"Wake up! Get your skinny arse over here and take a look at this." I nudged the waif lying face down in my living room with my socked foot and he stirred from his hungover haze. I turned down the volume on last night/this morning's afterparty playlist - ♫ They only want you when you're 17, but you're 21, you're no fun... ♪ - and spritzed the kid with Febreeze for good measure. I nimbly dodged his feeble attempt of throwing an empty beer can at me in retaliation while expertly balancing my Macbook Pro in the crook of my elbow and a bottle of fabric freshener in my hand. "For fuss sake, Jasiminne, what?" he groaned while propping himself up against a leather jacket forgotten by one of my guests. He saw the website open on my browser and his eyes lit up, all grudges forgotten: "Oooooh, has she published a new photoshoot?"
"Shawty got that narcissistic existentialism..."
It was 2012. I was 25. Despite being the first of my then-circle to have bought a home, any vague semblance of being a fully-functioning adult ended there. For the most part, I was as reckless and debauched as the pretty young things I partied with day and night - the twenty-something posse of fashion stylists, artists, musicians who had left their provincial upbringings to seek their fortunes in London. I secretly called them 'The Beautiful And The Damned'. If three day benders of drinking and dancing were their religion, then a certain photographer's website was their Bible. Shawty got that narcissistic existentialism, and shawty got their validation from being having their portrait taken. Most of my extended circle have had snapshots of their decadent lifestyles - cheap n' somewhat cheerful council flats piled with heaps of ironic threads thrifted from the Salvation Army, bin bags overflowing with empty K Cider cans and Marlboro Lights butts, gig ticket stubs and posters of their matinee roll idols plastered over the crumbling walls of their dens - immortalised in all their grunge-glam glory on the blog of this photographer whose travels followed wherever the international party scene took her. It was all very heroin-chic, very 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.
My now-awake companion scrolled through the photographer's newest photoset, recognising one of our friends as the latest subject. Studded denim jacket, check, Brothel Creepers, check, jumping into a skip brandishing a bottle of beer in youthful defiance, BINGO! "You know, Jasiminne, I think I know why you've never been asked to be photographed for this website," he sniggered. "You're too clean." I rolled my eyes - as far as insults went, I could live with 'clean'. "I have standards," I huffed. "I've long since left behind the affectations of fauxhemian living. Why drink cider when I can afford champagne?" His eyes glinted mischievously, "You know, that sort of snobbery is the breath of fresh air the internet needs." I smirked. "What, should I photograph you wearing designer clothes, smoking Sobranies in my bathtub surrounded by empty bottles of Dom Perignon?" Before I even finished my sentence I already knew that this was going to happen. "I need to start a blog. A parody of her photography. The 'Live Fast Die Young' lifestyle - but with class." He let out an overdramatic squeal, waving his hands: "Jasiminne! That's MAJOR. You HAVE to do it. What are you going to name your blog?!"
I took a deep breath, paused, and exhaled for effect.
"Posh, Broke, & Bored."
And so it began. I dusted the years of neglect off my Canon 450D and sent some texts to a few of the most photogenic acquaintances in my contacts list with the tantalising opener: "Hey babes, can I shoot you?" They came. Wearing Margiela and Acne they played dressed up with my military accessories collection while smoking my Sobranies and sipping my Cristal. My camera flash fired as I coaxed poses of them languidly draped across and over my furniture, or if we were feeling particularly adventurous - throwing shapes around London by night. Snap. Upload. Blog. The hits trickled in, slowly but steadily, mostly from our curious contemporaries who wanted to see: "What's that Jasiminne done this time?"
"But youth is fleeting, and reckless youth even more so..."
But youth is fleeting, and reckless youth even more so. One by one, 'The Beautiful And The Damned' moved on to greener pastures, some literally back to the rolling countryside they left for the bright lights of the city that chewed up and spat them out, others retiring the Shoreditch club scene for more upscale parties in cleaner parts of town - like yours truly who hung up her Doc Martens and headed West. Nights of raving in East London warehouses were replaced by evenings in members clubs in Mayfair. Still my camera followed, and these shinier new parties were documented, making their way on to my blog. My motley crew disbanded, I then moved in new circles - and people noticed. Posh, Broke, & Bored attracted new readers; some curious about what they perceived to be a glimpse into a world outside their reach, others simply enjoying the chance to be indignant at the impudence of this glossy upstart who dared to play with irony (posh and broke? Well, I never!). My growing traffic caught the eyes of companies and brands who wanted in on the action, and the invitations rolled in - come review this, won't you attend that, will you wear/use and promote this and that?
"My blog had gone from satire to earnest documentary."
I had gone from the realm of satire to that of earnest documentation, although said documented lifestyle was practically a caricature of what it meant to be young and well-connected in London. What started as a parody of a photography blog had become a somewhat self-aware commentary on the ridiculousness of being young, social, and with more resources than the average 20-something year old. People started asking me questions, "What would a three-course meal in that restaurant set me back?" "How can I get into so-and-so nightclub?" So, the lifestyle stories started to come with instructions. Price guides. Directions and maps. I bought a better camera. I learnt some basic HTML and applied my graphic design degree to my blog layout. An agency signed me on as a blogger, a talent manager was assigned to handle my emails, and I got paid to do what I was already doing. Somewhere along the line, a bored art school graduate's hobby blog became a business yet always remained very much a labour of love. I haven't spoken to my 'party friends' from my East London club kid days in years. I don't know if they read or have even heard about my blog. But if they ever do see what Posh, Broke, & Bored has since become, I'd imagine they would chuckle and say: "Trust that Jasiminne to take a practical joke and turn it into an enterprise."
Do you blog? How did your blog come to be?
Have you ever started a running joke, then
turned it into something else entirely?
Share your 'origin story' with me!
THE PHOTOS IN THIS POST ARE FROM THE ARCHIVES OF WHAT
POSH, BROKE, & BORED USED TO BE. MAY IT REST IN PEACE.