Category: 60s music

Far Gone (2/3)

Satireday

Greetings, Earth Dwellers!

Zog from Alpha Centauri here. So far my old steam-driven inter-galactic language-transposer appears to be working – touch wood! 

Well, I wood if I could but must wait and hope that quaint idiom of yours retains none of its superstitious force as there isn’t a single tree left standing within four light years!

That was a joke, by the way. Even the loss of our beautiful forests can be turned to laughter. We have learned this from your own comedy magicians.

Impatient for a reply to my previous communication – eight years is an eternity when worlds are burning – I opened your 1960s music box anyway and streamed its contents across our stricken solar system.

Who knew tears and smiles were so close? Unlike you, we grin when unhappy and weep for joy but such minor distinctions vanish in times of overwhelming emotion.

Overnight, it seems, our helpless mourning for dying nature has transformed into visions of beauteous renewal. Had we forgotten that art can be an open portal to fresh futures? And what else but shared dreams – especially ones catapulted across space and time – can move mountains and waken sleeping giants?

What you experienced over years, remember, has arrived here all at once. Perhaps continuous grief sharpens perception and deepens understanding but somehow the zeitgeist of your 1960s has become ours in an instant.

After all, we have our own folk tales. It comes as no surprise that four young men can bring exhilaration and relief to a society still in shock at the loss of a charismatic leader. Or that competition can turn into collaboration and catastrophe become triumph in the twinkling of an enlightened eye. Or that joyous economies of shared pleasure can supplant sad profligacies of solitary gratification.

When the time is right, my broodmother never tired of telling all 94 of us, everything is possible. 

Touch wood. Today I went out and planted seedlings. May Alpha Centauri (I won’t trouble you with the local name as it’s all consonants!) replenish what her children have squandered!

 

 

 

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There’s A Whole Generation …

When we first heard this kind of music, we little thought that we’d still be listening to it half a century later.

50 years ago, old people in Britain sang sentimental music-hall songs like ‘Nellie Dean’ and cherished wartime performers like Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields. Old men wore their de-mob suits on the beach and old ladies ate bread and dripping and wore whalebone corsets. This was the world of charabanc outings that the Beatles satirised in their underrated film Magical Mystery Tour. They – along with most of their musical contemporaries – believed that pop culture was ephemeral, something you did before you got a proper job. And when you retired with your gold watch, you’d be sipping warm Mackeson in a smoke-filled pub singing along to ‘We’ll Meet Again

But something had shifted. A fault line opened up. Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey still perform ‘My Generation’ with its now ironic line Hope I die before I get old. The Stones continue to defy gravity and strut their stuff to thousands of new young fans. Even the warring Davies brothers have buried the hatchet in a Kinks reunion. And tomorrow night I’m off to see the Pretty Things perform their still exciting 60s-style blend of rhythm’n’blues and psych-rock, with a new album described by Mojo magazine as ‘almost unfeasibly vital’.

As the great Bill Hicks used to say, ‘Who woulda thunk it?’