The man, the fool

Tipsy chit-chat about beauty with the man behind Frankie Boomstam

Glasses of wine in hands, we were hanging in my student bedroom, talking about beauty. Beauty. A word that has been philosophized about so many times. A word all artists come across, think about, dismiss, run after. We fight, break up, fall in love and long for beauty. But what is beauty, really?

Joost Bos, stage name Frankie Boomstam, is one of my eight housemates. All men. Through the thin walls – a typical feature of the Dutch student house – I sometimes hear them talk about girls and beer. I hear them win and lose at board games and I have the pleasure of listening to them sing in the shower (note that here it goes beyond the mere hearing). Now, the singing is mostly done by Joost.

A long and lean young man, his alter ego, Frankie, is an intense fellow. Over the top stereotype of the Dutch-countryside-party-dude, he screams and sings in extreme disrespect of the world. He describes himself as dirty, filthy, raunchy and hot-headed. But behind the paradigm breaking partygoer facade lays a romantic desire for beauty.

There’s a romance in the sadness of throwing your life away.

By portraying this foolish portrait of extreme, Joost finds a thrill. “Can I actually do this?” Frankie Boomstam sure can! He can throw his life away, party way too hard and disregard everything and everyone with no consequences whatsoever. He can be limitless. And so, beauty here goes way beyond the beautiful; beauty is in the personal experience of being able to, for once, be unafraid to scare yourself in going too far. In being dirty, filthy, raunchy and hot headed. Beauty is about an offered possibility for escapism. Escaping what the societal has forcefully marked and labeled as beautiful. Escaping the strict rules we follow, but also set for ourselves. Escaping to be able to play with the ugly, the marginalized and the hidden parts of ourselves.

Frankie has the curse of the clown. While making fun of himself for others, his over-the-top persona is actually quite sad. And it’s exactly that depressive side of the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude that is also beautiful.

My task is to portray ugly as beauty – beauty is not beautiful.”

As an artist, Joost aims for a high-quality, experimental, mindfuck-y and edgy product. His music videos are a mashup of fragmented storylines following, you guessed it, Frankie – and his oh so wonderfully tacky fire-Hawaiian shirt. Joost gives special attention to small details, because it is through them that we understand our universe and that quality can be achieved. It is a meticulous process to take a bunch of ugly elements and construct them into a beautifully made product. And here is where we touch upon another aspect of Joost’s desire for beauty: beauty in quality and work.

It’s not about the looks of it.

What is shown and portrayed then doesn’t need to be beautiful in order for it to be. A filthy man roaming the slums and trailer parks while screaming, smoking and smashing bottles isn’t necessarily one’s go-to when thinking about beauty. And yet…

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