t bother to print on a vest.
To you, the Unfashionable Animals, the bison, the kiwis, the seagulls, goats and hares, I salute.
* some of you may have observed a slightly hypocritical preoccupation with animals on this blog. You're right. That duck sweater the badger is wearing is one of mine. I am almost certainly the sort of person Nell is writing about here - ed