my mother has decided to commence her American Beauty
-like rediscovery of her old favourite albums with some unwise purchases of old Eric Clapton. Cream, Blind Faith, you know the score. I tried to explain to her why Clapton and his ilk are detestable (anal white boys reappropriating all the wrong aspects of blues etc. etc.) but the more successful campaign (launched by my generally unimpressed sister) was one of shame.
"Mum, I can just imagine you in the back of a rainbow-coloured Kombivan smoking pot to this." (Think of Homer Simpson's flashbacks in the "Homerpalooza" episode, and if you know my mother, insert her in there and laugh evilly) As adults are far likelier to be embarrassed about their past history rather than take seriously their child's intellectual rejection of their generation's music, it was at this that she went red and put on Led Zeppelin instead. As if that made a difference.
The scary thing is that one day we'll be like this, reminiscing about the days when radio stations weren't afraid to play something edgy like Destiny's Child rather than "this pop shite". Our kids will rubbish our techno records with references to ecstacy and bad raver fashion. It'll be interesting to see what will be regarded as our contribution to "the canon", the music synonymous with our generation that will be played on the "classic" radio stations. A few years ago the answer would have automatically been "grunge", but now it's a bit less clear. Of course, as the continually stillborn eighties revival has proved, there's no guarantee that our music will have any mature cache, that we won't just move on from this generation's underground heroes to the next generation's Celine Dion without even realising how far we've fallen.
Like the onset of balding, the ossification or deterioration of one's music tastes is something that no-one wants to admit is happening to them. You either embark on a desperate game of attempting to remain cutting edge or you exalt the period of your own youth as a timeless moment that will never die. Either way, you're aging disgracefully. Perhaps that's why so many do the equivalent of "shaving it all off" and just switch wholesale to classical or jazz.