Tuesday, 6 June 2006

One step closer

Now if you remember back to here, I started an aural exploration of my ipod recently with a view to listening to each and every song on there, just to say that I had. So recently I was walking along when the U2 track “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, track #643, came along. Just to digress for a moment, there are 30 song titles in my ipod that start with the pronoun (that, for all you grammarians out there, is a noun that has lost its amateur status) ‘I’ – this is more than the 17 ‘alls’ that I remarked upon earlier, but in my opinion is not as remarkable as all the alls as I just seems like a more song-y kind of word to start wit. I will spare you the list of 30 songs as I can’t be bothered to note them all down. (NB. I will also not be counting the hundred or whatever songs that start with the definite article as that would just be silly).

Anyway the U2 song with the long title came on and it got me a-musing, as these things are wont to do. The muse went along the line of ‘hmm, I remember this...haven’t heard it for a while...[interlude of half humming half singing long forgotten words]...biggest seller on the planet once...read about it in Q magazine ages ago...hmmm,1987 it was released........1987! Holy Shit that’s 20 years ago...TWENTY YEARS AGO!! (I don’t often do double exclamation marks, but this moment was a definite double).

Normally this would have been an issue, but in that week my dear Ma had written to me with contact details of a bloke who I’d known at school and college, we’d played rugby together for about 8 years, but with whom I’d lost contact with around the start of university. Anyway my mum met his mum, she passed on his email address and we got in touch. It had been 15 years, or something very near that. He didn’t know I live in Japan even though I’ve been here for the best part of a decade. It blew me away.

So it all got me thinking about that fact that I’m getting older. It had to happen sometime, I know, especially after the youngster was born, but I didn’t think I would sneak up on me this way – I bet everyone says that. So ‘I Still...’ was off the Joshua Tree album that was released in 1987 which is about 20 years ago, and as my mind did strange things with mental arithmetic it said to me “wow, so, the Joshua tree was released 20years ago and, like, if you go back twenty years from that you’re in, like 1967, which is like another planet”. That’s when I began to lose it a little. It only seems (sort of) like yesterday that I got a copy of the Joshua tree and played it for the first time, but twenty years before that is like soooooo long ago – but if course it’s not, it just seems that way to me.

So anyway, as I was mulling all this over, my disappeared youth and the fact that policemen and doctors are looking younger everyday, fate in her fickle way decided to make me feel really bad.

In our office at the moment is a guy named Joe. He is from New York and is an intern. He came to Japan a few months ago and is studying at a university in Chiba but on a Wednesday he comes to our office to gain valuable experience in business and to use his rapidly expanding Japanese vocabulary (the fact they put him on the only set of desks containing foreigners who are all English speakers seems to have escaped his handlers, but there you go (and he’ll learn an awful lot about how companies operate from that piece of planning...)). So I was talking to Dave about this whole ‘getting older’ thing and we were both looking in wonder back at the nineties and eighties, wondering where they had gone, and so, knowing it would hurt, asked Joe how old he is. “Twenty” wss the reply. We both do some mental arithmetic, but get confused so ask his date of birth. “October 1985” he answered.

It then dawns on us both, Dave and I that is, that pleasant Joe from New York was not even born when the original Live Aid concerts were on in the summer of 1985... OMG. And to make it worse is that he looks at us, as our jaws (and jowls and waistlines) sag, with a kind of ‘yeah, I’ve heard about it but it was, like, so long ago man, ancient history, it had those kind of drug dudes from like the seventies in there, the hippy stuff, yeah, whatever...’ expression. He probably looks at the original Live Aid the way I look at Woodstock – yeah, I know it happened but like get over it, it was ages ago and no one cares about it anymore, live in the now, man – or something like that. (God knows what Joe thinks of Woodstock, probably reads about it in history class).

All the markers of my formative youth, things like the Falkland’s war, Bhopal and Chernobyl, the first shuttle launch and then the Challenger disaster, Gazza, the Mary Rose etc – this kid has no first hand knowledge of them whatsoever. Completely freaked me out, I can tell you – but what is it going to feel like when the youngster grows up...?

PS up to track #730 now, Kashmir by Plant & Page off their MTV (sort of) unplugged album No Quarter.

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