I read an article today about a study by nasa on how civilisation is on the verge of collapse and my first thought was a deeply worrying one… Good! It deserves to. Maybe it’s because I was bought up by elderly parents but I really take a pride in everything I do. Be it teaching or making things, I invest time and money in preparing everything properly and I do it as much for myself as I do for the end user but so often I see things badly done, thrown out into the public arena with little thought as to whether they should be there in the first place.
The ease with which anyone can put stuff “out there” be it music, art, ebooks, blogs, whatever is such now that a lot of quality control has been bypassed. I must admit that there isn’t a day that goes past where I don’t wonder whether I am adding to that pile of detritus in the ether myself. That said, writers from Stephen King to Virginia Wolfe, Mark twain to frank l Baum and poets such as EE Cummings and Shelley all had to resort to self publishing. Plus there are many authors and composers, popular in their time,who have vertually disappeared from history and many a chart topping album or single is unlistenable to now. I suppose the real test is the test of time… The problem with that though is that the separations between media now is less well defined and it’s hard to put anything in context or get generations brought up on immediacy to slow down enough to appreciate anything that takes any investment of time. I don’t blame them, we deal with what we know, but it is sad nonetheless.
One recent ray of hope though came from my nephew. I had seen with some amusement that he gone touring Italy with his girlfriend, and photos of him by michealangelo’s David and in the Sistine chapel popped up and put a smile on my face. He rang up from Rome and was telling me how he had blown his last spare euros on a meal out with his girlfriend and a decent bottle of wine. I laughed and asked him why he wasn’t touring the Amsterdam coffee houses or havin it large in Ibiza like most eighteen year old on holiday. His response was, although curt and somewhat vulgar, perfect. “Because, uncle, I am not a cunt.”
I am aware that to me the solid mass of books that line my walls and the sea of words and pictures therein are a massive comfort blanket to me and that probably dates me in some way. I am a stuff person and I value and respect the human skill and enginuity that has gone onto its creation. That is not to say I am a hoarder or a rampant capitalist, I just value humanity and keenly understand that there is a mind behind bringing something into being. Consequently, when that thing is poorly and lazily made, be that bad art, bad music, bad writing, or bad performance it upsets me even more. If that general poverty of creation is combined with the force of nepotism of any form, pushing it out beyond that point at which it deserves to fall flat on its face, I can feel its wrongness sucking out my very soul.
I can’t help but feel, that in the age I live in and local therein I am constantly at odds with my surroundings. I have a constant feeling that I am the protagonist of HG Well’s The Time Machine, fuming at a world where the books have all turned to dust.
I am a man out of place and out of time and for most of the time very alone. The strange thing is by modern perceptions, I don’t think this is actually a bad thing, Just different. Different is good.