Monday, June 29, 2009

RIP Wiz-kid of Pop

It's hard to say what the scene would have been like if Michael Jackson hadn't died on Thursday night. Would people still have been lining up an hour beforehand to secure their seats, or would they have succumbed to the siren call of Top Gun (showing in the Before They Were Scientologists screen downstairs) or the tripped out Smiley Face next door? As it was, Cinema 3 at BAM's all-night movie fest turned into the most raucous of celluloid wakes, fuelled by nostalgia and Brooklyn lager and a desire to remember Jacko before the Wacko; to see him again as the kid who eased on down the yellow brick road.

I'd never seen The Wiz before, unlike the majority of the mostly young, mostly black audience, who sang along with the cast and cheered on Diana Ross as she transformed from a shy Bronx kindergarten teacher ("24, and never been south of 125th street" to a kick-ass heroine who could sprint in vertiginous sparkly heels. There was something magical about being there in the heart of Brooklyn, and watching the action unfurl amidst a dystopian Coney Island playground (the Tin Man's comment that there's "nothing amusing about the closure of an amusement park" was met with howls of agreement) and to see the yellow brick road span across a neon-lit Brooklyn Bridge.

But it was Michael we were here to see. Almost unrecognisable until he let rip into song, his nineteen year old face is covered in make-up and his dancer's frame is padded out with straw and apt quotations. It's a more benign disguise than the one that the singer later carves out of his own skin, and it doesn't hinder the mad capering and knife-like physical precision that makes him so mesmerising to watch. There are whoops and screams and hollers throughout, but it's near the very end that the crowd explode. After discovering that the great Wiz is a fraud Michael, as the supposedly brainless scarecrow, finally comes up with his own aphorism: "Success, fame, and fortune, they're all illusions. All there is that is real is the friendship that two can share." It's a painfully, preternaturally apt realisation from a man who seemed so miserably alone in his own glittering Emerald City.

After the credits role the crowds surge upstairs to the 'all-night dance party', many belting out showtunes on the way. It's only then that I realise that people have been stood up at the back throughout the two and a half hour movie. Upstairs it's back-to-back Michael Jackson hits. With all the media hype about collective emotion and false grief there's something genuinely touching about watching a room full of people - most of whom were too young to remember Jackson as the revolutionary black artist to break through MTV's racial apartheid - dancing to Billie Jean and singing their hearts out.

You could tell we weren't in London anymore, because there wasn't a single joke about blowing bubbles.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'll Be There For You, David Schwimmer

Now I know how the priest feels when he sees, with a sinking heart, the snaking column of the unwashed lining up for holy wafers and a sip of sweet wine. There's something strangely ritualistic about repeating the same interaction over and over again with a line of people. Some folks already have their tickets clutched in their hands, others stick to the script and pretend they haven't heard me make the same small jokes with the people in front of them. Perhaps they figure that if you break that fourth wall, who knows what else might come tumbling down...

My mission is an uncomfortable one. I have to pick out the important people from the also rans, and steer them towards a cocktail reception that I am missing because I am "working the queue". The guy at the front arrives a clear two hours before the show is due to start. He's well-prepared for life outside the velvet rope - sunhat, folding chair, Blitz spirit. Others aren't so hardy. We're late opening the venue and there are discrete, spitting bundles of irritation, and tales of gammy legs that would make Tiny Tim guiltily give up his front-row seat.

When the floodgates finally open I sneak downstairs to swig a glass of white wine and hoover up the canapes. Two familiar figures are doing the same thing, making me worry about whether I should be shooing them off. One's Man Number 1, who (after presumably staking out the best non-VIP seat in the house) has snuck down for a sneaky glass of glass of VIP vino. The other is Ross from Friends. Both are wearing baseball caps and looking shifty. In my head I practice things to say to David Schwimmer. It's important that I come across as graceful hostess, rather than scary fan. I'd be putting Mr Schwimmer at his ease, not asking for an autograph. While I'm getting the tone right the bell rings and they traipse, separately, upstairs.

In the beat before I follow them, I try to exchange an amused look with the model-perfect serving boys, but they're all too busy talking about the death of Michael Jackson. After the screening, at the even more exclusive reception, Man No. 1 returns, and manages to put away even more canapes than I do. Ross, meanwhile, has left the building.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

If I said you had a beautiful body...

