I was reading an interview Robert Plant gave in 2017 about not living in the past and to get out there and hear new bands. He could have been talking about life. All this living in the past and getting stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues again doesn’t exactly help one move on.
Maybe it’s an age thing, but, recently, especially in Hong Kong, listening to people I have known for decades reminisce, but continue reminiscing about everything that happened a very very long time ago, Kemo Sabay, has had me nodding off.
It’s not only boring, but it glamourises a past that often really wasn’t that great. It’s like sex. Often, it was a fizzler. More a whiter shade of pale than even the tame Fifty Shades Of Grey. But it’s whatever one wishes to remember. Sticking with a few fleeting moments rather than admitting that all this was not all bad or good, but part of making the best of what was there at the time to work out where one was heading or wanted to head.
Take this same line of thinking about many in music going on about who and what was and how they’re still “happening”. But they’re not. Listening to them is like watching a bad nostalgia act. Working with them might be quaintly fun, but it does nothing to move things along- for where YOU want to go. These people slow you down. They’re trapped in the past and need company.
Last week, I somehow ended up sitting with a former singer who’s now a booking agent. While her visiting artist played with his mobile phone, she talked incessantly about the past and how I was a regular at a certain bar- never was- and how I knew this one and that one- never heard of any of them- before talking about a skin lotion she had developed, and the problems of copyrighting the name of the product before asking me to feel her skin.
It was all made even more weird when someone who, apparently, is someone worth knowing, (in Hong Kong) arrived and sat behind us. Everyone gravitated towards his table for an exercise in terminal fawning, which, thankfully, gave me an escape clause to pay the bill and get the hell outta there.
It was irrelevant to me though, probably, some needed networking to the others. But this wasn’t someone who was going to take me back to the future- not the one back there, but the one still ahead. We’re all different.
It’s like discussing or sharing music. Sure, I have huge respect for all the iconic bands and musicians- the Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix etc. But very often these days, hearing what were some of my favourite tracks, well, they haven’t really stood the test of time. Some actually sound withered.
Did I ever like the Blues? No. But it was cool to say you did because the Stones and Led Zeppelin did. I preferred the movie “Crossroads” and the legend of Robert Johnson.
No, I never got into the Grateful Dead or Janis Joplin nor the Doors. Could not stand Grunge and Heavy Metal. I liked songs written by someone like John Sebastian.
It’s made me question what the hell was going on in my head at that time.
Apart from the albums “Rubber Soul”, “Revolver”, “Sgt Pepper’s”, the B Side of “Abbey Road”, the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and maybe, “Dark Side Of The Moon”, there’ve been a few tracks- singles- that live on, but not exactly a saucerful of Magic. Just saying.
We’ve changed. Priorities are different. Who we choose to spend quality time with is different. Our lifestyles have changed. So is how we think.
Though we all have fond memories, that’s fine and sometimes good to share on Facebook. But Facebook is not real life. Real life is what’s going on inside of you and away from the view of others.
Robert Plant is right about music. Listen to everything you haven’t heard before. There are some helluva good young musicians creating very good songs that are seldom written about.
Those artists on the charts most of us know. But remember discovering artists long before anyone else? There was a sense of good natured oneupmanship in this. Where’s that feeling today?
This feeling is not there because independent thinking is under threat. And independent thinking is what inspires you to do better than you’re doing. In life.
Do I find James Corden funny? Millions do. I find him to be appallingly unfunny who, like Simon Cowell and a few others, have used being British as a commodity that America will buy.
There are thousands of James Cordens around the world selling shtick. The problem is buying into all this.
It’s like being on social media where irrelevance becomes relevant and you’re on pressing “like” when you really should be liking yourself more and not giving a rats arse about what the online and real life followers think.
Be a game changer. Or die trying.
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