God Save Your Mad Parade
I managed to finish my drawing of the tenfoot and it's now in the Ropewalk gallery awaiting judgement. It's titled Convergence 77 with the 77 partially referring to 1977, the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. I remember it quite well, we had a big party down that very tenfoot, and a few moments are etched in my mind--mainly me and my brother winning Space 1999 action figures. We got the crappy aliens in purple dresses while I think it was the Shearsmiths who got the crew of the Eagle. But back to the present and we've just had the celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee which definitely felt quite different. There's an air of melancholy hanging over the country this time. We all know this is the end of an era and the immediate future looks unsettled.
The world was quite different back in 1977. Everything was still analogue, from TV broadcasts to vinyl records, and as a result things felt more organic. In '77 there were old people around who still remembered a world where there were no motor vehicles, no TVs or even radio--the Victorian days.
Above: me (right) and my brother at the 1977 Jubilee party down our tenfoot,
Most of us today, myself included, are complete slaves to the modern world of materialistic narcissism. The old world has passed out of memory, a world where you had to seek out new ideas in book stores, libraries or record shops.
You could argue this was a limitation, and in some ways it was, but in 1977 we were a furnace of creativity, best represented in the way rock and roll was reinventing itself as punk rock. God Save the Queen hit number two in the charts, despite being banned, and contempt and disrespect for convention and authority drove the youth into new realms of creativity. New and edgy comic book characters appeared like Judge Dredd and fashion and music became futuristic and forward-looking.
In comparison, the world today feels stagnant and dictative. We look back and drag up old fashions in a futile quest for authenticity, adding an ironic postmodern retro twist, completely defusing any vitality they once had.
It could be that in the coming years the last remnants of that world will be swept away. We're on the brink of what the billionaire culture creators of the World Economic Forum (WEF) are calling the "fourth industrial revolution".
Their shaman-prophet Noah Harari is talking about hacking life itself and shaping it in their image in the next decade. We are now "hackable animals", he says, and our future lies within the virtual world of the cloud as inorganic, chipped machines. Our government has even partnered with the these crazy WEF technocrats to implement this so-called "fourth industrial revolution".
I don't see this as the answer to anything. Technology is great but the solution is always organic. Organic food, organic relationships, organic culture. We are living beings but their vision is dead and rotten.
I walked around some of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations today in the ancient village of Cottingham. There were a few stalls where the kids could knock over tin cans with tennis balls or guide a hoop around an electrified wire. A few union flags hung lifeless in the rain.
It felt to me like a sad parody of 1977 when our community partied, all generations together down the tenfoot and across the streets.
I could well be talking total bollocks here. I'm sure there were people in 1977 thinking that it was all just a sad parody of the glorious days of Victoria.
Maybe we use that kind of nostalgia as a mask for our own mistakes. As we grow older these big events force us to confront the past and the things we could have done better. I know I sometimes feel like a sad parody of what I could have been.
Either way, it looks like the coming years are going to bring colossal change. Let's make them for the best.
Edit: my tenfoot drawing was not accepted by the Ropewalk but O King of Chaos was (see my "Drawing" section on here). The exhibition is always worth a trip to see and the place itself is fantastic. It's situated in an old ropery dating back over two hundred years and is the longest building in England.