The Return of the Medallion Man

22 Jun

     

There is something about Russell Brand that I just don’t understand. It might be the way he ingratiates himself to the public, prancing about on stage, preening himself and always so vocal. He looks so unclean and yet so manufactured. I’m sure whilst he was at drama college he must’ve experimented with lots of different looks, voices and accents before he fell upon the one which he felt, and no doubt, his peers, would suit his stage persona. His accent sounds like a fake cockney accent ( or mockney, as they say in the media) and I can imagine his relatives when he gets to visit him saying in a plummy voice “We never taught you to speak like THAT!”

Russell is a product of what is fashionable at the moment. Fair to say he has been around for a few years now and his popularity appears to be waning. He has created a number of controversial faux pas in his time, famously marrying Katy Perry in India being one of them… But his image has been honed and stylised to such a degree it is hard to distinguish who is the Real Russell Brand. 

I mean there he was sitting quite nonchalantly on a BBC television programme the other night. At first, listening and responding as required. Then, he appeared to be getting a bit restless and agitated. But that’s neither here nor there. Whilst I was listening, I couldn’t help but thinking how he could sit on this panel, pontificating political issues with 2 MP’s, the Mayor of London and a Daily Mail columnist, with several of his top shirt buttons undone and exposing his hairy chest bejewelled with a long, dangling cross. I looked at him, and  thought it was fair play to him, he was just being himself.

Then I thought it must be the accepted face of fashion or stars of a certain calibre. I mean, look at Simon Cowell

Theo Paphitis from Dragon’s Den

and Andrew Lamberty, one of several Antiques dealer from Channel 4 show Four Rooms.

There are a number of other male  television presenters or stars who are either stylised to expose their manly chests in a certain way for the screen or choose to dress that way themselves as if to show of their proud hairy chests. The appeal being that maybe their fans would love the idea of running their hands through that lovely strong broad, puffed up chest…

Hang on! We had a similar look back in the 1970’s didn’t we!? Greasy, sometimes wavy hair, always a bald pate discreetly combed over, a thick handlebar moustache, silk, patterned (Hawaiian style?)  or plain shirt and a long chain which dropped down the chest, allowing a gold medallion of various sizes to dangle prominently over a barely exposed navel towards a very wide belt which held up flares which flared out just below the knee but were snug at the top, just tight enough to pronounce the bulge of the male anatomy. The smell of Brut or Old Spice  (or some other cheap aftershave) would often be so over powering it could knock you out…

That whole OTT look that has since been parodied and ridiculed many times. More recently by Keith Lemon…

Back in the 70’s, Medallion Man also heralded a very different kind of male presence in society. Not only was it the face of pimps, gangsters and “bad guys” in films or movies, the look was associated all things “macho” – posturing, arrogance, pride, ego…All things machismo reigned the day. The woman in his life was treated like a second class citizen and not worthy of his time unless he clicked his fingers and then she supposedly had to be at his beck and call…

I thought it was good that the  negative words associated with image of “Medallion Man” had taken a turn for the better and the whole “look ” had dropped off the fashion radar, relegated to the bins of an outdated mode of what was deemed to be a  male dominated society. It appeared that All things “masculine ” and “masculinity” began to change and the New Man was born…

But really, the Medallion Man hasn’t changed. The hair has just been coiffed, the handlebar moustache has either been removed or made to look more distinguished, the cheap aftershave has been replaced by a more highly expensive eau de toilette, the jeans or trousers are more tighter or fitted better…The Medallion Man has been repackaged and softened to be a more acceptable face to the fans. Underneath all that, from what we see and hear of these famous faces that either adopt the look or tweak it to suit their highly successful positions in the public eye, the negative attitudes of a Neanderthal Man  still seems to permeate from the pores of the new, freshly painted Medallion Man.

All hail the return of the Medallion Man!

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