I’m an old man. I don’t look it, I’m told. But I have several things happening this year and last that are making me think so. For starters, I now wear bifocals. Parts of me hurt everyday. Hair is growing in places where it absolutely has no right to. I am tired, 24/7.And lastly, I’ve turned into a Patton Oswalt bit.
Oswalt has this bit where he says that as you get older, your enjoyment level goes to somewhere between “ew” and “eh”. I find myself wondering if as you get older, if one gets a certain amount of anhedonia. I sometimes find myself not enjoying stuff not nearly as much as I used to.
I’ve been casting about for solutions. I see some folks my age, and they’re worse off than I am. We’re talking one foot in the grave, at least mentally. I’m not that bad off, yet. What frightens me is not so much the lack of joy, but the lack of joy in the new that terrifies the fuck out of me.
When I was in my twenties, new stuff was always setting my brain on fire. New music,new ideas, new authors. It didn’t matter to me if I was johnny come lately,which was good, because I usually was. I’ve never been cool, hip or fashionable. But when I found new stuff, I loved it to death.
Now,when new stuff comes out that I like, I don’t feel the same spark. I don’t have the same kick in the head discovering Watain as I did Ministry. Wardruna are amazing, but I don’t think I’d get on a bus for eight hours to see them like I did when I got the chance to see Esham in 1999.
What’s funny to me about this, is that I really don’t care for nostalgia from artists I love. I’m not going to see Anthrax because I loved a CD they did in 1987. No, I ‘d rather go see them because their last one rocked the camel’s ass. And when I pick up a Andrew Vachss book, it’s because his last one moved me to tears.
This does mean I’ve left some folks behind, it’s true. It’s not because I’ve outgrown their music. I don’t think anyone outgrows music. Some artists just stop moving me. Nine Inch Nails, I loved their last CD and tour. The new one is aural wallpaper.I think they just decide there’s some music they can share with normal people. I can have a beer with my neighbors, but most of what’s on my Ipod would curdle the milk in their fridge.
Maybe the new can’t come from outside anymore. Are my days as a consumer and lover of media done? Am I doomed to turn into one of those sad ass boomers, buying every re-issue of the Doors CDs because someone found a new take of “Light My Fire” this one with Morrison spanking it on the mic?
The music world lost a true legend this week. Dave Brockie, AKA Oderus Urugus of Gwar. He died way too soon, and way too young, in my eyes. What was eye opening to me was how younger bands viewed him. Band after band told of how he’d welcomed them on tour, and that his crew were one of the ones to treat new and opening bands with respect and care. This from a guy arrested several times for simulating sex on stage with farm animals.
I think there’s the way to fight the old. Find the new stuff. Help it along. Give money to people not because you used to like what they do, but because of what they’re doing now. I may be doing the Kickstarter for a 20th Anniversary edition of an RPG, but it’s because I know the guys writing it have still got it. And I’m finding new artists and writers, but I’m much choosier about who I throw my love at.
In ending, here’s some people you should check out. First off, the ones who still have it: KMFDM, Esham, John Skipp, Craig Spector, Brian Keene, Charles Delint,Anthrax, Testament, Fables, Charles Vess, and ICP.
FOr all of you who want new stuff to make you feel young, try some of the following: Wardruna, Tuautha Dea, Alex Bledsoe, Alexa Dunca, Gail Martin, Walk Off the Earth, John G. Hartness, Jim C. Hines and Kevin Hearne. Good Night!