I’ve come to realise that I write in this blog when I am feeling melancholic. I approach this site like a listening booth or confessional from THX1138. Speaking as a member of Gen X (which will be remembered as the cowlick of social history), the music of Pulp was probably the last band I truly devoured as an anthem for my generation or more accurately, the sub-culture I best identified with. Jarvis Cocker, probably the coolest man in the Brit-Pop scene, sang about the drama of the everyday and the awkward side of desire while making cheeky crassness and artform. But it was something about the sound of their music that pulled you into the past while defying nostalgia and empty sentimentality. It’s rare today to listen to a pop band that drips with such rich irony and to do it with such style. As we gets older, we are defined by more things around ourselves than the music we listen to or the clothes we wear. We now have responsibilities, a greater archive of memories and a driver’s license. However, listening to this music tonight, it makes me miss a time when a song could be everything to you, or that a sound could elevate you above the hum drum of the moment.
To be honest, I was not looking forward to seeing U2 this time around. This is because the last time I saw them I was so far away all I saw were these planet sized heads in front of me. Thanks to their newly designed stage, I was much closer and felt more connected to the show. Here’s a pic to show you how close. Shot with my little Canon EOS 350d and a 50mm lens. An amazing and moving show and evidence that U2 still love doing this.
I love this song. I can almost forgive them for being on the Twilight soundtrack.
“…I’ve committed to nothing…and that’s just suicide…by tiny, tiny increments.” – Nick Hornby, (High Fidelity)
High Fidelity, the movie based on the book by Nick Hornby, was a bit of a disappointment when I watched it in my early twenties. The main character, Robert, the owner of a record shop, didn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. Despite his witty observations of life, he gave little to deserve any compassion or love shown to him. Watching movies about people dealing with the stumbles of their thirties while being in your optimistic twenties can be a remote experience. When I encountered my thirties I found myself revisiting this movie again, really out of a cosmic recognition that it was time to give it another go. Robert was still a selfish arsehole but I now understood he didn’t know how not to be one. The small incremental shifts he made; which really frustrated me when I first watched the movie, now were the same changes I hoped for. I empathised with the pathetic ways in which he held onto his convictions and came to terms with the knowledge that I, and perhaps we, are often selfish arseholes.
Growing older may not make everything clearer but at least it can broaden the movies we connect with, however, I now struggle to listen to listen to “wisdom” from musicians younger than me. With the absence of sages and gurus in our lives, it is fortunate that we have writers, movie makers and entertainers marking out our life stages.
“I’m very good at the past. It’s the present I can’t understand.” – Nick Hornby, (High Fidelity)
Note: This post could easily be written in relation with the movie Clerks II but I wouldn’t know which scenes I’d dare compare myself with.
Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth covers Burt…
Bluejuice – Broken Leg. What was it about the 80’s that keep us coming back to it? Skipping was a serious past time and stars like Eddie Murphy was king. Is it any wonder we don’t feel the need to move on?
As far as modern day parables go, this tale told by Johnny Cash, in his dry western twang, may not be the most conventional. The occupants of San Quentin Prison sit, transfixed by a simple story of a man defined by feelings of vengeance against his father. The inmates smile gleefully as the song “A boy named Sue” comes to a climax as the son crosses paths with the man who gave him his name. As they listen I wonder how many of them were picturing their fathers at that moment. I wonder how many were picturing standing in a bloodied battle against the man that were suppose to have raised them well, wailing their hate and disappointment upon him. There is a strange pleasure in hurting the ones who hurt you, bringing a sense of justice or karmic balance. However, the tale does not end there. Parables have a habit of doing that. Listen to this song. It puts a smile on your face and something may even happen deeper inside.