Owlsey and Charlie, twins of the trade // come to the Poet's room.
Back in the 1980's (or was it the 1880's, seems a long time ago) we practised what is known in economic parlance as 'deferred gratification'. Some of you older readers will remember that; some of my younger readers will be scratching their heads and asking 'wot's that? lol!!'
Mainly it manifest itself by saving up money for something, taking a half an hour bus trip into Rochdale town centre, buying a single or computer game, getting the bus back again and sitting and listening to said record or load said computer game (to find it didn't work).
It was an interesting system of meeting wants; making the buyer wait for a period of time before certain wants were met. The theory goes that, by making the end-user wait, they put more value on the goods or services eventually purchased.
Well that was the theory anyway.
Now, with the internet, most wants can be met instantaneously or much more quickly than previously. If I want a track or a book or want to read about the Battle of Zama or The Franco-Prussian War, I can do so with just a few mouse clicks. It would have amazed my younger self, and it's still pretty revolutionary to my older self.
But what does it do for the soul? If your wants are met so easily? No waiting. Often no saving. Just click, click, move on? Do we value things less?
Deep questions. Sort of pint three philosophical ramblings before ordering a whiskey and going off on a rant about Southern Rail or broadband speeds.
So, do I value music less now than I did in 1984 when I'd make that bus journey into Rochdale, buy Lionel Ritchie's 'Hello', take the bus back and put it on the turntable, play it eight times in a row and realise it wasn't that great after-all (sorry - Lionel, it's not that bad actually. Just making a point. Could have picked Nena - 99 Red Balloons, but you came to mind first)?
I think that residual value might have something to do with when it was bought. Extraneous factors. When you're sixteen, pretty much everything is new, everything is the first, everything marks the way to a whole series of other choices. At 48, although I like new tracks, none of them will ever have the impact on my brain as the first time I heard Jumping Jack Flash or The Battle of Evermore.
On my itunes, I have more or less everything from my past I like, filling in the gaps and buying stuff I've never heard is the nature of the game. Most of the hard-to-get tracks have been found (thanks Jay).
One eluded me for years. Jefferson Airplane's Mexico. A single without an album. A musical orphan, hard to find. Well, I found it today. As my original copy was on a long deleted 80's compilation Best of Jefferson Airplane cassette, I hadn't heard the track for, I dunno, fifteen years.
And I still like it. For it's lyricism, it's musicality but also because I remember Tim took the bus to Rochdale town centre, went to the library, hired the cassette, took the bus back, thought most of the tracks crap but loved this, the last track on the album.
Interestingly, I thought the track dealt with some 19th century Mexican revolution, perhaps involving Napoleon III and Maximilian. A romantic, nobel interpretation. Now - thanks to Wiki and online lyric sheets - I know it's actually about cannabis smuggling and Richard Nixon. FFS. I could have done without that unasked for want - curiosity - being met. Deferred or not.