Spin It Round, Flip It and Reverse It

I miss puking out my guts. I miss morning cross country practices where I emptied my stomach onto my high school parking lot or having that annual death flu in the early grade school years. Good thing for me, and for the world really, a new ad campaign found a way to bring me back to the heyday of vomiting.

Doc Martens were the end all of fashion at St. Raphael Catholic School in the late ’90s. Footwear being the only form of personal expression we had at the uniformed elementary school, yellow-threaded work boots made all the difference in scoring highly in all categories of cool. Since my brother didn’t wear Docs, I didn’t get to wear them either. Pro-hand-me-down mothers cannot be persuaded easily. Knowing this, I learned to scoff at Doc’s as tool kicks and ironically embraced my Payless knock-offs of Hush Puppies. That whole situation probably influenced a lot of who I am today; a cynical hermit that shuns mainstream culture in an Augustinian-like fervor.

But with my past in mind, Doc Marten’s British ad campaign is a particularly interesting bit of news. Oh yeah, and I’m puking everywhere right now. Doc Martens has made me hate them for even more than social ostracizing.

A new ad campaign features a number of dead heroes of punk and rock (Kurt Cobain, Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer (!), Sid Vicious) wearing the iconic boots while robed and lounging in a cloudy heaven. Neither Courtney Love, nor any other family of the icons was contacted, and they are obviously not very happy.

I mean, if they were going to do this, they might as well have made sure the ads looked good. Poorly photo-shopped, each icon looks ghostly and flat amid their cloudy homes. I guess they could have made it worse, but it’s far from paying homage to the dead artists.

What’s next? I can see it now: Ian Curtis shelling Bubble Tape as “Love Will Tear Us Apart” plays while Biggie Smalls chugs some orange soda, a la Kel Mitchell, stating “I’m not a player I just crush a lot.” But from Fred Astaire dancing with vacuums to the Virgin Mary appearing on grilled cheese, this disrespecting the dead for commercial reasons is nothing new.

I was listening to my local rock station the other day and a couple things alarmed me. I’m at least moderately disgusted and startled whenever Green Day comes out of my speakers but this time I almost lost control of my vehicle. They were covering John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero.”

It was atrocious and filled with that crappy bass tone that all bad punk music has. If I could create a comic pairing of a horrible band and a brilliant song they would cover, I don’t think I could be as genius as whatever sick jokester thought this was a good idea. This “tribute” was like defecating into a microwavable Campbell’s soup can and saying it was paying homage to Andy Warhol.

Luckily there seems to be some public check to these actions in some respect. Chapter 27, the movie about killing John Lennon, filmed in front of the house that Yoko Ono lives in, without permission from Ono, has failed to get distribution in the United States. A movie starring Jared Leto and featuring a song from Linkin Park, the wide release of the film may be enough to resurrect Lennon and kill him again. Sean Lennon said it’s all “tacky,” Joey Ramone’s brother Mikey said it’s “not kosher” and I say it’s about time we let these people rest in peace … unless they want to form a super zombie band/crime fighting squad.

If Brian were dead he’d be spinning in his grave, but can also be reached at brianmcgo@gmail.com.

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