Coda – Summer 2013
like lambs amongst wolves
Welcome to the very first issue of Ingénu/e magazine. Having recently come across a surprising number of people who were unfamiliar with the word ingénue, I write the following with some degree of trepidation. This is aimed at those people and I write with not the slightest trace of supercilious intent.
Although I daresay you may have read about this on the Home page, let’s sort out at the start why this magazine has, what is to some, an apparently unknown or perhaps even pretentious name. I have decided to launch forth on this because I feel it’s important; it was my idea after all. Yes, unlike most of those arrogant yet insincere Apprentice TV hopefuls, I am willing to own up to being the source of an idea, good or bad, and live with it. We wanted something that stood out from the crowd and which conveyed our raison d’être, our ethos; and I feel it’s my duty to show you why it was a good choice.
First, let’s look at some relatively recent usages of the word:
1. Ingenue is the name of a relatively new fashion label in London which has a celebrity following including Helen Mirren, Rachel Johnson, and Emilia Fox et al.
2. Tyler Coates writing for Flavorwire.com comments on the actress playing Uhura in the latest Star Trek Movie saying “Zoe Saldana is the latest Hollywood ingénue to use bisexuality as a PR tactic.”
3. Thom Yorke’s experimental band Atoms for Peace features a song entitled Ingénue on their debut album Amok.
4. There was a recent magazine in LA entitled Ingenue, apparently no longer extant, which aimed to feature up and coming cinema stars.
5. k. d. Lang’s acclaimed second solo album, which featured the Grammy winning song ‘Constant Craving’, was entitled Ingénue.
So, it’s not that uncommon a word, as you can see from these precedents it has some kind of pedigree.
Modernly it tends to have a feminine slant in its usage, referring usually to a girl or young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome, especially a new young actress. The term comes from the French adjective ingénu meaning “ingenuous” or innocent. The term also implies a lack of sophistication and a simple naivety. It actually originates from a satirical novella by Voltaire called L’Ingénu published in the eighteenth century. The story satirizes religious doctrine, government corruption, and the folly and injustices of French society by the use of the main character being an innocent, and his literal interpretation of situations highlight the many absurdities of life.
As our magazine exists to promote emerging and re-emerging creative talent of any genre, and most creative beings (much like ourselves at this time) who are venturing forth on their career trajectories collide like sheep amongst wolves with such unaesthetic things as economics, critics, psychotic media etc, we thought the word quite appropriate for a title. Ingénu is the masculine form and ingénue the female form of the word and so we have coined the name Ingénu/e, so as to cover both genders. It is sort of pronounced “an-jay-new” – practice it a few times and you will have it.
Hurrah for the Bluebell Railway making it at long last back to East Grinstead. Well done indeed; quite an achievement and one in the eye for the long departed Mr. Beeching. However, the recently introduced £5 for a platform ticket now rather kyboshes my ‘pop onto the station for a coffee for ten minutes and drink in the quaint air of nostalgia before resuming my road journey’ moments. Whose idea was that?
things may come and things may go, but the Turner Prize goes on forever
The Turner Prize is 29 years old this year. David Shrigley, one of this year’s hopefuls, has carried on the tradition of the prize being – let us be charitable and say – controversial. He has a piece which is a stuffed Jack Russell terrier holding a placard that reads “I’m dead”. The jury said it revealed “his black humour, macabre intelligence and infinite jest.” Hmmm. Not sure about that. I can sort of see the black humour, but the ‘intelligence’ I’m a little oblivious to. And pray tell me what does the phrase “infinite jest” mean? Perhaps a joke that, like the art school dance, goes on forever? Or are they actually referring to the prize itself and its endless potential to baffle and hoax their concept of the hoi polloi?
did we just witness the actual summer of love?
There have been two Summers of Love as far as I can recall; the first was circa 1967 beginning in the Haight-Ashbury part of San Francisco, where the Hippie movement started its remarkably rapid ascent to becoming a major cultural and political influence. The second was in 1988/1989 in the UK when acid house music and ectasy tablets began the rave scene.
I witnessed first hand the many echoes of the first summer and have unfortunately also known quite a few unknowing casualties of the second. Were these really seasons of love? In some ways the answer is yes; in other ways no.
But last summer it struck me that we were witnessing a truly momentous moment in time; a tremendous outpouring of actual respect and admiration from public of all persuasions for some truly remarkable human beings and their athletic achievements. It was such a remarkable month or so that there was a period, albeit very short lived, where the British media was so overwhelmed with good news and truly constructive, cheerful emotions that their usual penchant for death, doom and destruction, tittle-tattle and innuendo were lost amid a tidal wave of total social enthusiasm. It was quite something and didn’t involve any drugs, any political or ideological message or any new, trendy posturing. It was a pure celebration of the human spirit. To me, that really was the Summer of Love.
It would be most churlish to not acknowledge those people who have helped launch the magazine and have contributed one way or another by way of encouragement, writing, advertising, providing press releases, stocking the magazine and so on. They know who they are and without them you would not be reading this. So thank you each and every one! However, I have to mention one person by name. A great big thank you goes to our editor, Gill, who has ‘burned the midnight oil’ many, many evenings to ensure that deadlines were met without compromising the aesthetics of presentation. Well done Gill, you deserve a well earned, but short, holiday; because Gadzooks! We need to get busy on the next one!