Category Archives: Interviews

That’s Cool – Vanessa Gill Brown’s DVC lecture (Toni)

  • ‘Cool’ is quiet a teenage word – but has now been passed into common use to mean good
  • How we define cool = trying too hard – fashionable
  • Cool is everywhere
  • Now n0-one wants to be good but cool
  • How do cool relate to consumer culture
    Its people’s opinion – i.e. Kurt Cobain – cigarettes, sunglasses
  • Cool can be subjective –
    ‘It’s not about what things are, but what values they represent to a given group at a given time’
  • The dandy – rival aristocracy – manors, style and wit – unshakable nerves
  • Hedonism, narcissism, irony – David Lachapellle – 1990’s – lots of drugs = cool
  • Irony – saying something other than what you mean – look of desire to play by the proper rules
  • Avant Guard – ‘before the rest’ associated with cool – before everyone else, ahead of the game, cutting edge – not a slave to fashion
  • Reason for the spread of cool – cool tactics
    ‘Could be equally useful for anyone who had lost respect for their society is dominate value system under pressure of war, persecution or corruption’ Poutain and Robins, 2000
  • Trends are like viruses – what is cool can be determined globally by a small group of influential (cool people)

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The Coolest Uncool: Text & Facebook Responses (Julia)

  • Tweed blazers
  • Tweed farmer hats
  • Frosty Jacks/White Lightening
  • STIs
  • Peter Pan collars
  • Every single edition of the Blue Peter annual
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Pokemon
  • Tamagotchies
  • Fishfinger sandwiches
  • Purple wellies + a purple watering can
  • Bright pink chopping board with sides that fold up

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The Coolest Uncool: Jo’s Answer (Julia)

As to the questions below….
it’s funny – but i have a real problem with the word ‘cool’ – speaking as a 41 year old, it makes me think of people my age trying to be cool & I’m rather cringey about that. It sounds too try-hard! I confess it’s not really a word/term I use myself
1. cool – i have 2 definitions – firstly a social/cultural generalisation – it’s something that is fashionable, but not to a mass audience – a kind of niche thing for a hip crowd; secondly, a more personal definition – i suppose a cool thing is something that’s neat or handy – that solves a particular problem. I realise as I write that I probably think of objects/gadgets as cool – more so than ideas or music or whatever

2. uncool – well, again there’s the idea of it not being fashionable to a hip crowd – but i think also the idea that a behaviour might be uncool (say, someone being intolerant -& one might say ‘that’s not cool’ to them, or ‘i’m not cool with that’) – which is a bit strange upon reflection given that cool seems to be a thing & uncool an idea! This is curiously contradictory.

3. coolest uncool thing – There is certainly the idea that uncool can often be cool – a kind of geek chic thing, I guess. As a fine art person, I reckon I’ve usually been most interested in ideas that are uncool – i start to worry if something i like is in danger of becoming cool – it’s a bit like it being colonised. (perhaps it’s a bit like the Groucho Marx quote ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.’ )

Coolest uncool thing i own – well I guess it’s all the clutter in my flat – pic attached of one set of shelves. clutter isn’t very ‘design’ or 21st century – but just looking at all these books, and prints and toys and objects makes me very happy indeed.

hope this is of some help/interest – as a terminally uncool person i’m probably not yr demographic!?

PS i like very much the fact that predictive text suggests ‘book’ when people type ‘cool’ on their phones 🙂

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The Coolest Uncool from DVC (Toni)

Emma Ferry:

stripey walking  sticks like mine!
Can’t walk without it (so not cool because am a cripple) but very Willy Wonka meets Paul Smith (cool)???


Vanessa Gill Brown

  • wrist sellotape dispense
  • texting in full english rather than txtng

hope this helps tonivanessa

Peter Wright

At the moment, I’d have to say that the coolest uncool thing is old cars with different coloured body parts – ie, doors, bonnet or boot, for eg. The below isn’t a particularly great example, but it does illustrate what I’m talking about.
That took me a while, but in the process I did realise that I could, on the other hand, have very easily and quickly named a  Long list of uncool cool things.


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The Coolest Uncool: Morgaine’s Answers (Drew)

oooh…hi guys!!!
that is really hard. erm….

1. Cool is : effortlessness. Women dressed masculine. Men dressed feminine and in skirts but not cross dressed. simple and complex mixed. Japanese things. nail varnish. confidence. skins sports wear.
2. Uncool is: matching. fashion. trying too hard. Gypsy lace things. pressed flowers. cute cards with fluffy animals on them and bad poetry. most cuddly toys.
3. Coolest, uncool thing is: I OWN: Very large framed glitter poster of Shiva riding a Tiger. yep. I WANT: boots with a hoof-toe, like a goat’s foot!- maybe made from goat hair.

