Thursday, March 24, 2011

You're Not As Old As You Feel

This article caught my eye when I came across it earlier on. Only in your thirties and already feeling like you're past your sell-by date? I'm forty-eight and although my best clubbing days are probably behind me it's only a lack of people to go out with that's stopping me. Of course this problem is mentioned in said article, as is the dislike of having to stay up for most of the night in the comments; and the lack - except during the summer, depending on where you live - of daytime parties to combat the tyranny of forever being marginalised in the night is something that has always frustrated me. Suffolk, where I live, is hardly a hub of the avant-garde and since I've been living here my days of going out have ground to a halt. Not one that I've given into at all though. I still hanker after going out even though I have no desire to be doing it every week.

Clubbers, along with football fans, must be the two groups that get short-changed the most in this country. Treated like cattle and taken for granted at every turn. This is a bit of a sweeping generalisation but true nevertheless and has made me cynical regarding anything resembling organised clubbing for a while. In the UK, with a few exceptions, I am reluctant to go out to a club. Except for the big cities, there really isn't much going on anyway. We really don't have it as good today as we'd like to think. There's a lack of invention, a conservativism and an awful homogenisation of people going out these days. There's also a reverse eclecticism that is constantly mistaken for diversity. The lack of drama in our political lives is truly depressing and patronising. The Libyan situation is depressing and looks like concluding in another expensive and unnecessary war. George Osborne takes a penny off a litre of petrol and we're supposed to do cartwheels and the digital age means that the market if constantly flooded with crap, nowhere mores than in music, where the mp3 has, for most people, meant the death of quality and the rise of bad journalism.

This won't affect the discerning flaneur who can always languidly detect craftsmanship from an educated standpoint, but it's depressing anyway. As is mentioned in the linked article and comments, family and life have a habit of taking over. I've got three boys of varying ages, from three to twelve to twenty, but I can't imagine a time when I won't be into what I am now. Coming home after a hard days night, battered this way and that, was always a pleasure. Malleable through hedonism I used to engage, and be engaged by, my kids the most natural and empathetic way imaginable. Of course the only thing I was capable of eating was cereal, but I was totally on their level. I would travel down to London regularly to go out all night, but that fizzled out about five years ago when the inhumanity of public transport between London and Cambridge. coupled with the odyssey that had to be undertaken in order to use it and get home in one piece, finally became too much. A typical night would involve me going down to a friends mid-afternoon, getting baked for about five solid hours before going out, taking thirty to sixty minute cab ride across London, probably arriving past midnight, dancing and getting wrecked until six, somehow getting to Kings Cross for seven or maybe eight, train home one hour, unless there were engineering works. This would mean boarding a bus, often with a full bladder and experiencing real discomfort, as well as exercising amazing self-control. I would tumble into bed around four hours after I'd left the club. The kids would leave me alone and when I'd get up I'd still be high as a kite and feel great. I miss that feeling.

I need to go out and listen to music, a lot. I refuse to not be interested in it because of my age. What a ridiculous idea. I'm embarrassed to say that I've only just got around to reading 'England's Dreaming' by Jon Savage. Being someone who is old enough to remember punk the first time around it's very interesting to read about what happened in the most graphic, investigative way. I found "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" very evocative, but I hadn't experienced first hand the majority of what was written about. Punk was different. Savage's book rings a huge host of bells every time I open it, from the cultural and musical angle, to the political. It's quite difficult to explain how drab the seventies really were. Even as a kid, in spite of the long, hot summers and Liverpool constantly winning everything in site, the political penetrated. The power cuts ffs! I remember going to be with candles. I'm not advocating a return to those days, but I see an airbrushed version of them coming back.

As I get older I'm certainly getting more bothered, about music, fashion, art, politics and the shite that I'm forced to put up with. I'm a firm believer that "back in the day" should be left exactly where it is, but that doesn't mean one can't be inspired by the past on all levels. Things change but don't necessarily evolve. I believe the class system in the UK is more apparent than ever before during my lifetime and I've never been more aware of the imbalance between the haves and the have-nots. There isn't even that much more real opportunity nowadays, just a repositioning of incentives and a metamorphic media intent on control.

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