I’m always suspicious of people who at school were already conservative and who didn’t take risks.. As time went on, did they suddenly snap and go and join a cult or end up in prison. Or even worse did they go on to be a conservative politician and be in the running to rule the country?
I’ve found myself get less dangerous and more conservative as time has gone on. At 37 I now blame the hippy ideals for the woes of the country. If a 17 year old self had heard me say that it would have strangled the “evil me” like the scene in Superman 3. I know my opinion isn’t strictly true, its not that simple. It’s like my essence in battle with my Ego, has found this attitude the easiest, rather than seriously think through a lack of evidence.
Although I wasn’t strictly speaking, the poster-boy for the counter culture. I dabbled in soft drugs and Student Culture ( As it used to be in the 90’s).Now, I’ve never, ever liked Madonna or manufactured pop. But even as an 11 year old onwards, I variously championed indie music, rap music, techno ,hard rock, stadium rock, classic rock, folk music and Acid House. I still like most of that and still collect hip hop and soul today, but I can now enthusiastically add Johnny Cash, and classical music among other things to the list.
But I’ve never, ever liked Madonna or manufactured pop.
I used to love foreign cinema and subtitled TV, now it just annoys me. I still like Chekov and despise Shakespeare but have finally accepted that I can stop pretending to like TS Elliot.
I can’t remember the last time I went into a book shop and just went leafing through the poetry section for something I hadn’t known before. I can’t remember the last time I went into a record shop and tried to find completely new music. What’s wrong with me? For the “Me” observing from outside my body, it’s all really jarring. I think I’m 21, but my attitudes and tastes are 51. Where did I stop seeking new things? When was I content with my cultural lot? I’ve turned into my Dad. “ I like what I like and that’s it, now pour me a stout and give me some cheese…..”
To experiment with this in a small way, I made sure I laughed through the Brit awards and then went into my local record shop and did something I hadn’t done in about 10 years. I asked the teenager behind the counter if they could recommend any new bands. The Guys were so enthusiastic about the new music like I was once, but to my rigid brain, the bands given to me sounded like, the a collection of short stories by the Brothers Grimm. “Byron hare” (Que?), “Royal Blood” (Que?) Jack White (Ahhhh- check) and “the Graham waters sailing club ( Que?) I was so frightened by this hip newness that I felt a singularity form in my head. How the fuck did this happen? When did I prefer a Beach Boys record over a “clap your hands say Yeah” tune or Frankie Valli over “Boy least likely to”. I was shocked that I used to crave NWA over Paul Mcartney, that I used to seek out “chemical brothers” 12’s before “Exit Planet Dust” and I felt shamed and less of a person because I was no longer like that.
I don’t know whether its because I’m focusing on a couple of specialities like soul music and hip hop that I have waned off all else. I have found that there is so much to discover in genres I am already to committed to, I’m scared I don’t have the capacity to expand and invest into others. Am I afraid of what I might find in the unknown? Or frightened of hearing too much music I hate? I don’t know.
I only know that if I do this , I need to start small with baby steps to get into new scenes and invest a lot of time and prepare to accept some disappointment. But do I really need to do this at all? When I find that new scenes are the old ones remixed- “grime”(= new school breaks with some hip hop thrown in) or “dubstep”(= new school breaks with more electro thrown in)
Do I need to find new stuff to feel like a committed music nerd? What am I trying to prove and to whom? By seeking to embrace the new am I pretending to be young or seeking out a youth infusion… will I find myself at an all nighter at 4am like a geriatric version of Atomic Jam in ’97. Out of place, like a beached seal flapping on the moon, while onlookers point and laugh. I hope not. I’m not bored with my current tastes and sometimes I naturally progress into new bands like when I found “The black keys” ( on their first album, I might add) or “Vampire weekend”, Hell, I remember when I first the “Polyphonic Spree” and was blown away. I think every once in a while I happen across something new that is worth my attention and the rest of the time I’m a committed Music snob and proud
Problem is…………I have just realised I am the person they aim reunion tours at , it’s a slippery fucking slope and I feel sick.