"See it's like this..."
He curls his finger at me and I shuffle forwards, avoiding eye-contact with the rest of my sweaty classmates. When I'm within punching distance he starts the routine. He grabs my hair, and then mimes jerking it down on his knee, and then slamming it in the floor. It's hard to know what to do with my face. I'm not used to being cast in the role of the fearsome attacker.
We all nod grimly, even me, his vanquished adversary.
"Thanks." He flashes me a smile as a stumble back to my place, and then, as if wanting to add a personal touch, "And remember to keep those fists up."

I used to go to a Body Attack class in London, run by a friendly (but presumably deadly) girl my age who always got us jabbing and kicking in formation to retro tunes, like a chorus of ineffectual fembots. This time round it was a sample class at a health and vitality expo, and the testosterone factor was pumped up to the max.

Which was more than can be said for me. Thirty minutes in and I'm panting like a bitch and fantasising about the cooldown. The girls flogging anti-aging skin care and flax health bars are watching us sweat and kick and grunt, presumably grateful for some entertainment after a hard day of guarding their samples and scrutinising their fine lines.

Our ripped leader, though, shows no signs of tiring.
"Rule no.1: Stay on your toes." He starts weaving to the hip hop beat, fists guarding his face. (That's rule no.2.) It's obvious he's a pretty good dancer - light on his feet for someone of his build.
"Say someone's coming up on ya. You wanna be all like, 'I don't want to no problems man' but still. You want them to know... to know, right? To know they ain't gonna be messin with you."
I nod eagerly, muttering "True dat!" under my breath, forgetting for a second that I punch like a girl.

But he's not finished with the demonstration. This time be picks on a tiny Asian teenager to his left. She looks pretty fragile next to him, especially when he gets her in a headlock and starts demonstrating the places on her body where he's aiming his kicks. Blissfully unaware of the uneasy spectacle he's presenting - muscles bulging as he shows us how to pummel her slender frame - he turns to us with a grin.

"Hot, right?"

I just concentrate on my slams, and try not to choke up my green tea energy drink.

Monday, June 22, 2009


The first time I read it I was under the influence of countless gratis caffienated-vodka-and-pomegranate juice cocktails, and it seemed somehow profound. The second time I flicked back for it and reading it over gave me the same unsettling feeling as looking up from my plate to lock eyes with an mirror-unready version of myself chewing over some meatballs. There are some things you'd rather not see reflected back. It also made me wonder if there was a secret army of militantly insecure teenage girls from which I had unknowingly made my way up through the ranks, convinced I was a hardy guerrilla force of one.

“Maybe he just thinks you’re pretty?”
I winced. This possibility was not flattering to me; it was terrifying. There were other things a guy could think I was and he wouldn’t be entirely wrong – nice, or loyal, or maybe interesting. Not that I was always any of these things, but in certain situations, it was conceivable. But to be seen as pretty was to be fundamentally misunderstood. First of all, I wasn’t pretty, and on top of that I didn’t take care of myself like a pretty girl did; I wasn’t even one of the unpretty girls who passes as pretty through effort and association. If a guy believed my value to lie in my looks, it meant either that he’d been somehow misled and would eventually become disappointed, or that he had very low standards.

The heroine, Lee, is battling her way through an elite boarding school and a hierarchy much more glossy and vicious than any known to exist outside of high school, the SAS and reality TV shows. What struck me so much about the passage was what an unflattering characterisation of teenage boys lies at the heart of it, one bitterly familiar to any reader of Just 17's he-snogged-my-best-friend, he-doesn't-talk-to-me-in-public, he-says-it's-over-if-I-won't problem pages. And what a mad contrast there was between that and the achingly sweet portrayal of Brooklyn boys in Don't Let Me Drown, the indie-flick that had just opened the BAM film festival.

Although the themes were weighty - racism within the Hispanic community, the literal and metaphorical fall-out of 9-11 - what really got me was the way that the teenage hero was so relentlessly besotted with his friend's cousin, that love letters from the high school hottie got crumpled up and ignored. As the credits rolled I turned to Chris and asked, for the sake of my fourteen-year-old self and problem page readers everywhere, "Are teenage boys really that sweet? Can they really be that sweet?"

