Putting the social back into Europe



"If attitudes are to change, winning the political argument will not be enough without a cultural shift. This is where a supermodel, a former crack dealer and an androgynous goth come in. The model is Gisele Bündchen, a Brazilian who recently said that, on occasions, she prefers to be paid in euros than the ever-declining dollar. The reformed narco-trafficker is the US rapper Jay-Z, whose current video features him chilling in his overly furnished apartment, counting piles not of dollars, but - that's right - euros. The goth is Noel Fielding, aka Vince Noir of the Mighty Boosh, the surrealist comedy set in a boutique that accepts only, well, euros innit.

The actions of Bundchen and Jay-Z have not escaped the US media. Most commentators wonder if the behaviour of these celebrities reflects a growing insecurity over the state of the dollar, and is likely to presage further currency tumbles. Surely the bigger, potentially more explosive question, however, is the following: does this behaviour reflect a general, growing feeling that, like, Europe is so hot right now?

Ask anyone who likes to wear sunglasses indoors that question and they will surely answer yes, or another word that means the same in jive. Who produced the most exciting music in 2007? Why, Paris and its Ed Banger record label. Who throws the best parties? Why, Berlin. From where is the most breathtaking design emerging? Belgium. The most interesting new cuisine? Spain, through Ferrán Adriá and his many proteges. The most exciting film-making? Mexico (which was once part of Spain and later invaded by the French - and therefore qualifies)....What the actions of Bundchen, Z and, most crucially, Noir offer is an opportunity to seize the initiative. Once the Mighty Boosh boys start trading in euros, thus catching the ear of teenagers and putting a wedge in the Europhobic door, Charlie should steam right in there with his 61 young Facebook pals, extolling the virtues of polyglotism, the European Space Agency, Belgian designer Raf Simons, Cologne's Kompakt Records and kirsch." (Paul McInnes in the Guardian)

Who's your favourite pro-European?

Gisele "I'll go where the money's hot" Bundchen, Jaz "I've got more euros than you" Z or the people making it happen - Edbanger, Adria, Simons, Kompakt and kirsch.

or maybe it's just simply decent work for a decent life?


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