This modern world is awash with technology and as a cool person it’s your duty to be as completely disengaged with as much of it as possible. You mustn’t whine, like some clichéd “observational” comedian, exasperated because they can’t use their VCR properly; that doesn’t make you cool, it makes you a retard. You should be above technology, not outwitted by it.
There are two exceptions; the first is creative equipment: guitar pedals, synthesisers, samplers, drum machines, decks, PAs, EQs, cameras, graphic design and music/video editing software are all socially acceptable, just so long as you don’t talk about them too much.
The second exception is anything by Apple: anything Apple makes is cool and owning said wares makes you cool too.
A MacBook is the best option when buying a computer: not only is it an Apple product (instant cool points) it’s far more portable than a desktop, so you can sit in bars and cafes all over East London, using their Wi-Fi and parading your new toy in front of other cool people, forming instant, unspoken bonds of brand affiliation.
Your experience with computing should be restricted solely to Apple products if at all possible: if you work in an office, hopefully it’s a cool office with bare brick walls, expensive vodka in the staff kitchen and Macs as standard. If it’s an uncool office, with cream walls and Tesco value orange squash, bring your MacBook to work so you won’t have to use one of their PCs. Surround yourself with PC equipment and you’ll get exiled from Shoreditch so damn fast it’ll make your head spin.
As we already mentioned, you can get away with being a dab hand with music, video or image editing software like Photoshop and Illustrator without being chased out of Coolsville but only so long as you swear blind that they work best on Macs. If someone suggests there’s actually no real difference between the Mac and PC versions, give them an askance look halfway between disbelief and pity; there’s no use reasoning with people like that so don’t waste your breath.
When forced to use PCs and Microsoft software you should lament how unintuitive it all is and, if there’s a God in the sky, it’ll freeze up and you can sigh about how Apple products never fuck up like this. If your Mac freezes up, it’s probably because you installed some Microsoft product like Office; you can bet your original pressing of “Ziggy Stardust…” that if Steve Jobs made a word processor you wouldn’t have to put up with this kind of bullshit, but then Steve Jobs is too cool for word processors and spreadsheets. He’s like Bill Gates for people who take ecstasy.
Whilst we’re on Apple, let’s move on to iPods: from old women to chav teenagers, the world and his wife have iPods. Surely you can’t be seen to have the same product allegiances as the tedious masses? Well if Korg or Gibson made mp3 players then maybe things could be different, but they don’t so they aren’t; stop dreaming and face reality.
“iPod” and “mp3 player” are basically synonymous, so wanting another brand involves researching gadgetry and it should go without saying that that’s not cool. The only things worth researching are new (preferably unsigned) bands, independent cinema (even theatre, if you’re that way inclined) and edgy (read: “resurrected”) fashion trends. There are two considerations when buying an iPod and there’s no right or wrong answer. If style is your paramount concern, get an iPod Shuffle to clip onto the lapel of your vintage denim jacket or a Nano, to slip unobtrusively into the pockets of your skinny jeans. If you’re more concerned about the music then get one with an excessively large hard-drive to store your huge and varied edgy, iconic and self-aware music collection. It’s important to remember that however much space you’ve got, it’ll never be enough. You’ll need to complain about having to delete old songs to make way for new ones: your tastes don’t stagnate and to prove it you’ll have to sacrifice yesterday’s favourites on the blood-stained altar of progress.
Or you could go the complete opposite way and only listen to a Walkman (cassettes having a lo-fi retro charm trumped only by antique vinyls and wax cylinders) but only as long as it’s older than you are, giving you an upper limit of 30 years. After you’re 30 you should stop using Walkmen and start lamenting the fact you didn’t join the 27 Club.
A similar rule applies to headphones: you can stick with the small white buds that come with your iPod but to be über-cool, it’s better to get headphones that at least look older than you are. Large, flat, black plastic, foam-ringed, ear-covering circles with thick wires and a flimsy-looking stainless steel headband; these things would’ve been the dog’s bollocks in 1982. Of course if they actually are from 1982 they’ll sound like shit and even the ever-important duty of looking cool can become a chore if Glasvegas sound like they’re playing in a distant cave full of snakes so it’s probably best to go with good, modern headphones that just look like they’re old.
In a perfectly cool world, one could be completely disengaged with computers but sadly that’s impractical, verging on impossible – how else are you going to hear the newest bands before anyone else? Radio?! This isn’t the ‘60s anymore. The simplest (and therefore coolest) answer to the computing conundrum in this imperfect world of ours is to just get Apple stuff. Look at it this way: PCs are for people who get sexually frustrated because they haven’t had any kind of sexual contact in the last 15 years; Macs are for people who get sexually frustrated because they haven’t had any kind of sexual contact in the last hour-and-a-half. That Mac advertising campaign with Mitchell & Webb was pretty much right on the money except for the fashion, which was all wrong: ever-so-slightly-scruffy old, muted suits are far cooler than pastel-coloured shirts and beige khakis. It’s Beyond Retro vs. Gap, which is a no-brainer.