Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cultural overload

I think I am suffering from some sort of cultural overload at the moment. When I was young, back in the days when everyone wore brown and pasta was an unusual ethnic cuisine, it was pretty easy to keep up.
Music - You listened to John Peel under the bedclothes (no duvets then, oh no).
Cinema - All the cinemas in Belfast had been blown up so it was just a case of reading the TV listings in the Christmas Radio Times to see which Bond was on.
Fashion - this was the seventies, there was no fashion just what your mum let you buy from C&A.
Books - You went to the library to see which of the 3 interesting books were available that week.
TV - most homes, mine included had one TV so you watched what your parents watched. Luckily my dad liked Monty Python, unluckily he also liked variety shows featuring old men in jumpers singing.


I don't know when things changed but the amount of stuff a reasonably well -informed person should know about has increased to a degree that is difficult to keep up with without giving up the everyday tasks of earning a living and bringing up your children.
I don't want to give up trying yet. I feel that would be the beginning of a process which would end with me listening to Nana Mouskouri (sp?), reading nothing but the latest biographies and wearing clothes from those old lady catalogues I have started to receive.

So, how can I find a middle ground? Or do I just accept that wisdom is knowing how much you don't know? Help!

17 comments:

GreatSheElephant said...

Time to decide on your genre. I keep up with modern fiction, opera and cinema and save enormous amounts of time by not caring at all about pop music, non fiction or theatre.

Tim Footman said...

Old men in jumpers singing are very cool this year. The lead vocalist of The Killers is 78 and has a fine collection of lambswool V-necks in various pastel shades.

Maximus said...

Don't worry - this is only an occasional feeling and tends to become more pressing when the Observer Monthly Music Magazine comes out - too much information, too many things you should know -and ends up making you want to hide under those very same bedcovers. I agree with GSE, best to concentrate on a limited number of genres and remember that not everything is a competition - culture, as such, is meant to be enjoyable.

realdoc said...

Very helpful thanks. I think maximus is right and that its all the fault of OMM. I shall have to trust the various culture mediation experts in blogsville and follow SOME of their recommendations

patroclus said...

Music-wise, lots of our blogging chums have started doing podcasts, which can be handy shortcuts into finding out about new music. Uncut's cover CD has introduced me to some great new stuff (loathe the mag itself, though), and there's also the 'Popular Tracks' section of the Hype Machine...all handy filters.

realdoc said...

I am a complete convert to podcasts, my drive to work lasts 45 minutes, just enough time to hear the full thing. Already discovered the Magnetic Fields that way.(ta Billster)

herschelian said...

I was about to agree with GreatSheElephamt and say pick your areas of expertise - after all you don't want to be Jack of All Trades & Master of None.
And then I read your final comment about podcasts....what the f***, magetic fields.... you've lost me, now I'M seriously depressed...

Richard said...

I've more or less given up with the modern stuff because I'm feeling increasingly like Paul Whitehouse's man in the pub character who has to agree with his mates all the time because his opinion's never right. I hear something on the wireless I like, within two days I've usually found that they're not well thought of and that I ought to be sucking my brains out through my ears with a straw. You must have felt that when you admitted to seeing Snow Patrol live. That wasn't right at all apparently.

Billy said...

I have to agree with GSE's comments - limit yourself.

Oh and the Magnetic Fields rules. Obviously.

Sharon J said...

No fashion in the 70s? Maybe I was lucky because my dear ol' mum let me wear just about anything (within reason, obviously). Wide legged lurex trousers, velvet bomber jackets, halter tops, boob tubes, off the shoulder floral dresses (MEGA YUK!!), platform shoes/boots, chain belts, crombies, brogues... oh the memories!

chatterbox said...

I've given up on keeping up with pop music because it's only cool/hip *insert current appropriate word* if no-one like me has heard of it. Instead I concentrate on the middle aged genres like cinema, theatre and art.. I find this far less painful to my ego and I hope it will save my kids needing expensive therapy later.

homo escapeons said...

Correctimundo...you simply must draw a line in the sand. Apparently 7 is the magic number in mnemonics (why can't someone at Wbesters fix the spelling of that word... can you imagine having to learn this language!)and just pick categories that you feel are worth investing what precious little time that you have for trivial tomfoolery.

The days of having to retain a wealth of knowledge stored in your head are apparently over now that you can access almost any information in a matter of seconds.

However that being said I find it comforting to be able to stretch out a converstaion on the 'price of tea in China.'

Call me old fashioned but...

baggiebird said...

RD I only ever bother keeping up with things that interest me. I tend to make my mind up about music, books etc. I only ever listen to Radio 2, Radio 4 or Kerrang, so if it ain't on there I know nothing about it

patroclus said...

vmntxOoh, and I reckon I spend a fair old proportion of my time listening to people's podcasts, reading about music, downloading music, surfing mp3 blogs, reading Pitchfork (if I have the time) etc, and I *still* haven't heard of a good seven-eighths of the stuff they review in the OMM. So I wouldn't worry about it at all.

Mind you, I bought the Gotan Project's 'Lunatico' album on the OMM's recommendation, and it were ace.

The joyous thing is that these days anyone can distribute their own music through the internet, they don't need record labels and marketing machines, so the amount of music out there has suddenly mushroomed. Which means we need more and better filters. Personally I think I mainly go by what other bloggers recommend.

Sorry, went on a bit there. But I like talking about music, it makes me happy.

rockmother said...

Yeah I reckon stick to what you like and know. In my case - I get sucked in to all sorts all over the place. I was only thinking tonight how hard it is to keep up all this blogging and poscasting lark.. I really feel the need to do another podcast but I need about 31 hours in the day at the moment.

rockmother said...

I meant podcasting not poscasting - I type really fast or I have a learning difficulty or bad eyesight or pre-alzheimers or possibly all three.

llewtrah said...

Your reminiscences reminded me of "Where Did It All Go Right" (Andrew Collins)! I grew up in a small village and probably read my way through the entire village library (3 bookshelves in the back room of the village hall).

Musically I've discovered all sorts of stuff via friends's mp3 players, podcasts and CDs on metal mags. Books tend to be recommendations from friends and people on newsgroups.