Several hours and caffeinated cocktails later I watched the teenaged actor dancing dirty with his twentysomething admirers. Whatever the truth behind the celluloid romance, they seemed to approve.

Friday, June 19, 2009


A little part of me died as I handed over the packet of Parmesan Pita chips to the panhandler on the A-train ("My name's Homeless Jo, but you can call me Homeless"). I'd been hoping to pull something else out of my Mary Poppins bag, like the "gently caffeinated" green tea energy drink, or the packet of wholewheat, sugar-free cookies some bright-eyed health nut had been pushing at the Vital Juice expo, earlier that afternoon. With those pita chips went my last little piece of Google swag. And it's not like I even had a chance to get my hands on their rank of scooters...

At 6.30 yesterday I presented my passport (old one, edges cut off, photograph that looks like a more saintly version of my younger self)and was admitted to Google HQ in the meatpacking district. It all looked pretty normal until we reached the fourth floor, and then I saw that all the rumours had indeed been true. Like a yuppie version of Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory, it was a white-walled wonderland of performative creativity. Whiteboards in the corridors were scrawled with in-jokes and blue sky thinking. Instead of desks there was a games room, with foosball and pool. Instead of a coffee pot and water cooler there was a kitchen stocked with m&ms and gummi bears and boiled eggs. Instead of swivelly chairs there were yoga balls. There was a man-sized ballpool, atari computer games, coaches you could make-out on. To be honest, it looked so much fun that I wouldn't be surprised if you had to pay to work there. This is, after all, New York: the spiritual home of the year-long, unpaid internship, which you have to fight a Battle Royale and sleep your way around the middle management to secure.

Being there made me think of Scarlett Thomas' brilliant novel PopCo, which is set in a cooler than thou toy company, and features the most subversive group of vegans you're ever likely to come across. It made we wonder if Google has its own group of gummi-bear refusers, ready to subvert the company from the inside. Are there employees who deliberately design bad Fourth of July illustrations or make sure that when you search for "sweet little kittens" you get directed to Viagra sites? Or is the rebellion subtler than that? Are there a band of non-conformist Googlers (Nooglers, perhaps?)who scorn the Lego room and refuse to hot desk? Do they bite their collective thumbs at the dress-down ethos and and warehouse parties come in Armani-clad and shoe-shone, pigheadedly making cabbing it up to Midtown after work to hang out with the other suits?

Vive la difference.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Back in London we used to regularly indulge ourselves in a little casual torture. Fine weekends would be spent wandering around Clapham, or Greenwich or Notting Hill, looking at the houses and choosing which one we'd want to live in. With the aid of our trusty pack of London walks we'd idle along tree lined, litter-free streets, peering into bars and delis and parks and wondering what life would be like lived in a place where the menus were hand-written rather than backlit and badly spelled. It wasn't that we didn't love our scrappy bit of East London, with its canal path and Victorian pubs and grown-over cemetery, but the glitter of gentrification kept us riding the subway and pounding the streets, searching for not-so-hidden gems.

These days a perfect weekend for me is one where I don't have to leave Brooklyn. Since I work from home, I no longer have the commuter's burden to shrug off, but still, there it is; this sense of wanting to stay within striking distance of Prospect Park and Michelle Williams' favourite cafe.

Both the cafe next to Michelle Williams' favourite cafe and the Caribbean restaurant on the opposite corner have closed their doors in recent weeks. Although it seems as though my neighbors spend their lives eating and drinking and tipping a clear 20% I guess even that's not enough to support all the cafes, bars and restaurants within a five block radius. But whereas back in Mile End we used to look at the empty junk store on our corner - the one with the ginger kitten forever sleeping in the window - and fantasize about coffee shops and delis and second hand bookshops, here it's hard to think of what we need, what we lack. Already on the street there are restaurants (French, soul food, New Orleans, Thai, Vietnamese), laundrettes (two), boutiques (innumerable), bodegas (five), thrift stores (two) and quirky-cafes-with-wifi (three). We can buy cards, children's toys, jewellery, vintage signs and organic icecream sundaes; Time Out, yoga clothes, flowers and wedding lingerie. There's even the offices of a private detective.

