It Was the Best of Teens, It Was the Worst of Teens
It was 4:20 and the teens felt great, man, but they also had impaired cognitive abilities. It was the post-9/11 era, the effects of which were being felt in increasingly tragic and bizarre ways. It was the season of light beer, the season of darkness, the season of hope. Teens were on Cloud 9, teens were going to Heaven, and the two things may have been related becauseCloud 9 was a synthetic drug sending Michigan’s youth to the hospital. History was changing, literally. In Colorado, AP US history students protested a conservative school board’s plan to emphasize “topics that promote citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority.” It was a time a lot like the past; there was a new Bill & Ted’s movie planned and another sequel to Dumb and Dumber, featuring original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.
Does technology shape the culture, or does the culture shape technology? The answer to most questions is, “It’s complicated.” Yik Yak didn’t help us write this column and it was unclear if teenagers, “less concerned about privacy and data security than others,” would take tonewly-launched anti-Facebook social network Ello. Internet consumption was still high, though, as was consumption of the “rave drug Molly.” That’s why a father shared a photo of his daughter on life support, following her attendance at a Denver rave. “This could be your child. Mine was responsible and did well in school. These raves are death peddlers.” Snapchat remained a popular way for teenagers to run afoul of the law. A Wyoming high school student took a selfie whilst giving a boy oral sex and now persons who shared the image could be charged for having child pornography. Two girls were kidnapped at knifepoint after sneaking out of a slumber party. Depending on how you look at things, cell phones either helped them to safety or allowed thousands of people to listen to their harrowing post-escape 911 call.
The Story of Colorado’s DIY Skater Tattoo Parlor
No Class is a DIY tattoo parlor run by skater Jesse Brocato from his living room in Fairplay, Colorado. Every tattoo from No Class is free, provided you’re at least halfway tanked when you start laying the ink on yourself. Which I think explains why the place is starting to pick up some steam among the skating community.
On a recent skate trip to Colorado, I visited No Class and had a chat with Brocato.
VICE: How did you guys get started?
Jesse Brocato: It all started one night when we found out that our friend Shane had a tattoo gun. We told him to bring it over, and he thought he was going to tattoo us, but we were like, “Fuck, give us that,” and we started tattooing ourselves.
That night I fell in love. I was like, “I’m never paying for a tattoo again.” Everyone pays thousands of bucks to get these fancy tattoos. The idea behind No Class is, why would you want a fancy tattoo when you could have a shitty ghetto tattoo?
And it took off from there?
Well, I used to make moonshine, so we’d get drunk on moonshine and then just start tattooing ourselves. Then we started buying more equipment online. Now we have three set-ups. People see our work, and they want a shitty tattoo too. I tell them they have to do it themselves. That’s what No Class is all about.
Is it hard to get the hang of it?
It took us a little while. In the beginning, we’d have the needle set way too far out, like a quarter inch, and I was going so deep it stopped the machine like a lawnmower in thick grass. It just destroyed the bone and took forever to heal. You start digging and it ends up looking like hamburger meat. You lay in all that ink, and then it heals up scarred and white.
Anything else you had to learn?
Pick the cat hair off the needle.
Does that “sterilize” it?
I mean, maybe I would have to read a little on bacteria and all that, but whatever, what we do is just hook it up and do it. We don’t share needles or anything like that. I mean, it’s happened, but you really shouldn’t do that. You think you’re clean, but you never know what you have. Somebody that actually tattoos would probably freak out if they came up here, but that’s part of it, part of the “fuck it” attitude of No Class. None of us has swelled up yet.
I Do Drugs Because Doing Drugs Is Fun
Like any good British girl, I can sit and down pills till the hallucinatory cows come home. But if I have to read one more nonsense story about some celebrity checking into rehab after trying one bump of coke, I’m actually going to break into the Daily Mail’s headquarters and shit and piss on their computers so that they can’t print any more fucking shit and piss about people taking drugs.
The English actor Michael Le Vell had a tough time last year. He was suspended from the soap opera, Coronation Street, while on trial for child sex charges and has since been found not guilty. Recently, he was suspended again after he admitted to doing coke—as in the refreshing white stuff, not the syrup that rots babies if you pour it over them. Michael told the Sunday Mirror that he first tried coke during the stressful lead up to his trial, “For a few brief minutes, the first time was a relief from everything that was going on. Afterwards I felt so ashamed and I never thought I’d do it again. But I did it once more after the trial… I never thought that I was the sort of guy who would like cocaine.”
