Yes it’s time to celebrate.
The future is past is three years old or possibly five. Its complicated.
I first started this site 5 years ago but I wrote just one post and then left it for a couple of years. An inauspicious start but like most people who blog I didn’t really have a game plan, still don’t of course.
That’s the great thing as far as I’m concerned, believe it or not I have done a bit of writing, only a bit, and it’s blimmin hard work trying to produce stuff for other people, here I am writing about things that I find interesting which sometimes includes writing about myself, I understand that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If you like it that’s great if not move along, nothing to see here.(come back next week when I will be discussing Roxy Music bass players)
I’ve always been a bit of a music obsessive but in a weird way. I would struggle to tell you my favourite band or album, I have no desire to collect records or hear everything an artist has produced or even to listen to loads of music.
But what I do love is the eccentricity of the medium , as Jung acknowledged ‘there is gold in the dark’. Imperfect music can be the most beautiful. The 70’s were the most imperfect time ever, I’m always happy to listen to anyone who thinks the 60’s were the best time, they may well have been in London or San Francisco but by the 70’s it seemed as if there were no longer any limits to the thing we now called ‘Rock’. So, just to pick names and people at random Viv Stanshall , Nick Drake, Kevin Coyne, Siouxsie Sioux, Prince Far I, Hatfield and the North, The Gang of 4, Van der Graff,Wreckless Eric,Man, The Slits, Lindisfarne, I could go like this for a lot longer, music that had no future and little past, just like me no one had a game plan, no one really knew what they were doing, they just did it.
After a couple of posts I still had no name for the site. I had a pen name, that was my first post ever but there was no site name. The Future is Past is the name of a Chicory Tip song and as soon as I remembered it I had my name. The 70’s were the future, literally every month something new and interesting would come along, there wasn’t much to recycle, which may account for the affection for old time rock and roll throughout the decade, but there was a lot of stuff which had previously never existed. That wasn’t because I was too young to have heard it, it was because it was genuinely new music.
There’s quite a lot of evidence that our favourite music comes from a time when we were young and if that is true I really pity the youth of today. There really are plenty of people around who think that Coldplay are great or britpop was the best thing ever and they are in their 30’s or 40’s now. Imagine Oasis being the best thing your generation could offer.
By the late 80’s I had given up on contemporary music so sick was I of tinny synthesisers, soulless production and a relentless party vibe that I had stopped listening to much apart from Jazz and a bit of World Music, even people who were potentially good (and would be again) were subsumed by the musical equivalent of the Tory Party who were in residence forever.
Slowly I found my way back, aided by the new music magazines like Q and later, and better MOJO and Uncut. Today I like music as much as ever, I go to more gigs and listen to more music than at anytime in the past partly thanks to streaming services. In some ways music itself is better than ever now. Outside the hell of disposable pop there enough people who have the freedom to play what they want, there’s no money in it anymore, the pressure to be commercial has lifted. Invariably people play better, the sound is better, the possibility of a perforated eardrum at a gig is greatly reduced. Bands and artists turn up on time, usually reasonably sober, and finish on time so we can catch the last bus home. Quite often you can sit down in proper seats. Another advantage is at 59 I can still go and see bands without looking out of place, no matter what the age of the performer there’s always plenty of the old folk in the audience (or the record shop for that matter). It’s the same with festivals, I can sit with my wife on a hay bale enjoying a chilled white wine without any fear that the Hells Angels are going to set fire to the hot dog stall which is the only food for 20 miles.
If the 70’s were like crossing the Atlantic with Columbus the modern day is a five star cruise, we know where we are going now and it is a lot more comfortable, but there’s not the same romance, adventure or risk.
And that’s my thing with the 70’s, as Rod would say ‘never a dull moment’.
As a tribute to myself I am going to repost a few select posts possibly even going as far as to correct the original typos. This will allow you, the reader, to catch up on some gems you have almost certainly missed and will allow me, the writer, to go on holiday in Mull for a week where there is, shock, no internet. When I started writing this blog I worked 4 days a week, then I went to a job where I worked 5 days but could usually squeeze in a bit of blog time in my busy day. I am now back to 5 days proper work, this is now my evening job so it would be good to take a break.
But lastly a big thank you to anyone who does take the time to stop by and partake. My readership is steadily growing despite my best efforts. Its an interesting process watching the readership growing at glacial speed and wondering where they come from. And a special thank you to anyone who has commented or shared any posts.
Oh and a final thank you to all those of you whose own writings or podcasts have enriched my own life, there’s no longer a place in my life for MOJO as a result of you talented people.
And really finally
Thefutureispast has a presence on Twitter, Facebook , Word press and even YouTube, to be honest however you came to this stick with it, the contents all pretty much the same.