Shamefully, after talking it over, we realised that there was only one thing we really wanted to put in the empty store-fronts, and is wasn't anything that would help us shop local or organic or get us drunk on happy hour margaritas. Oh no, we want Bank of America cashpoints. Somewhere between those dreamy walks through London parks and writing this blog The Man has well and truly got our souls.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Manhattan is my playground

The strangest sights of the weekend were the unscheduled spectacles. The bride moonwalking across the Times Square intersection. The man with a boa constrictor necklaced round his throat, who looked at our players like they were the odd ones. The Iraqi dignitaries who stopped to watch the circle rules football match, nodding politely beneath blue embassy umbrellas.

Come Out and Play Festival is many things to many people. A chance to chase one other across midtown or break some hearts at a roll of the dice or outgeek your geekiest friends by bringing an old Atari game to life or solving puzzles based on Midsummer Night's Dream and Mortal Kombat moves. People play in suits, in pigtails, in costumes that you only assume can be the remnants of some past game which you should have signed up for too.

I spent the Sunday in a hat wide enough to score me an extra subway seat, weaving in and out of Times Square's tourist crowds. As part of the game, Earpiece, three players had to obey the instructions on their MP3 players, in what amounted to a try-out for a nebulous organization called The Agency. My mission was to track them, to weave in and out of the Georgians, Scousers and Midwesterners keeping the confused, plugged-in players in sight, and blissfully unaware of their tail. Then about seven minutes in, they were supposed to be told to look out for me, and I'd watch as they picked me out, eyes clutching at what they had serenely glid over just minutes earlier. It was like a Where's Wally game brought to pushing and shoving life, and I was the little guy in stripes.

My favourite part of the game was the bit where two of the players were told to get close to the player they trusted most and avoid the player they didn't trust, while the other was asked to do the opposite. The shuffling, roundabout dance of evasion and attraction brought me right back to bright afternoons in the playground and similarly arbitrary patterns of friendship and betrayal. She's my best friend. Go away. We don't like her any more. Except this time round the dance lasted less than one awkward minute, and when the players took their headsets off again the subtler, less frenzied grown-up games of alliance politely resumed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy and Glorious

It was only when One of the UK's Leading Jazz Singers started with the whole star-spangled banner business that the cream of New York's British expats realised they should have been singing along. Personally, I felt vindicated. Mine had been one of the few reedy voices piping along politely to our own great national anthem, desperate to prove I knew all the words. As, I saw with relief, did Prince Edward. Jolly good show.

But listening to the pomp and circumstance of the more lustily voiced American song, I started to wonder whether the differences in our great nations may in fact have been encapsulated in the lyrics of the songs closest to their heart. While my first thought was to compare Girls Aloud's Maneater with Britney's Womaniser, neither song seemed forthcoming (even in a pleasant blues-lite arrangement) so I plumped for the national anthems instead. Admittedly it's a long time since I did a comparative practical criticism, but you don't have to be smugged-up English student to hear the contrast between:

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us;
God save the Queen!


Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Basically, the first is bigging up the Queen (rightly so, given that we were singing it on her official birthday and the decided lack of candles for one to blown out) while the second is aggrandising the singers themselves (the self-styled Free and Brave). Now leaving aside the questionable taste of leaving the word "brave" to resonate at the end of the verse - with all its connotations of the native American tribes whose manifest destiny it was to be wiped out by smallpox and perfidious treaties - there's something very striking about the American song's line endings. While both of the English lines finish with an emphatic exclamation, three of the four star-spangled sentences end in question marks. It's as if the song needs to be constantly iterated in order to answer its own rhetorical questions about nationhood.

Then there's the language itself. Compare the way that Queen is made to rhyme with, well, Queen (could anything be more fitting?), while the other lines all end in a an "-us". Brainwashing 101: the Queen (bless her!) and "us" are inextricably linked... only the Queen comes first, as is only natural. By contrast, the US version is like any American TV remake: glossier, flashier, better teeth. Here the "bite", if you will (stop groaning at the back!)comes from the intrusion of the realities of war ("rockets" and "guns") into a ceremonial song. The same topic is only hinted at in the other song via that very English word "victorious" (with it's acquired echoes of Empire). In terms of being glossier and flashier, you only have to look at the latinate words and self-conscious poetics of the US verse. The language is quite literally "gleaming" and "streaming", as its fanciest rhyming pair would have it.