Seriously, how much bullshit was that statement cut with? I don’t know, maybe Michael “I never thought that I was the sort of guy who would like cocaine” Le Vell really does look down on people who take drugs. Maybe he’s just playing sad boy for the media. Who knows? We’re about as capable of knowing how much crap his statement contains as we are of knowing how much levamisole was in last weekend’s bag of sniff. (Answer: always far, far too much.)
I have no doubt that Michael—and other recent cocaine apologists, such as Nigella Lawson, Demi Lovato, and Jim Davidson—have felt pain in their lives, and that truly sucks. But are we really supposed to believe that people only do coke when they’re in mourning, or in abusive relationships, or on trial for child-sex charges? Could it be that some people do a fat line of coke simply because they love a fat line of coke?
Riffing is something like mutual masturbation (coincidentally, saying “riffing is like mutual masturbation” could make a cool riff). It is essentially the small talk of anyone who, at some point in their adolescence, learned how to throw dice about their thing, whatever that may be, music or movies or whatever, instead of having regular conversations. Social, jokey, and jockey, peer-on-peer riffing is the casual and ongoing assertion of opinion, specifically for some specific think-scene, which might be between two people, or a silky thread of smooth talk between a zillion strangers on the internet, endlessly one-upping. Its first and most important requirement is that there only be a finite number of people who are invested in getting it and who can relentlessly evolve a given riff-thing.
—from the latest edition of Kate Carraway’s Li’l Thinks
What Not to Wear This Halloween
Oh, Halloween. The worst night to get a cab and the best night to take home a slutty Disney princess. Is it really a holiday, since we don’t get the day off from work? Of course it is, because when else could you get nudity in massive quantities, enough facepaint to excuse you for bringin home a five, and cauldrons full of shame the next day.
Before you skank-it-out at a house party, leave your credit card at the bar, or turn into a weirdo roaming graveyards, you’ll have to pick out a Halloween costume interesting enough to spark a conversation with that five. You’ll have to navigate the thin line between offensive enough to be clever and overcompensating with complete stupidity. For those not smart enough to use all three digits of their IQs, we’ve brought you a guide on what not to wear on Halloween, so when you only pick up your sexy pizza-slice costume off the floor the next morning and not also your dignity.
Who sells that? Amazon.
What’s it supposed to be? A “realistic black Kenyan man”—perfect for doing the Harlem Shake (um, what?).
Why shouldn’t I wear it? It’s racist.
What kind of person wears that? A bigot.
Who makes that? aleXsandro Palombo, for his website humorchic.com; a “daily society portrait blog, the best illustrated fashion chronicle, a point of view about costume, politics, culture, society, and celebrity. aleXsandro Palombo is the father of fashion satire, visionary artist, author, and critic.”
What’s it supposed to be? It’s a T-shirt of Amanda Knox holding a bloodstained knife.
Wasn’t she acquitted of murder? Yes.
What kind of person wears that? The kind of person who believes they are the “father of fashion satire.”
Living in a border city means that you may have to occasionally smuggle some drugs between countries. Don’t worry! We’ve got some tips.
Headed to SXSW this week? VICELAND has you covered. For full details and RSVP, head here.
I met Zacharias Dimitriadis a few years ago at a bar in Athens. My friend thought he was cute and I was drunk enough to chat him up—a unique technique I sometimes use that mostly involves me talking about work—then my friend got annoyed, stormed out, and I had to chase her down the street.
Since then, Zacharias moved to New York, I moved to London and we haven’t bumped into each other since. However, I have been regularly checking up on his photography, and I promise that’s not because he’s rejected all my friend requests and it’s the only way I can keep tabs on him. It’s just when you live away from home—a home that happens to have turned into a melting pot of hatred and hostility in the time you’ve been away—it takes a very particular type of talent to keep you from giving up hope on your people, and Zacharias’ photographs do just that. There’s nothing better at reminding me that, through the clouds of tear gas, the Greeks are a bunch of very sexy people.