First off, a joke: What name do you give to a jar? Jean Michel.
On that note, AFB cofounder Gary today previewed his Edinburgh show in the upstairs room of a little establishment in Brixton. I say ‘establishment’ because I cannot think of a better way of describing it. It very much blurred the line between shabby-chic and straight up shithole, but I could tell that it was a veritable bastion of gentrification for the following reason: it served hot drinks in jars.
Not proper jars, mind. Not jars that once contained jam, or honey, or what have you. No – we’re talking jars with handles, jars clearly designed so as to look like jars but serve very much as mugs. Are such jars really jars anyway? To describe them as jars slightly jars with me. (I’ll get me coat.)
Suffice to say that every bone in AFB’s body wanted to recoil in horror from such a thing. My mum once read Frank McCourt’s autobiography, and she told me that his family were ‘so poor they drank tea out of jam jars’. And now such artefacts are being appropriated and sanitised for the nefarious ends of the Yuppie! Every fibre in our being wanted to cry ‘balls to that!’
And yet we didn’t. We couldn’t. And this for the sole reason that it enabled us to say that we ‘went out for a couple of jars’ with a greater degree of sincerity than would be achieved by describing standard-issue glasses as ‘jars’, as certain people are wont to do. If you can’t make language conform to the world, at least make the world conform to language.
But not totally conform: you wouldn’t want to get your precious little middle-class fingers slightly burned would you? Best give the thing a sodding handle…