But before I can engage anyone in a heated intellectual debate along these lines, the canape waitress floated past, and all thoughts of linking gerunds to geography flew out of my head as I set off, elbows ruthlessly bared, to hunt down those sausage rolls.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bottle Service

"Hey are you guys getting bottle service?"
We have bottle of corona - one each - complete with slices of lime. Apparently this doesn't cut it.
The barmaid unpretties her face for a second to mime an awkwardness she clearly doesn't feel. "Well, in which case we'll be needing this table. Feel free to grab one of the others if you want."
Since the place is full of tables, we do as she says. Then sit and watch while our old, A-List table sits empty for an hour. Eventually a group of guys and girls arrives and they are ushered to sit down, while the beaming waitress scurries around her.
"What's that about, then?"

Turns out that what it's about is paying $500 for two bottles of Gray Goose vodka (retail value: £30 a pop). That's half a month's rent on a studio apartment in Brooklyn. That's more than you'd pay for a decent vintage of Domaine Romanee Contee. That's more than the price of a flight to France and a suitcaseful of Normandy cider. What in God's name are they thinking spending that on an elegantly cooled supermarket brand of gut-rot?

Now I used to read the free London rags and their pre-slump tales of city boys spraying each other with vintage Moet, but we were on the Lower East side, home to Rent's starving Bohemians, and the place which used to boast a population density ten times that of the most crowded high-rise Bronx hood. A quarter of all Americans can trace their ancestors directly back to people living in these ramshackle blocks (and that's even more than can claim to have Irish nobility and/or Rob Roy in their family trees). There was something far more obscene about that cultural dissonance than anything I'd encountered in the Museum of Sex a few blocks north... and that includes Paris Hilton's sex tapes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Do the Fandango

The social strata of dance classes is as painstakingly calibrated as the most cliquey American high school. Where you'd have jocks, geeks, stoners and the queen bees you get lindy-hoppers, waltzers, east coast swingers and salsa crazies. It's a phenomenon that spans continents, and is no respecter of skill-level. You can see the clan resemblance between the most ineffectual foxtroter and the professionals on Strictly. So before you sign up for the bogo pogo, it might be worth figuring out whose arms you want to be held in, and where your face will fit.

Salsa: There's a certain type of person that's attracted to the dance form I like think of affectionately as "the cheesy sleaze". Pretty girls in supportive bras and friendship groups, looking a couple of penis earrings short of a hen night. Blowsy middle-age women who look younger from the back. Oddly attractive men in their forties who've realised you won't focus on their bald patch if they're spinning you across the room. Short men who shuffle their feet.

Ballroom: Now as you get further up the food chain the dancers get more streamlined and intimidatingly made-up, but even before they learn twinkles and rictus grins, ballroom types usually fall into the following categories: Asian girls tottering in high heels. Elegant older women with long necks, who remind you of your primary school headmistress. Men with paunches and anxious eyes. Engaged couples who hiss at each other when one of them gets the turns wrong.

Lindy-hop: Despite my obvious personal interest in this category, I'd still argue that this is the easiest type to spot limbering up outside the studio. Look out for... Self-consciously quirky girls in tea-dresses and seamed tights. Men old enough to have danced it the first time round. Earnest couples who look like they also do guerrilla gardening. Stiff suits trying not to step on your toes. Unfeasibly attractive people you're too scared to dance with.

Ballet: A class which is not for the faint of heart, or loathe of leotard. If you step up to the barre you can look forward to be joined by... Very handsome, very gay men. Straight men who struck out at ballroom, salsa and swing and are now terrified they'll never meet that special someone. Girls with no breasts or thighs. Girls with breasts and thighs, and no preserving sense of shame.

