Torn Sweater/Little Bastard

These were taken by Roy Schatt in 1954.

I watched Rebel without a cause today and fell a little bit in love with James Dean. I enjoyed the romantic ideals and rebellion against tradition explored by the youth in the film. When I say youth, I really mean twenty somethings posing as teenagers. Ultimately the rebellion turns full circle as we see Jim Stark (Dean) fall in love and settle in a disused mansion, a sort of dystopian dream house. Throughout, Stark (and the picture in general) confronts masculinity, and asks "What does it mean to be a man?" And this question I find relevant to my own thoughts lately as I have been exploring with in myself the idea of femininity and the so called "stronger sex". The following questions are ones that I pose: Have I ever actually met a 'real man', someone completely strong, someone who is a complete protector? Can this type of person ever truly exist? Is it all just false expectation laid down upon us by a bunch of fairy tales. What does it mean to be strong? In the film it turns out that the courage to be sensitive is what fills Stark with masculinity. That and (well for me at least) his strong complex enigmatic persona. Perhaps man is truly a man when he has mystery about him. Perhaps they are only strong when their mouths are shut because when they are open they are like children. I'm not complaining. I would not like to add a "Am I right girls?" to the end of that sentence. I enjoy that men are essentially children at heart. The alpha male is obnoxious at the best of times, but it is particularly repulsive when you can see a small boy in his eyes. So who is the stronger sex? The Male or the Female? Weaker or stronger, what ever your sex, you are mostly just weak until you have that other sex by your side. Unless you are gay, the same sex scenario is essentially the same (there is a huge question mark next to the sexuality of James Dean). The love of a someone creates a new strength, a new sex. Together we become strong. Yet there is always a part of the self in tears, weakening you, wanting you to fall.....

Little Bastard....
And he fell. James Dean died a year after the previous photos were taken.
Interestingly, since his death a legend has formed around the car, Porsche 550 Spyder, and it's supposed curse. Could it be true that several accidents have occurred since Deans death involving the aforementioned automobile? Deaths, injuries, damaged property.The legend is as follows (cited from

Car designer George Barris bought the wreck for $2,500. On delivery, the Porsche slipped off its trailer and broke the legs of a mechanic. A doctor from Beverly Hills, Troy McHenry, bought the engine of the Little Bastard and put it in his own Porsche. The first time he took the car out, the vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a tree. He was killed on the spot.
Another physician, William Eschrid, bought the transmission of Dean’s Porsche. He went racing – some say against McHenry – and, going in a curve, the car rolled over. He was seriously injured.

Barris sold two tires of the wreck, which were unharmed in the accident, to an unnamed New Yorker. The tires blew up simultaneously, causing the car to go off the road. It was not reported what happened with the driver.

Two young thieves were injured while they attempted to steal parts of Little Bastard. Barris decided to store the cursed car safely away, but the bad luck kept coming from the hunk of twisted metal. In 1959, a fire broke out in the Fresno garage where Dean’s Porsche had been stored.

In that year, the Dean mania was still intense and so the California State Highway Patrol thought of transporting the mangled vehicle to local high schools and show teenagers the dangers of high speed driving. Little Bastard was put on exhibit in Sacramento, fell from its display and broke the hip of a teenager. On the way to Salinas, the flatbed truck with the Spyder on it 
lost control and the driver was crushed by the Porsche.

Little Bastard still was very popular and George Barris took the cursed car on a tour to the other states. On the anniversary of James Dean’s death, September 30, a fifteen year old boy was standing about twelve to fifteen feet away from the exhibit. As if broken by spectral hands, three bolts snapped. The car plowed forward and crushed both of the boy’s legs.

In 1960, Barris decided to have Little Bastard shipped back home to California. In Florida, the Porsche was loaded into a boxcar, the door carefully sealed. When the train arrived in Los Angeles, the seal was still intact… but Little Bastard was missing. Private detectives went after the car of James Dean, but they could not find it. The Little Bastard mysteriously vanished and has not been seen since…
Some of these so called 'facts' are not facts at all, for example Barris did not originally purchase the wreck but the mere shell. And Troy McHenry died in a Lotus not a Porche. Beyond this not much else can be verified. (the most reliable urban legend de-bunker) places a little white circle next to the story which means "unclassifiable veracity". So perhaps if you believe in such things as curses this is quite plausible. Otherwise it is just another one of the mysteries surrounding Dean, and another one of those pesky urban legends that I absolutely cannot wait to tell to my nephew Sebastian when he gets a little older. 

Little Bastard, Car With a Curse....

The Election "Youth Vote" Still Confused?

VBS have a great election guide aimed at the (there's that word again) 'Youth Vote'. In fact these are more compelling than the televised debates...

Lib Dems Like them Young

Conservatives Like them young, posh and drunk

Labour like them that can dance!

Qualities Not Policies!

