07 April 2011


Meanwhile, in Another District of Space-Time
(A musical intermission in the Life as a Reading Challenge series)

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon in my ninth or tenth year when an aunt gave me a proper introduction to The Beatles. Although I can't be certain, I believe this was the first song I ever listened to properly . . .

Last year I was going to do a Beatles Song Smackdown,
but gave up after realising there was no way
I could whittle their ouvre down to
a "Sgt. Pepper's Sixteen"!

And it's all about the properly, isn't it? I'm sure I had heard Beatles music many times before and just never noticed.

A cousin received a similar musical awakening around the same time, thanks to her music-loving father; and she and I spent the next few years moaning about having been born "too late" for the 60s and "missing out" on Beatlemania.

Not that we really wanted to exchange decades or anything. At least I didn't. It would have meant--or so I thought--being "too old" for the 80s when they finally rolled around. =P

It took me a while to see that flaw in that decade-locked way of thinking. If something is truly good, then there is no such thing as being "too young" or "too old" for it. There's no reason a why a modern teenager can't love music from the 50s or why someone who has just entered middle age can't appreciate what we have now. (It's not all bad, you know!) It's too easy to miss out on stuff that seems to belong to a single generation, and it's a waste whenever it happens.

The only thing my cousin and I were really "too late" for was Beatlemania: the screaming and crying and fainting in the streets and at concerts. Yes, it would have been cool to have experienced a little of that . . . and you can bet we tried to recreate it (LOL!) . . . but twenty years later, we were just starting to understand that what really mattered about the Beatles was their music. And we were already a couple of steps ahead of the hysterical girls we so envied. In one sense, we were just in time and they were far "too early."

When it comes to good things that were also hugely popular at one point in time, the only thing one really misses out on is being part of a mob. (A happy mob, yes, but still a mob.)

This was just the first chapter in a musical journey of "Sero te amavi" discoveries. I'd spin this out some more so that you learn how my love affair with Duran Duran really began and finally get the details of my David Bowie obsession . . . but I'd like to get to the twist in this post now.

Sorry, no plans for a Take That Single Smackdown . . .
but I could be persuaded to do something for Robbie Williams. =P

Were you aware when this first single from the new Progress album came out in November last year? I wasn't!

The album has been launched, too. And the "man band" has already released two other singles from it. And of course, there's talk of a tour: Take That's biggest selling point has always been its live shows. Heck, I haven't even finished watching the DVD rips of the last time they sold out Wembley!

I believe the epic sound waves from my facepalm traveled all over the world. I have unimpeachable excuses for "missing out" on the heyday of The Beatles, David Bowie and Duran Duran; but I have no reason to be "missing out" on the Take That renaissance. That is, no reason but space . . . but space is often as insurmountable as time.

I have about as much a chance of finding a working time machine to take me back to the 80s as I do of watching a concert in Europe today; and although Take That and I exist in the same "space of time," I often find myself catching up on everything they do months after they've done it. They might as well be The Beatles and Bowie and Duran. (LOL!)

But my point is that although I feel left out of a lot of things, I know that I haven't been left out of what really matters. It's just harder, for some reason, to remember this when it comes to popular music. Old books and old movies dance into this blog whenever they please, and they feel right on time.

Image Source: Beatlemania


Dauvit Balfour said...

Assuming I had a time machine, one of the things I'd want to do would be to see The Allman Brothers' Fillmore East concert. You're right about the important thing being the music. Just as with literature, the good survives the hype, more or less.

I've been to see a few bands my dad would have been able to see. Fortunately Robin Trower still tours. Strangely, the sight of aging hippies with long gray hair, shiny foreheads, beer-bellies, and rock 'n' roll t-shirts doesn't weird me out, though the sight of their respectable business counterparts still listening to punk strikes me as a little pathetic (I realized this when watching former Mods Daltry and Townsend ruining the half-time show).

Music as a movement is generational, but the elements of art contained in it are not, and shouldn't be.

The Western Confucian said...

I was about the same age, and for me it was the same song.

The Beatles are the only pop act that I have never gotten bored with.

Enbrethiliel said...


Dauvit -- I love your last sentence! How true it is. =)

Yet it's so easy to believe that whatever hype there was when a particular act broke into the scene is essential to a full appreciation of what the act has to offer. And perhaps we will soon see this when it comes to books. Children who are still learning to read today might discover Harry Potter in about ten years and wish they had been around for Potter-mania. And then, of course, there's the Twilight phenomenon. (ROFLMAO) I'll bet Harry will outlast Edward by at least a generation, although I've believed for some time that J.K. Rowling's series doesn't have what it takes to be a real classic. Time will tell . . .

Joshua -- It makes you wonder about other second- or third-generation Beatles fans and what song got them hooked, aye? =)

Just when I think I could go for the rest of my life without hearing another Beatles song . . . I listen to I Want to Hold Your Hand again and totally change my mind.

Thanks for visiting! =D