I’m not cool. Never have been, never will be. I try my best, really. I’ve tried my whole life to be cool actually. I was definitely not cool at school. Quite the opposite. I was always doing things to try and make myself cooler. Buying things that maybe didn’t suit me, or using things that weren’t naturally in my character. Sometimes when I walk around as the 31 year old man I am today, I feel the nervous 15 year old boy inside me wondering what his next move will be. How should I walk, how should I stand, do I look good, how does my hair look, what should I say, should I be smoking, maybe I should drink. This never ending narrative of ‘how cool do you look’ is constantly playing in my mind.
Today I’m on the 3rd day of my first ever festival. I shied away from even attending but I’d been given tickets in exchange for some social media promotion for the event. I guess I’m cool enough to be considered an influencer, but am I actually cool enough to attend the event I’m promoting? I mean, spending days around super high people really isn’t appealing to me. It’s why I’ve never attended a festival in the past, that and camping, definitely not my scene.
I can wear the wristbands, smoke the fags, take the selfies, but really I’m still this awkward boy who’s scared of big crowds, scared of making new friends, and terrified of drugs / drug culture.
Spending 3 days at a festival surrounded by people with jarring facial expressions, gurning on a concoction of myriad drugs, is not particularly pleasing to me. In fact I spent my first night sleeping having nightmares about all of the faces I’d seen here, like something straight out of the imagination of Edvard Munch. My friend took so many drugs that his lower jaw looked dislocated forward and his eyes were totally insane like he’d just witnessed a murder. It actually really upset me, and another friend told me not to interfere in his trip, support him but don’t pull him out of it, let him enjoy it. I’m clearly not cool enough to understand this protocol, so I offloaded him to said friend and disappeared to my tent for the night.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a good time, and I find my own ways of doing that, but maybe I’m just not at this level of ‘cool enough’. I’m never going to be the guy covered in tattoos, with small black sunglasses, rotted Dr Martens, doing pills & acids, snorting lines while smoking 30 cigarettes back to back, not going home for 3 days, then rocking up to my salary job in fashion with track marks up my arms. It’s just not me. I think I’ve desperately always wanted to be that person, but it’s just not my reality.
I think it’s taken til 31 to realise this, and still I fight against it, and who knows why I define cool as an Amy Winehouse/Pete Doherty/Kate Moss/Any 21 year old at Berghain crossover, but maybe I just need to accept that it ain’t me. Maybe I’m a different brand of cool. I can only hope. Or if I’m not cool, maybe I’m cool for not being cool.
What do you want to be when you grow up?