As a baby-boomer heading at breakneck speed toward my seventieth birthday (though still 3 years away) I have just recently come to the heartbreaking conclusion that it is all over for me. No, not life, but “the party” … the metaphorical party that sustained me for these last forty years on a roller-coaster of self-sustaining optimism so familiar to our generation. After the breakaway from the confining social and domestic clutches of our parent’s generation with the revolution of the sixties and seventies, freedom … true freedom from suffocating social mores and mind-numbing employment was at last within our reach. We were the pioneers of a punk-generation! Now, all those who are setting the pace with this new style social direction and political aspiration I cannot seem to “connect” with or admire that greatly. And all those I did have great respect for are either now dead, dying or out of the game. I feel like the passenger left on the station and the train has departed. And I just don’t know if I give a f#ck!
The sad realisation of my plight first came home to roost a while back, when I gifted to my son, who was trying his hand at amateur DJ-ing, my complete vinyl collection of LPs – this collection was a honed down ambrosia of the gods of music of my generation, yes, from The Who “Live at Leeds” to “Zappa/Zoot Allures” … the whole box and dice of every memory of drunken orgy and piss-up to dope-smoked amnesia of the seventies and beyond. Encased in that collection was the ghost of many wild parties, boozey card nights and general Sunday laid-back idylls of beer from the keg sprayed walls to nefarious smoke-infused curtains and collars, and after receiving this holy grail of my wasted (in every sense of the word) youth, he later informed me in disappointed tone that his girlfriend’s dad had almost exactly the same records … except his were in mint condition, having taped the record after purchase and used the tape for listening and put the LPs into cold-storage. WTF!
I reflected on this piece of proffered good sense information when the opening bars of Mott The Hoople’s “The Moon Upstairs” from their “Brain Capers” album suddenly sprung to mind and that night with “the mob” lined up in front of the decibel warping speakers and “air guitaring” the complete riot in a Southern Comfort roused bliss; ”We ain’t bleeding you, we’re feeding you … but you’re too f#ckin’ slow.” And then we’d get serious and put on Floyd’s ”Ummagumma” for a bit of intellectual discourse on Marx and communism! But the thing that really hurt, was not so much that the girl’s father was of that middle-class anal-retentive professional type who knew the price of everything etc etc, but that it was obvious that my son seemed to agree with his action. I could see the drugging threat of “common sense” creeping into his psyche. Always a very dangerous thing in the developing mind of the young.
Yes, the party was over. Gen Y is not inclined to follow their baby-boomer parents stumbling gait, neither down the hard-left political road, nor in personal revolution against the corporate work ethic. Theirs is more career orientated, more “market driven”, more style and consumerism, so there was little room for prolonged partying to oblivion. Not that we couldn’t do our job then at the same time, but there was more room for “forgiveness” after a particularly hard weekend … workmates more willing to “cover” for the necessary human foible of having a good time. And there was always the “sickie” when a particularly extreme case of “industrial diarrhoea” overcame one.
And let’s face it: at least to me, work always gave me the shits. I hated it, and all that social responsibility crap that surrounded it. Every effing day off to work, come home, fall asleep, then back to the job next morning. Bloody mind-numbing slavery. Moored, like so many similar craft, in a marina of lost souls.I would see the tradesmen come to work on the train dressed in clothes suitable for public display, only to don work overalls from their locker in the factory change-room to attend their work-benches and to do the reverse each night to make their way home on the public transport, day in day out. I couldn’t stand such pointless discipline, especially after it became obvious to our generation that the whole capital-based economy was nothing but a big fat con-job … bullshit from start to finish, and we were expected to go along with the con. But be on the receiving end!
So I left it behind, hopefully for it to rot in its own stench and decay. But I see now it has been resurrected and is enjoying another moment in the sun, and, apparently being feasted as the “saviour” of a new economy: technology/driven economy of automation and sterile efficiency … ”meet the new boss…” So I have been railing against what I saw then and what I still see as the dehumanising of personal ambition and type-casting of personality … bunging square pegs into round holes. God, I hate the lot of it! And then to see those gormless dupes in this gormless government talking their set pieces like a theatrical dummy on one of those kiddies shows from the sixties. Do you remember that act; “Chris and Terry (Terry was the dummy)” on the Channel Niners? Ah, that Chris chappy was the one ought to have hooked up with Glenys O’Brien – not Ernie Sigley. Shit, I feel like starting a one person revolution.
But that’s it. We’ve almost become irrelevant, save for our voting block. The party’s over, Vishnu’s juggernaut has moved on, crushing a new generation of suckers only too willing to throw themselves under the wheels of corporate capitalism. We started work at fourteen and finished at sixty five and damn if the bastards want us to carry on until seventy while they now party! Well, they can get stuffed! And even if us boomers have cried ourselves hoarse from screaming against the machine, one can hopefully see the rising generations picking up the baton and just now starting to take their situation seriously.
Now, at least I can get back to Zappa’s “Willy the Pimp”.