The other truth (universally acknowledged) about dance classes is that, for many attendees, "want of a wife" (husband/lover/top/bottom/soulmate) is a major motivation for mastering an eight-count rhythm. Here my advice is simple: get thee to a ceilidh. After a few sweaty, raucous attempts to strip the willow you'll be much closer to getting your rocks off than you ever would be in a harshly lit dance studio, trying desperately not to look at your feet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Swapping Duds at the Brooklyn Yard

Since moving to the BK I've learnt to spot a thousand shades of hipster at a hundred paces. Although leafy, green-blocked Boerum Hill is hardly "edgy" Bushwick, we still get our fair share of PBR-swilling action. This Saturday, after a confusing couple of hours pulling weeds by that former Mafia body dump, the Gowanus canal, I stumbled into a veritable hive of facial-hair and youthful irony at the Brooklyn Yard. There was mashed-up music, free watermelon and poi wars. My heart broke for the little Brooklynites; so clearly desperate for a British-style music festival; so very determined to hula hoop the afternoon away with their tongues firmly stuck in their cheeks.

The beds of my fingernails had been thoroughly mulched, and the dirt clung to my arms and face where I'd got a little slap-happy with the sun-tan lotion. I hoped that everyone would assume that I'd been doing something artisanal - like hooping my own wine barrels or building an eco-treehouse in McClaren Park. I'd lugged with me a load of dubious $1 book buys in the hope that I could exchange French existentialists for summer clothes. Happily, since it was a laid-back, too-cool-for-school swap, we were told to just drop off our books and take whatever goodies stole our fancy. There was no points/quota/value system to get in the way of a good time. Naturally we had to compete for the gems with pointy-elbowed hipsters who looked like they were prepared to fight to death for an angora sweater, or some knackered old braces. I'd always done well in the polite, English affairs I'd attended back in London, but this was, I soon realised, the roller-derby of swaps, and it would take a quick eye (and a quicker right hook) to grab myself a new wardrobe.

After a while I dropped back and played spectator. A striking redhead made a turban out of a yard of green cloth. A skinny, bearded guy squeezed himself into a pink polo neck. Two friends dared each other to try on a billowing acid trip of a dress.

Then the watermelon was finished and my bag was full again and the sun went behind a cloud and it was time to go. I left the rummaging kids behind and walked slowly back to streets where no DJs played and to shops where you can only buy the things you had enough money for.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Life's a Beach

"What are you dooooing? You're ruining it!"
"I'm not, I'm making it pretty."
"Get off. It's miiiine."
No, not more block greening, dear readers (although there was some hot mulching action over the weekend), but a little light sand play. The girl's standing, tiny fists balled into skinny hips, glowering at the little boy who's just started making windows without her say so. You can sort of see her point. The sandcastle is a communal effort that towers over both of them, but bearing in mind its probable defensive function, you can see why bay windows wouldn't be part of the master plan.
The argument's effectively solved by another bigger boy leaping onto the castle and squashing it out of shape. The female architect now has a new object of loathing, and is only appeased when she gets dubbed the queen of the trodden-down turrets.

We're in the new Water Taxi Beach at Manhattan's South Seaport. I squint and try to imagine it as a lively nite-spot, but on an overcast Sunday afternoon it looks like someone's tipped a load of sand into the space of a downtown studio apartment and poured in a load of fractious children and some fake palm trees. Who in hell needs the Hamptons?

The walk to the beach is even stranger. We follow shiny footprints through a Disneyfied arcade and shopping centre, stopping only to look at the carts of innovative lifestyle solutions en-route. Across from the table of springy laces (semi-sinister signs threaten you'll "never tie your shoes again!") is a 3D portrait booth. "Look you could even get your head as a keyring," the stallholder enthuses, "isn't that neat?" What she's holding up is a tiny cube of plastic, with a face carved into the middle of it, like a lo-tech hologram. What is eerie (or, I guess, "neat") is that you can turn it from a front-on face to a side profile, to... another front on view. Perfect for anyone who's ever felt the lack of eyes in the back of their heads, the 3D portrait has no room for boring hair and skull shots. The version of you encased in crystal will be always looking, never resting.

I suggest Chris gets one of me for his desk. He laughs, as if I wasn't being serious, and mimes a 3D version of my photo-face. Perhaps I could get a doubled-up back-of-head shot instead.