For impure and unclear reasons I signed up to Instagram last week. I had to do ("do"? I'm fairly sure that's not the correct verb) Pinterest for work reasons so I thought in a flurry of enthusiasm I would try Instagram too. It's where people I admire sweatily, creepily, from a distance hang out and I wanted to be like them and share desirable retro styled pictures of flat white froth and nail art.
Well! It turns out I fucking hate Instagram. Let me be clear: it's plainly a creation of genius with a powerful and distinct appeal. I can totally see the attraction, indeed I feel that attraction but I also hate myself for it. Of course, there's a thrill to giving my horrible pictures that supernatural glow of desirability through digital magic. With a sprinkling of magic pixel dust, any boring scene can be transformed it seems. How crap does a picture have to be to be Instagram proof? Is there actually any picture too shit for Insta-magic? The sulky bastard side of me wanted to try it out.
The shit Ukkel street scene:
.. becomes gloriously retro-stylish.
Dirty breakfast dishes:
.. even caked on Weetabix looks quaintly appealing in the right light.
Some rubbish on the street:
Like the title sequence in a lesser known Wim Wenders movie. How do you do it, Instagram, you spooky bastard? Or is it rather that we are so attuned to finding Instagram images stylish that some part of our brain automatically characterises the image approvingly without actually analysing it? THAT'S STILL GENIUS.
A receipt that has been on the floor for about 5 weeks that no one ever picks up because we are all animals:
Horrifying fast foods and the lurking Frite Cone of Menace in the background:
Like a Dazed and Confused shoot.
Go on, Instagram you smooth fucker, see what you can do with the crap under the fridge that was uncovered when we shifted it slightly earlier this week:
Yeah, that beat you didn't it? Did it? You know, I'm not even sure it did.
Reasons I hate Instagram:
1. I am not very visual - ie. I have all the aesthetic sensibility of a partially sighted weasel on crack - so I will never be good at it and my posts will look awful and languish despised and unliked until I feel embarrassed and inadequate and furious and delete them.
2. More importantly I rarely go anywhere or do anything or get given anything amazing, so my scope for aspirational shots is very limited. Likely subject matter:
- the kitchen table
- the dog looking pained
- Old El Paso fajita dinner kits
- Yeah, that's about it. You can't really get a flat white in Brussels. Well, that's a lie, you can, but the sole purveyor's froth has been relentlessly Instagrammed by the entire Belgian food scene (12 people) about nine thousand times.
3. I am such a late adopter and techno fool, that I feel completely ridiculous, smashing around at the tiny buttons with my blunt dinosaur arms, while Instagram whispers to me, silkily "I am not for people like you" and shows me a glorious picture of someone's limited edition something I haven't heard of.
4. I simply don't have the temperament for making my life look attractive and desirable. It's not that I'm unhappy, very far from it. Admitted, I do enjoy a regular spirited whining session with M, but that doesn't undermine my basic contentment. I'm just.. what is it? Suspicious of overt positivity, I suppose. Wary of drawing attention to good things. It's a facet of my "medieval peasant" character: DO NOT TEMPT THE ONE EYED CROW THAT DECIDES OUR FATE WITH A PICTURE OF YOUR NICE NEW SHOES (ed's note: I do not have any nice new shoes, back off, crow). It just feels wrong.
I don't recommend having the world-view of a medieval peasant: there's nothing good to be said for dragging a grey serge burden of superstitious gloom behind you, like Eeyore trudging through the Hundred Acre Wood, because who would want to be associated with that? No one. Also, everyone thinks you're a relentlessly negative, sneery bastard. I'm not really: there are so many things I love, truly love: food and places and well-upholstered equines (I even wrote a list!) and I actually quite like looking at pictures of other people's lovely things most of the time (unless I'm absolutely consumed with jealousy). Nice things are nice. I do believe it. Even so, I just can't admit to any nice things of my own for fear of being smote down. It's a problematic character trait. I don't think I'm alone in being thus afflicted, but I do get the sense that there are fewer and fewer of us and that soon the last handful of miserable survivors will be despatched to live in the distant caves of relentless negativity, where we will eke out a bleak, joyless existence without kittens or cronuts or Liberty Nike Air Max, moaning wordlessly at each other and scratching sad drawings of dead things on the cave wall with burnt sticks. We don't deserve Instagram. I don't deserve Instagram.