Ajax Bell

Author of the Queen City Boys books

Strange news from another land

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I’m pretty sure anyone reading this knows that there is weirdness on the internet.  Indeed in the grey fringes of the net there be monsters the likes of which you should never click on.  And I suspect most of us stick to some regular circle of online places to visit, only occasionally straying out when someone offers a link of promised amusement.

I read a lot of sewing and fashion blogs.  It encourages me in my sewing, gives me ideas and tips and keeps me thinking about it when I’m not doing it.  But even in this tiny subculture there is much weirdness to be found.  Now in fairness, fashion is weird, or people try and make it weird, but sometimes it’s just incomprehensible to me.  And I don’t mean bizarre, haute couture, or strange high fashion you could never wear.  No, I mean things like Hel Looks.  As far as I can tell, this is a street wear fashion blog from Helsinki.  Like the Sartorialist or Urban Weeds.  But I can’t figure Hel Looks out.  Is it satire? Are Finnish people just so weird that they are actually parodies of their own stereotypes?  Yes the clothes displayed here are offbeat and funky, but not, in my opinion outside the range of actually normal for urban young folks.  However when I start reading their comments with the pictures I begin to feel as if I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

I know a lot of people. Hundreds of Americans I call friends or acquaintances, dozens of Europeans and a smattering of folks other places. I read a lot of news, a lot blogs and a lot of fiction.  I follow links on the internet, I eavesdrop on conversations, I pay attention to the way people talk, what they choose to talk about, and how they address other people.  And given all the data I have I’m just sure that no one, ever, when asked about fashion influences says, “I like German submarine officers, especially their caps and headphones.”  Or “I like to wear these trousers. Even my friends want to wear them.”

So either the world is much stranger place than I thought, something is wrong with Finnish people, or this is satire, right? Or maybe it’s surrealist art?

Finland is longer a country full of people in folk costumes or is it?

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