Cutesters: the Horrific New Trend That’s Consuming London

Clive Martin in Vice:

Cutesters-and-london-body-image-1419260598The change is interesting and very much real, I think. But for me, the question isn't, What is a cutester?—that has, more or less, already been answered. The question for me is: Where the fuck did the cutester come from? How did one of the world's most oppressive and unforgiving cities give birth to something so infantile and inane?…

It would be easy to pin the cutester on the usual suspects—to lay into BuzzFeed, the Cereal Cafe, Secret Cinema, “free hugs,” and Boris Johnson's breakfast burritos for siring this epidemic of the infantile. But London wasn't always like this. I personally had a very different image of the city growing up. To me, it was a city of knife amnesties, Irish fighting pubs, cruising saunas, City boy hooligans, Crystal Palace players with Streets of Rage haircuts, debutantes with blocked noses and clubs like Caesars in Streatham. The closest thing there was to a mayor was probably crime boss Terry Adams, and a “secret cinema” was a place you went to jerk off in public without getting your head kicked in, not dress up like a character from Back to the Future in public without getting your head kicked in.

But somewhere along the line, that changed, and undoubtedly it took a concerted effort for that to happen. It's hard to place the blame anywhere in particular. If there was any grand social project drawn up, it's one that has never been made public— there was no great speech made, it just kind of started to happen and never really stopped, in that ceaseless way that money has where it needs to keep creating more room for itself.

However, if I were forced to pinpoint the origins of the great shift that has led to the cutesters becoming as defining an image of London as the street gang Peel Dem Crew once were, I wouldn't choose the moment where Boris was elected, or when the first Krispy Kreme landed here, but the point when London decided to re-market itself as the knot of villages it ceased to be with the advent of trains in the 19th century. When London devolved into some weird former version of itself but with fewer dead infant chimney sweeps and more ads; a hybrid of the shopping center at Bluewater, Disney World, and a quaint town that never actually existed. When London became a poorly-travelled American's impression of itself.

Read the rest here.