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The Coolest Uncool: Sarah’s Response (Julia)

Our Questions
We wondering if you would be willing to answer the following 3 questions as part of our research for the New Balance project?

1. What do you think of as cool?
2. What do you think of as uncool?
3. What’s the coolest uncool thing that you like, own or want?

Many thanks,

Toni, Drew and Julia

Sarah’s Answers
I think cool is about not trying too hard and about being eclectic in your taste.  I love Iris Apfel for that last reason!
Uncool is following the crowd but thinking that you’re being individual.  Or bad manners.
The uncoolest coolest thing is probably my dad’s jokes (he makes them up and you can see him thinking about them for ages with a grin on his face so we all know they’re coming!) – they’re absolutely rubbish but in secret I love them!

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Interview with Graham

On Wednesday 9th March we all interviewed Graham via Skype.


  • Gray cycles to work everyday and has to wake up at 6 to do this – the journey takes less time on bike than by train (where he’d have to get up at 5)
  • Running and cycling allow Gray to save money on a gym, as well as lifting his mood – it’s a great start to the day and he feels better for it
  • Reads running magazine for food and nutritional advice
  • Wears branded cycle clothing and Adidas shorts

Response to New Balance shoes

  • “Old man shoes” – people often don’t know the brand – he defends them, saying wear them and see the benefits
  • “I don’t know if they’re meant to look cool…I don’t really care, I’m not the coolest person and the people who say it are quite sad anyway.”


  • Vegetarianism based on a moral/atheist point of view
  • Read Dawkins ‘ ‘The God Delusion’ – believes life is more important if there’s nothing after it
  • Since 20, has been a vegetarian on and off – he stopped for a year and then started again


  • Likes everything, especially rock and alternative
  • Not indie or r’n’b – especially not indie as his friend’s boyfriend is “an indie arsehole”
  • Views indie people as whiny kids moaning about their brilliant lives
  • As a teen he liked classic rock, Black Sabbath, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Placebo, Motorhead


  • No rom-coms
  • Likes comedies, scary films (Silent Hill), I Am Legend (doesn’t normally like Will Smith, Fresh Prince of Bel Air)
  • When he was younger he liked the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Dexters Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Bottom – obsessed with it as a kid

Crazes when he was younger

  • Tamagotchi
  • Digimon (cooler than Tamigotchi because you could fight them)
  • Pokemon on Gameboy
  • Goth craze

What’s cool

  • “Nothing I do is”
  • Mucking about, pubs etc
  • Ralph Lauren – quite simple, conservative, the sort of people I like prefer it, you don’t associate it with chavs

What’s not cool

  • Jack Wills – ultimate indie territory, worn by people who think boating, polo etc are the height of class
  • Lonsdale

What’s classy

  • Having a nice manner

What’s not classy

  • Swearing
  • Flashing money
  • Jack Wills

Role models

  • His brother Steven – nice guy, quite driven, good at his job + earns a lot, HR business partner is at Harrods
  • Stephen Fry – his manner, intelligence – it’s a good thing to live up to
  • No really famous role models

Dream job when he was younger

  • Chef
  • Enjoys cooking
  • Just did it at school in classes


  • School life – not much really happened
  • Amused people – bit of a joker, although he’d not sure how funny he was – self-deprecating humour
  • College – laid back, easy, good friends
  • Took Sociology, Psychology, Physics, Biology, IT (dropped it because he was rubbish at it) – enjoyed the link between Sociology & Psychology, learning how people work and how the world works – curious, always asking question, likes learning about things online even if he doesn’t remember much of it later

Average day

  • Up at 5, shower, dressed, half hour nap (because he gets up too early), walks to the station (his bike was nicked recently so he has to catch the train), train to work, 8.45, lazy morning (doesn’t get much done or want to do much), lunch on the dot at 12, leaves at 5.15, home at 7, plays on the x-box
  • He has a half hour nap every day rather than wake up earlier because he feels he’s getting more from it that way – it seems longer and he gets more rest out of it
  • On the weekends he lies in until 7/8


  • Robe on, eating food, watching telly/films, his dog George
  • George is a bit naughty, 9-10 years old, too lazy to run, a bit fat, close to him, sleeps on the bed at night, cross terrier, he’s like a small medium,runs on his own without his dog because he probably couldn’t keep up (but he wouldn’t run with him anyway because he thinks he’d stop and sniff things too much), do what I want to do, freedom aspect of running and cycling – he can ride through the traffic and pick his own route


  • Doesn’t like sunny places
  • Prefers ones in England – Cornwall, Newquay – more fun, close to home, not too hot, sticks to what he knows

The above point extends to his buying too. He tends to stick to brands he knows and has confidence in (where he knows he looks good), doesn’t want to lose money. Also doesn’t want his (size 8) feet to look massive – thinks his feet are big.

