They never learn do they?
It’s been a while since I experienced the venom and angry that infests old people. However, I have been under attack!
Recently the boy band JLS announced they were splitting up. I made an ‘OMG! The world is ending‘ type throwaway line somewhere as a completely tongue-in-check comedy over-reaction to the news. Old people lurched forward from the shadows ready with their lectures, insisting they must talk at me about how terrible JLS are/were.
My own personal feelings about JLS are reasonably neutral. It’s fair to say that they are/were a good and popular boy band, and whilst having all the ‘isms’ of any other boy band, they did what they did well. In a few ways they seemed quite well grounded and always came across as ‘nice’, whether that was measured individually or as a group.
I suppose, with hindsight, it might be possible to point to that moment when they started to seem a little ‘samey’, and so the writing must have been on the wall to do the honourable thing. Every single boy band or carefully crafted manufactured singer has a shelf life. As too do those who aren’t ‘manufactured’. Those are the rules, that’s how it works.
However, when ‘the latest thing’ splits up, the die hard fans feel their world falling apart. And that’s when the old people take their opportunity to snarl and swipe.
Back at the end of the 1960s, a boy band of the day called ‘The Beatles‘ started to go a bit flaky and weird, eventually leading to their announcement that they had split. As with JLS, fans were throwing themselves onto their pillows and sobbing as if their favourite pet hamster had kicked the bucket, or fallen off its wheel, or whatever it is they do as their last piece of animation within their cage.
The old people circling like menacing sharks started their sneering and snarling. The Beatles were not proper musicians and weren’t a patch on those artists from ‘the good old days’ they informed the mourning teenagers. Not to mention they should get their hair cut. That’s what the old people of the 1960s asserted.
The old people felt they had the right to denigrate the musical choices of others, especially those younger than them, and to spout off about how the only true music was the pop (or ‘popular’) music from 40 years previous.
So, when I did my ‘OMG JLS have split up’ and faux throwing my head into my pillow, I guess I should have expected the sneering and snarling and dancing on their grave that came from … old people.
Old people love to lecture about a) how perfect it was in their day, and b) how terrible it is today. Naturally, I got the lecture about how Simon Cowell bands and artists are not real bands and artists. This was compared to the 1960s of course, and era they conveniently forgot was dominated by manufactured bands and artists, put together by the tiny number of labels that controlled everything.
JLS, I was told, were put together by Simon Cowell, as the old people telling me this were completely unaware of the pre-X Factor era of JLS when they were called UFO. What Cowell did with JLS is probably not really any different to what was done with The Beatles. Originally they were a group nobody had heard of, just about making a living playing rock and roll in two-bit clubs around Europe. Then they too got their break via the Simon Cowell of the day.
In the latter days their albums were being put together mostly in their absence, and, having fallen out, each was coming into the studio separately to record their vocals. In the days of The Beatles there wasn’t any autotune. But there was a heck of a lot that George Martin could do to cover for their lack of input, pour vocal talent, inability to do much on the instruments they could just about play, keeping the ultimate manufactured band, manufactured.
Naturally of course, today’s old people weren’t always old. Indeed, they were young and they were the ones weeping into their pillows at the news that John, Paul, George and Ringo were taking their heads in new directions.
Being young, these poor souls had no idea how the world of popular music worked, how it was contrived and spoon fed to them as if it was real, in the way it had worked for the 60 years before The Beatles. Instead, they believed the hype, the press, the publicity, and all they were fed about their favourite boy band, The Beatles.
As they aged, and started to see how it all worked, they became cynical. However, their rose coloured contact lenses just wouldn’t or couldn’t let them accept that the music of their youth hadn’t been any different.
Equally they didn’t learn from the pain they’d felt as the old people of the day had laughed at them and their crestfallen sadness when The Beatles split.
Instead, they waited until eventually they were old. Being old they were then able to copy almost word for word what the old people of their day had said to them.
Substituting “JLS” for “The Beatles“, they were able to spew out all the same insults and derision that the old people of their day had spewed.
The abused had grown into the abusers.
Why is it that old people never learn from the past? You’d think they would, being as they seem to live in it.