I reckon well over 50% of blogs have some sort of post on there somewhere which says “it’s been ages since I wrote”, just like a letter to your primary school penpal. To be honest, 50% of the writing on this blog probably carries that message in some sort of way! However, life does get busy and you’ve got to pick and choose your moments. The good ship Elba is no longer manned by energetic spring chickens (if it ever was) but we are still unwavering in our love for music in it’s many forms.
The ‘getting older’ and time aspect of music has really got me thinking lately. I’ve always maintained that I probably had an earlier introduction to certain types of music than I maybe should have. As a child 8 years the junior of my sibling I would always look up to them and try to be like them. At that age, the main thing you can do is like the same things as them. Luckily my elder brother was a total muso (there has to be a better way of saying that) and was always buying new tapes, then CD’s then vinyl. I’d consume loads of it, not knowing what it was I was listening to but finding out years later just what an impact it had on me. I begun to join all the dots.
Now that I’ve arrived in my early 30’s, I’ve forged my own paths through new music, amassed my own library of sounds and attended more than my fair share of musical events. I also now find myself looking at the beginning of the calendar year and wondering which albums have a 25th anniversary in the offing so I can see which bands I can cross of the bucket list. Of course, I know that I’ll have an ally in my brother who I can go and see them with, always asking the same question, “Did you think when you were 17 that you’d go and see Dinosaur Jr play in the Arches in 20 years? Or EPMD. Or the Jesus and Mary Chain.”
I’ve even looked ahead to think, how old will I be when ‘x album’ is 25? However, something seems to be taking hold and anniversary shows no longer seem to be confined to 25 years. No, in the last few months I’ve started seeing 15 year anniversary shows for albums. Albums which were a big part of me growing older yet I don’t immediately feel full of nostalgia. 15 years doesn’t really sound like a suitable point for a celebration? It’s not one of those landmark ages, like 25 is. It gets me wondering, is it as simple as these musicians wanting to ‘flog another horse’ again because they’ve no longer got new stuff to tour and need the bucks, or is it more probable that music has changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years so records now have a shorter shelf life? Records which are released now need to be immediate. Consumers download it, listen to it and in many cases, it’s then forgotten about. The album is less revered than it used to be. Music is so much more accessible and more people are able to find a wider selection of listening. No longer does everyone just have the choice of the top 20 in Our Price. In having a wider choice of listening, the amount of people behind one album will diminish or you’ll move on to the next new thing before the last album has achieved legendary status in your collection.
Two such 15 year anniversary shows which I’ve notably seen advertised recently were for Badly Drawn Boy’s ‘Hour of the Bewilderbeast’ and the Polyphonic Spree’s uplifting debut ‘The Beginning Stages of…’. In a heartbeat I bought tickets for the latter for their live show at the QMU (not all that long ago, honest!) was really a musical highlight in my life. However, it got me thinking later that 15 year anniversaries sounded odd. Was it that long ago? Am I getting old?! There’s no doubting the two albums are both excellent works but it is probably an indicator of how music has changed that come the 25th anniversary of these two albums there would be less than sufficient interest to make a tour happen. We know that music has changed but I do worry that we place less value and meaning on the albums which we enjoy.
Looking ahead through my gig calendar I see a few anniversaries on the horizon. Notably in June, the celebration of Mogwai at the Barrowlands and Nas playing Illmatic. However, if nostalgia isn’t for you, there is still plenty to be getting on with.
In June thee mighty Bdy_Prts will play Stereo on Friday 12th of June in what promises to be the perfect way to boogie yourself into the weekend.
And if you’re looking for something a bit different where culture meets fashion and music, then grab a ticket for the next Lighthouse Late event which happens on Friday 29th May. Musical treats are abound from Prides, KLOE and the irrepressible Nicola Meighan (DJ) as well as an upcycling t-shirt workshop, an Instagram photo booth and the Tea green Summer Makers market. Throw in a couple of treats from Innis & Gunn and Brugal Rum and it sounds like a pretty good way to spend payday. The fun kicks off at 7:30pm.