On a recent walk down Brick Lane, I was intercepted suddenly by a young chap who could, seemingly, only say two words: Pirate Party.
First off sheepishly and rushed, not very clear at all, I continued to walk. Then "Pirate Party," he repeated. I was a little perplexed, unable to relate what he had just said to my current position and situation, I hesitated giving him a bewildered look. "Pirate party?" Finally, in a sort of pleading tone, offering me a flyer. Ah flyer, Brick Lane, hipsters, an equation begins to form. "Oh," I thought, "A pirate party, that sounds fun. It's probably related to a pirate radio station round here - do they still exist? Surely in London. At the very least it's a party for pirates where everyone drinks Dark and Stormy's (giner ale, Sailer Jerrys and lime)." So I took the flyer and said "Ah, yes, Pirate Party." At which point I turned to my friend Eddie and said "Look at this Eddie a Party for Pirates."
Upon closer inspection of the uninspiring flyer I realised that it was not a party for pirates but a political party formed around the sole policy of legalising file sharing. A bullet point briefly outlined this policy, then below it, two more bullet points - sort of afterthought policies, where upon someone within the party realised that this sole policy is not solid decking for a Pirate Party. It seemed the party leader (Captian Black Beard as I will from now on refer to him,) tucked into a copy of 1984 and came up with a couple of paranoid Orwellian points, anti surveillance, anti mass corporations. To be fair to them I enjoyed their policies, created by my generation for my generation and although Captain Black Beard would never make PM he is at the very least doing something to get his voice heard and may one day get himself into Parliament.

Current candidates arguing on TV, policies sounding so in line with each other that you want to bang their heads together like one of those executive toys. I suppose this image is what makes a hung parliament seem so attractive to me. Watching Brown, Cameron and Clegg out-smug each other is enough to make me want to throw my vote away completely. It is like listening to school children debate why their Penguin bar in the yellow wrapper is better than one in the red or blue wrapper and vice-versa. What should I be looking for in an MP? The similarities between them, the overwhelming sense of a perverse personality pageant, that this election is turning into, is leaving me more than a little confused - and I do not want to stick around for the bathing costume round! Such confusion leads me to look for qualities rather than policies, the best looking one, the one with the criminal record, the one that rides a bike, and if all else fails then my favorite colour. But surely these 'qualities' are all mere psychological distractions, facades. Faced with such a dialema what more could I do? I asked the internet. A Yahoo questionnaire asked to rate a series of ideals based on what was important to me. 56% were in line with Conservatives. 55% were in line with Labour. 54% were in line with Lib Dem. Fuck off if you think I am scrawling a cross next to blue. Yes he is an entertaining marionette but his publicity is about as opaque as a sheath of ice. Surely this result further outlines my dilemma. What I would really like to see is something fresh. The Labour, Lib Dem, and Tory leaders are less gray then their predecessors, but they are hardly fresh meat. They are something for their generation, for the baby boomers, and that is who they speak to. Perhaps my 'youth vote' should go to a 'youth candidate' regardless of their party. And let us not forget that there are other options, other parties, none of which can take majority power but more seats in parliament do indeed mean a louder vocalisation of the things that matter to you. Captain Black Beard for example does not want to be PM, he merely wants to be heard. So what are the real alternatives?

If we all were to suddenly vote Lib Dem then there would be a fantastic opportunity facing us, a hung parliament, a chance for true change in our political system, something that would very much appeal to the youth voter who sees the forefront parties as out of touch. It would be a great opportunity for demoracy, as it stands, do we not just vote in a dictator for four years, and if we don't like him elect another?
The Green Party are in touch with many youth concerns however these concerns are being yelled over by a bunch of baby boomers claiming that "It is a waste of a vote," but in the long term, is it? By the time we come of age, could the Green Party stand a chance of ultimate power?
And if you really want to waste that vote a walk through London provided my with a few other real alternatives. The Christian Party who will make sure your five year old will not get a sex education. The Animal Party who will provide a sort of NHS service for you budgie. The Respect Party, a humanitarian option.The BNP who will legalise lynching. And if you truely truely want to toss that vote in the bin and say screw you Great Britain there is always the No Candidate Deserves my Vote Party.
And of course there is the party for the digital age - those bloody Pirates.
If all else fails you could just resort to anarchism.

If I am a true representative of the youth voter, then what policies interest me? It isn't immigration which more often than not comes across to me as an inexplicably acceptable form of racism. It isn't economy, which I truely believe is a man made force that has completely uncontrolable, that is the monetary equivalent to a tsunami or hurricane. I suppose it is Earth and Humanity. Something less corrupt, something liberal and peaceful that truly works for the people, for the world. Although that party isn't bothering this year... I think I'll just leave it until the last minute, trust my instincts on the day.

So who are you voting for?

Further reading:
Charlie Brooker
How to save the country by accepting that your parents have fucked you over
Political Debate Game
Blue shows it's true colours... again