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The Mistakes Issue

Where are the Mistakers?

Was it the wrong decision?
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Photo by Glynnis McDaris

I knew these kids in New York back in 2000 who called themselves The Mistakers. They were kind of an art gang. Harmony Korine, Little Ricky who did T-shirts, Thuy and Miho from preppy clothes label United Bamboo. They all had these devil’s-fork tattoos on their hands. They signed up to some kind of Mistaker Manifesto, which committed them to making as many mistakes as possible in the shortest possible time. Harmony even started the notorious film Fight Harm, which was just him going into bars and insulting bigger guys (and once a lesbian) until they started punching him. It was such a big and good mistake that he got badly hurt and abandoned the film. Wouldn’t revisiting them have been a great idea for The Mistakes Issue? But when I dial the number that I have for Mistakers HQ today, I get some guy going, “Lotus Cafe, take your order?” In the meantime, I start to think about my two favorite mistakes ever, both made by New Order on their “Blue Monday” 12”. First, Peter Saville’s die-cut lozenge sleeve cost so much to manufacture that Factory Records actually lost two pence for every copy of the record they sold. Second, there’s that bit where the drum machine stops, rears up, shows the whites of its eyes, and does this completely irrelevant kick-drum part. Drummer Stephen Morris said that was totally a mistake because they’d just bought the drum machine and didn’t know how to program it yet. But they liked it and decided to leave it in. Then a bunch of other bands copied the mistake, because it was the best thing in the song. Then the mistake became a new orthodoxy and you had to have it on your electro record or else you were a folk singer. The wrong became so much the new right that it came full circle and went back to being wrong again. I wish The Mistakers could have pulled off something like that.