Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The New Sensibility ??

I’m bound to say I’m curious about the seemingly honest, unrestrained and intense interest in my music. Delighted. But curious.

Most of my songs have been written at stolen moments throughout my life. And owe no special allegiance to any style or idiom.

Because of which, or indeed in spite of which, they are adaptable (and are adapted) to any and all idioms, ranging from electro to rock, from latin to pop, from dance to indy-acoustic – and back again!

I wish I could claim to be a slave to the keyboard. Sweating angst, as the nobility of my purist enterprise flows like life’s blood, drip, drop, onto the music sheet of my soul.

Er. Nope. Tunes appear in my head, like a precious gift. And the only angst has been to work out how to move them from brain to soundbox, since the only instrument I play is the drums. Enter the Casio 3800.

I am blessed. Yeah. I know it’s old-fashioned to say that. But that is actually the essence of this Saturday morning’s offering. Not my music. Per se. But old-fashioned.

So. I’m blessed. The tunes that enter my head are fully-formed when they arrive. And they arrive naturally catchy and lyrical. Folks seem to remember them and hum them. And that appears to give pleasure. The magic I’ve been given, allows others to create their own magic. And share it, in turn.

When I ask those who have attended my gigs, friends who range across the spectrum in age and musical taste, why they like what we produce together (the emphasis being on interaction, not solo performance), the answer comes, well, we get to leave our hang-ups and our musical tastes at the door, and just enjoy and have fun, dancing and singing-along.

Hmm. I’m actually seeing quite a lot of this as I look around. Well, not so much the dancing and singing-along. But a new yearning for comfort and safety, as opposed to challenge or irony.

We’ve spent the past 30 years and more breaking down social barriers, recreating political norms, exploring financial excess, testing all manner of styles and idiom.

So much so that, a few years ago, nostalgic irony became the accepted meme of the hipster generation: we’ve tried all there is to try; now we just make fun of all that has gone before.

I think The Great Recession brought an end to our toying with nostalgia as irony. We now no longer have time to make fun, either of ourselves or others. We need comfort. We long for certainty. The touch of material that is safe. A sound that soothes, rather than grates. A taste that brings back fond memories.

We don’t want to be clever. We simply want not to want. Not to have a great gaping hole in our psyche. Not to be sad and alone. But rather, to be with others, sharing a common experience. Able to associate with what is going on around us, by being a part of it.

We want a culture that we can understand. Not one that confuses us. So now, we don’t make fun of the past. We embrace it.

We’re scared of the reality of the modern austerity. So, we no longer scoff at that which allows us to imagine more than bare boards and empty pockets. We don’t wear the unicorn T-shirt as irony. We wear it because we want to believe.

We’re finding we like the old and the trusted. We see sense in traditional. And I’m not talking the faux values of the arch right. I’m talking grandma’s kitchen table common sense.

Suddenly, fashion isn’t what’s new. It’s what works. What looks good. Sounds fun. Treats people fairly. Involves them. Let’s them participate. Be it the clothes we wear. The co-op we work in. The political system we’re reforming. Or the music we pay to listen to at a gig.

I don’t ascribe any special nonsense to myself. I’m not one for airs and graces. I’m just grateful that someone put some tunes in my head. That others seem to enjoy them. That something, somewhere, put me in a particular place, at a particular time. Which allows me and you to create magic together.

A magic which is real. And fun. And honest. And intense. Which cares not a wit abut idiom. Or place. Or time. Which was old when it was written. And is still modern today. Because we like it. It’s as simple as that. And I’m truly grateful …