Whilst finishing up the last few pages of ‘John’ by Cynthia Lennon, the latest in a long line of books that I have read in the hope that people’s words and memories can successfully – if temporarily – transport me back to the glorious 1960s, I reached the conclusion that; I am old. While this may not be true if one is measuring the abstract concept of time in the conventional way, as by that dubious yardstick I would be deemed a mere twenty-three years old, I am talking more in the musical sense.
Nostalgia is a weird, wonderful, troubling and powerful thing, and a curse that I struggle with a lot. There are times where I have found myself almost crippled by the desire to exist at a time when people, society, music and attitudes were more similar to my own interests and ideals. Of course, whether such a time ever really existed is uncertain, and I’m not denying that much of my personal torment has been caused by peering through the glorious rose-tinted glasses of hindsight.
I noted the other day, as I was reading through various definitions and tales of nostalgia in attempt to sooth my own raging bout, that the first synonym that appeared for nostalgic was homesick. I like this. This allows me to believe that I am actually from another time and that I should be turning twenty-four not in 2012, but in 1969, having spent the previous five years of my adult life submerged in the colourful, liberating, experimental and optimistic cultural waves that were crashing around everyone like a tsunami of awakening. However, by some misfortune, I have ended up far away from home in the complicated, digitalised world of the 21st Century, struggling to find the portal which will deliver me safely back to the part of myself which cavorts and frolics there as we speak.
I’m sure I am not the only one who has been lost to the complex voids of time travel, and if my geographical navigational skills are anything to go by, it is hardly surprising that I find myself so far from home, a bit confused and entirely unsure as to what I came here for in the first place.
There is a great deal of evidence to support the strength of my age-related epiphany, not least to be found in the music that I listen to and repeatedly praise and obsess about on a daily basis. While the majority of my musical intake comes courtesy of a record collection, my hope being that somewhere between the needle and the vinyl there will be room for me to slip back to the homeland, even by other more 21st Century means of listening to music the majority would be pre-1995. This therefore leads me to believe that I have the listening habits of someone between the ages of thirty-five and seventy.
This is why I feel old before my time. I spend my days thinking to myself that all this popular music is rubbish, just insignificant churning shod; noise pumped out to the useless farting masses. Now, obviously music is subjective, and if it brings joy to people/morons then there's not much I can do about it. I'd never wish shit music didn't exist. It can be a useful tool in determining whether someone is a vibrant, interesting person or y'know; a JLS fan.
Now, obviously I am not saying that good, new music doesn’t exist, and indeed it can be found in abundance if one only looks under the right mossy rock. Nor do I not love many things about my life and the wonderful people I have met here in 2012. Where possible, I deal with my homesickness by spending time with other people who may also feel like they too have been born in a time that is not entirely their own, strong in the knowledge that if we all want it badly enough time can be transcended. Besides, it is only through our acceptance of time as a concrete a notion which suggests that we cannot in fact choose to exist in any moment we so desire. Time is irrelevant after all, not linear.
In the meantime, I continue to submerge myself in words written by those lucky people who know for certain that they existed at the time to which I feel such a connection. Cynthia Lennon, Pamela Des Barres, Patti Boyd, Mick Rock, Pauline Butcher, Nick Kent, Elliot Tiber and Cameron Crowe – thank you for providing the mind raft for such a vivid and sensual journey back through time.
Fortunately for me, alongside the realisation that I am old comes the brilliant awareness that I am also incredibly young. While the homesickness for a previous age lingers within me, rearing its head sometimes more powerfully than others, I am confident that at some point I will find myself back at the moment in which I belong. And in the meantime, I might as well enjoy the holiday for all it’s worth.
A song to transport you...