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How To Be A Beautiful Loser In 5 Easy Steps - Words by Anna Leach

Back in the dim distant early nineties, a group of gangly, good-looking kids who liked hanging out on the streets, being punk and doing skating and graffiti, got together in NYC and made art ‘n’ love. In the early zeros, they all got really famous. And in the mid zeros one of them, film-maker Aaron Rose, reassembled the original crew and made a documentary about them called Beautiful Losers. The name’s taken from an exhibition they all put on. The roll-call of artists is impressive: including Harmony Korine, Margaret Kilgallen, Mike Mills, Steven "Espo" Powers and Ed Templeton. Look ‘em up, you’ll probably recognise their stuff.

Anyway now that the painty grimy bad kids of the nineties are the nicely-shirted art masters of the zeros they’re looking around and they’re dishing out insights. And jokes! Harmony Korine is a comic genius.

It’s a good watch. Great art, great original footage and many inspirational soundbites for the geeky and misunderstood: [my responses in brackets]

“Nerds are the dispossessed who shall inherit the creative earth.” - [sob, thanks i hope so]
“I went from being just a regular freak to being a cool freak. It was really nice.” - [live in hope, etc]
And slightly baffling but kinda compelling soundbites about life in general: “This is the game. You gotta decide are you playing the game or not playing the game.”
“We were awesomely dumb.”

I leave you with five things I learnt from this lovely documentary, and the tantalising knowledge that we’ve got five DVDs of Beautiful Losers to give away.

What I learnt:

1. We’re all gonna die and we might as well talk about it. Be constantly aware of coming annihilation and say things like: “we’ll all be dust in 80 years time so… you might as well make giant clay
models of the Kremlin..” etc.

2. Skating is an art form – it’s like free dancing.

3. Being funny gets you leggy teenagers. In fact, just model yourself on Harmony Korine – this man is colossally charming. “These days I don’t know any teenagers. Well apart from you two girls…"

4. Have parties. Legendary parties… and film them a bit so there’s a record for future documentaries of your life.

5. Sell out by all means – if they want to buy your crap, why stop them.

There you go.

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