Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Definition of a decade

Has anyone seen the noughties yet? I only ask. Apparently the Social Issues Research Centre has discovered its the least er...cultural decade on record, with no defining music or fashion. I'm not really surprised - agreeing with Caitlin Moran that some things take time; and that its only when nineties man throws away his Blur and Oasis records will there really be any kind of paradigm shift. I also think the millennium had something to do with it. If decades take a while to kick start, then surely with centuries its even the more so. I think the 18th was still going strong in 1805 at the battle of Trafalgar; and probably only came into its own with the Peterloo Riots (stirring stuff); whilst the 20th century was sluggish in the extreme, requiring a great war to be got out of the way before Modernism and Communism could make their joint calls on the century. So we've got some way to go. And probably a good job since "noughties" isn't really a name I can conjure much with. I do think Caitlin has something here about the old generation throwing things out. Not just that a Booker Prize longlist that included not only Banville, but McEwan, Rushdie, Coetzee, Barnes et al; but a culture where those late sixties barnstormers will not let go. I'm not talking about Blair here - but despite being a not-exactly-young 38 myself, I'm getting tired of all these old farts holding centre stage in the culture, whether its the endless Beatles/Dylan retrospectives; the weekly Julian Barnes pieces in the Guardian; or the Star Wars-Narnia-Lord of the Rings obsession that still grips our cinema. Let go, won't you? But no, what happens now is that a few Young Turks get brought into the tent at the bequest of their elders. So there's no kicking over the statues; no telling the old folks that they just aint cool anymore.

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