Concordophilia

Ordinarily, where high-modernist culture of the mid- to late 1960s is concerned, most people who are Anglophiles are not also Francophiles.

The preferences involved seem like diametric opposites, hailing from some different region of the color wheel. You’re not supposed to be able to carry tastes for Serge Gainsbourg and the Yardbirds, “The Prisoner” and Alphaville, VC-10s and Caravelles, or E-Types and Déesses at one and the same time (though simultaneous and unweighted appreciation for Archigram and les situs is notably sustainable).

There are boundary objects, negotiations between; Petula Clark, of all people, comes to mind. There’s the daring European option, foregoing much if not all of the following and driving deep into Verner Panton, Superstudio, or various forms of ostalgie. And where would we be without those Italian scoots, for that matter?

But these are cop-outs, options for amateurs, ways of missing the point. They don’t satisfy a more complicated love, one which never wants to choose between British and French cultural production of that moment in time. So what’s a poor boy to do, when he admires both? My friends, I give you Concordophilia: simultaneously snotty and insouciant, equal parts Carnaby and Cardin.

If, like me, you’ve struggled with this tension for years, be assured: now there’s a diagnosis and a name for what you have – and an accurate diagnosis can so often be the first step to living happily with a condition. I suspect the support groups won’t be too long in forming.

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