Laughed hardest last

  • When at Coral Reef with his friend John, pissing around, acting like idiots


  • Likes Waitrose – it’s favourite supermarket but there isn’t one in Bracknell. The next big thing is Sainsburys or Co-Op
  • Waitrose has really good customer service and a great cheese counter (bit of a cheese freak, loves cheese especially their brie soaked in brandy – it’s decadent)
  • There’s something about Waitrose – it targets itself at a certain customer, middle class, quite smart people with an alright job. Likes that they use Heston and Delia – brought in two great cooks, unlike Sainsburys.
  • Finds Jamie Oliver irritating – Cockney accent taken to the extreme. Put on for the camera? Pays people to be his friends?
  • Led to us asking about poser photos on Facebook posted by others – Gray says they’re showing themselves off but it doesn’t bother him, it’s up to them what they do


  • Not much to it
  • Able to control what he’s doing, something fun where he’s in control
  • Finds it relaxing running around killing people but can put it down


  • Doesn’t like Disneyland ads – really 90s, crappy, old camera, bowl-cuts
  • Couldn’t think of other adverts he liked

Social media

  • Facebook is the only social network he uses
  • Doesn’t know why he uses it, doesn’t do much on it apart from occasionally keeping in touch with people he used to be close to
  • Had a fitness blog where he posted photos of his body each week he worked out to see if it changed but it didn’t


  • Metro – not the best, reads it in the morning, finds things to look up later on BBC news


  • Games – plays with when travelling
  • Practical apps –, Waitrose, travel guides
  • Fills the time and helps when he’s bored
  • Likes that he always has the internet close by

Favourite outfit

  • Tailored grey Ben Sherman shirt and suit

Favourite season

  • Spring/summer – not too hot, more options to go outside and do something


  • Doesn’t drive – can walk to the shops
  • Moved house before he finished his driving lessons and doesn’t care to finish them
  • No loss of convenience not driving
  • Catches the train, happy to wait a bit longer
  • Plans to live in London in the future so he doesn’t see the need to drive


  • Wants to live there because it’s quite close to home, a nice place to be, museums and shopping, a lot of people, jobs in London


  • Favourite art = surrealism, artist = Dali – not sure why he likes it, perhaps the meaning to it (likes that it is personal and he can interpret what it means to him)
  • Also likes cubism – appealing, easy on the eyes

Talking with friends

  • Make up their own words for insults – no real meaning
  • Personal trainer they didn’t like – called him ‘Slosh’ because it sounded wrong
  • Also change words to confuse people or say them wrong e.g. ‘soss’ instead of ‘sauce’ at McDonalds Drive-Thru
  • Text speak – writes words out in full, doesn’t abbreviate (doesn’t understand it and he’s lazy), just doesn’t do it, likes to use punctuation, doesn’t like it being incorrect – has a large text limit so can write as much as he likes

Theme parks

  • Not been to too many theme parks – been to Chessington, buzz of the rollercoasters, found the rides to be the most enjoyable bit – get a rush from it, scare you a bit, with friends you feel it together, there’s a social aspect to it

Going out

  • Likes cocktails but not really clubs – no time (tired)
  • Likes pubs, quite loud places, Vodka Revs, talk to people
  • Likes going out for meals


  • Great family, his mum and dad are good, talkative, nice caring
  • Couple of brothers – supportive, driven
  • Sister – older, nice person, driven, gets things done
  • Gets on best with his brother – social, both work in HR,  quite close
  • Furthest away he’s been from his family is 30 miles

Sees himself in 5 years

  • Studying for (the end of) his CIPD – the HR professional standard
  • Living in London
  • Renting with Drew still around
  • Quite similar to now
  • Wants to work for a financial/legal company – smart, professional, dressing up in suits (wears his New Balance with suits to work at the moment)

Favourite colour

  • Green (lime) – looks like outdoors, bright, appealing/natural, not dark/boring

TV programme

  • Battlestar Gallactica
  • Vicar of Dibley
  • Father Ted
  • Only Fools & Horses
  • Paramount Comedy
  • Frasier
  • South Park
  • Family Guy
  • American Dad – Roger, does the same stupid stuff as this character to a lesser extent – does what he wants like him without thinking of others


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