Tales From the Bitface (Posts about not-nostalgia)https://devilgate.org/enContents © 2020 <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>Martin McCallion</a> Thu, 11 Jun 2020 11:57:38 GMTNikola (getnikola.com)http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss
- Looking Back and Forwardhttps://devilgate.org/blog/2017/04/07/looking-back-and-forward/Martin McCallion<div><p>My recent and forthcoming live music experiences all involve bands of my youth that have reformed and are touring their old material.[^mixture] Wallowing in nostalgia, some might call it.</p>
<p>But there’s nothing inherently wrong with bands getting back together. It can be problematic if you are the band that tours as the Dead Kennedys, of course. There’s a whole saga there that I won’t go into, but if Jello Biafra’s not involved, and in fact is actively against it, then it’s not the Dead Kennedys.</p>
<p>Indeed, in his song “Buy My Snake Oil” Jello suggested that a way for old punks to make money off their history would be to</p>
Ride the punk nostalgia wave<br>
For all it’s worth<br>
Recycle the name of my old band<br>
For a big reunion tour<br>
Sing all those hits from the “good ol’ days”<br>
‘Bout how bad the good ol’ days were
<p>Which is a fair criticism of old bands doing their thing in modern days, I guess. But I see two arguments to counter it, from a gig-goer’s point of view.
The first was made by my friend <a href=”http://www.writers-bloc.org.uk/comrades/andrew-j-wilson/”>Andrew</a>, around the time that the Sex Pistols reformed and toured. This would have been in 1996.
“I missed them first time round,” he said when I challenged him about it. “This is unfinished business for me.”
Which was a good point, and kind of made me regret playing the purist and not going.
In 1993 I had investigated going to see the reunited Velvet Underground. But I really didn’t want to see them at an all-seated venue. Partly because I’d had a bad experience seeing Lou Reed a year or so before (despite having had a very <em>good</em> experience with him a year or two before that).
I recall that I phoned the venue — Earl’s Court, I think — and found that it did have some standing room. But those tickets were sold out. So I didn’t go. Regretted that, too. So I’m taking the chance to see bands like the Rezillos, or The Beat and The Selecter, that I missed first time around.</p>
<h3>OK, But What is it Really?</h3>
<p>The second point about the “punk nostalgia wave” (or any similar accusation of nostalgia) is: that is not what it is.
Because here’s the thing: it isn’t nostalgia if you’re carrying on with something that was always there.</p>
Nostalgia (noun): a feeling of pleasure and also slight sadness when you think about things that happened in the past
<p><a href=”http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/nostalgia”>according to Cambridge</a>.
But this isn’t that. Because while those bands’ heydays might have been in the past, their music has remained available and frequently-played. You can’t be nostalgic for an album you listened to last week, or last night.
And a live performance always happens in the present.
This train of thought was kicked off for me a couple of years back when there was an article in the <cite>Guardian</cite>, prior to <cite>The Force Awakens</cite> coming out. I can’t find it now,[^links] but it claimed that “nostalgia” was part of the cause of the excitement for the new film.
And I thought, no. Well, maybe for some people. But for many of us, if not most of us, <cite>Star Wars</cite> never went away. We’ve watched it, talked about it, read theories about it, and so on. It has been part of our lives.
Or take <cite>Doctor Who</cite>. Sure, there were the wilderness years before 2005, but The Doctor never really went away. The Tardis and Daleks are burned into Britain’s cultural memory, and I think they always will be.
Now if I were to see an episode of, say, <cite>Marine Boy</cite>: <em>that</em> would be nostalgic. I remember it fondly from my childhood, and have never seen it since. I’ve never even seen it in colour, because those were the days of black & white televisions.[^anothertime]
But I can’t be nostalgic for punk bands or <cite>Star Wars</cite> or <cite>Doctor Who</cite>, because they <em>never went away</em>. The sense of warmth and shared experience they bring: that’s not nostalgia, it’s something else. Familiarity, at worst. Or better: <em>community</em>.
[^mixture]: Or a mixture of old and new, as with <a href=”http://devilgate.org/blog/2017/01/28/rezillos-gig/”>The Rezillos</a>.
[^links]: This is why you should always save links, folks.
[^anothertime]: God, I really come from another time, don’t I?</p></div>doctor whofilmsmusicnostalgianot-nostalgiapunksfstar warstvhttps://devilgate.org/blog/2017/04/07/looking-back-and-forward/Thu, 06 Apr 2017 23:47:48 GMT