Shock of the new- Just fight the power

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.


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