Passed On

Because I’m old, and because it was recently my birthday, and because I’ve found myself listening to a lot of music from decades ago in the last few weeks — in part because of the reissues of Supergrass’s In It For The Money and Super Furry Animals’ Rings Around the World, in part because of watching the very enjoyable Beastie Boys Story the other night — I’ve been thinking about the way culture ages.

I watched a trailer for Get Back yesterday; it’s the upcoming documentary edited out of the raw footage shot in 1969, with the Beatles recording what would eventually become Let It Be. More than anything, it reminded me of The Beatles Anthology, the 1990s TV show and album series that basically went, “The Beatles are iconic and changed everything, it’s time we put them in this lionized historical context that treats them simultaneously as human beings and pop culture gods.” As a child of Britpop, this show was everything for me; I watched it avidly and remember feeling as if I was watching ancient history. After all, this was anywhere between 35 and 25 years ago they were talking about…!

And now, here I am, 47 years old and listening to albums released 20 years ago and feeling as if they’re recent, and wondering if my parents felt the same about the Beatles back when Anthology was released. “Why are you watching this show that pretends that Abbey Road was a long time ago? I remember picking that up at the local record shop…!” (My parents, I know, watched the series, but I don’t know how they felt about it; I do think they were amused by Britpop in general, and the revival of something they’d lived through the first time around.)

As bad as it is with music, it’s maybe worse for comics, for me; I think of material released at the turn of the century as being almost contemporary, even though that was decades ago; because I remember the release of particular titles or the debut of certain characters, I feel an affinity with them that tells me that they can’t be considered old, or passé. And yet…

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