Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Middle Aged State of Mind

I have recently read Jennifer Egan's 'Visit from the Goon Squad' and 'One Day' by David Nicholls. They are radically different books but both had large parts written about times and to an extent place that were part of my growing up.

One Day, with the two central protagonists making their way in early 90's London felt familiar. The pre mobile world, full of inter railing and The Word type TV shows, but still very much pre New Labour. Egan's chapter focused on the San Francisco punk scene had a resonance, but a different one. California punk in the mid 80's was something I admired from a far, entirely build on the records and interviews with the likes of Jello Biafra and Black Flag. I felt connected with it even in my South London home.

What struck me was that both stories felt written by and for somebody of my generation, the 40 something looking back. The middle aged analysis framing the narrative. Both seemed to miss the genuine innocent excitement that we felt. When we bunged off our crappy demo tapes, and got gigs at rubbish pubs and sent John Peel an post card so he would know that we were there, we did not know how the narrative finished.

I am not sure what point I am making, maybe that it would be good to read something written about that time without the middle aged state of mind.