As a great lover of books and Rock and Roll, I feel compelled to write something about the sad passings that happened in less than two months. Ever since the end of December the world lost Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Harper Lee and Umberto Eco. Not to mention Jeff Kantner and Jimmy Bain. But with all due respect I would like to focus on the first four, if anything, because they did have a greater impact in the world.
Of course, one might ask how can you put people as different as Umberto Eco and David Bowie in one article, but all those mentioned above had major cultural impacts and losing them do make us feel emptier. Luckily their life’s work is eternal and will always be there for us to cherish.
But my point is: those people who are dying don’t have substitutes and you can’t help but feel that the world is becoming a sadder and dumber place. If you need any proof, you just need to remember that Paul McCartney was barred at the Grammy ceremony.
I know, I know, thinking that the past is always better and your current time and the future are terrible is a recurrent theme in the minds of a large number of people and it is brilliantly portrayed on Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris; but we’re talking about real major geniuses here in a society that aside from technology advances doesn’t look like is going to change a lot.
Paris in the twenties boasted Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Picasso, to name just a few. Are they irreplaceable? Yes, but while they were partying in the City of Light the world was giving birth to Harper Lee and six years later, Umberto Eco. And after the Second World War, the world gave us the Rock and Roll generation, represented here by David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister.
Are geniuses of this caliber being born right now? I don’t know, nobody knows, but it’s hard to believe that there are. Why? Because the world changed, people relations changed, the way most people consume art changed and that IS affecting and WILL affect production as well. Will there still be great writers and musicians? Of course, human ability and talent is endless, but it won’t be the same. Whether is literature or music.
Plus, and this is the saddest part of all: all the great ones in either area are their contemporaries or not much younger; which means their time is coming as well. The best thing to do is: enjoy them while they are still here. Buy new books from the authors (Stephen King, Anne Rice, Frederick Forsyth, Lee Child, John Grisham, etc.) and go to shows and buy records from bands (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kiss, etc).
How do we stop this from happening? I have no idea. Maybe keep fostering culture any way that we can and hoping for the best. But I don’t wanna sound all grumpy and I’ll go on record and say that I hope that it will be different but it will still be good.
Triumph – Surveillance
Rick Wakeman – The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Lucifer – Lucifer I
Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”
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