4 dic. 2010


Since I was born in 1960, I feel I have a natural affinity with the culture of the period 1945-1975, my birthday and the window of 15 years on either side.

In poetry, Creeley and O'Hara, the New American Poetry. I still think of Williams as an embattled poet, neglected by the establishment. I like the Spanish poets born around 1925: Claudio Rodríguez, José Ángel Valente.

In film, I like great auteurs like Kurosawa (my favorite), Truffaut, Hitchcock, Bergman. I also like film noir and Hollywood cinema from Bogart to McQueen.

In music, Miles Davis and Morton Feldman. I like classic rock and soul up to about 1975.

This is also the period of the Latin American Boom, of Samuel Beckett. I could go on and on.

I like abstract expressionism, especially Rothko. I like the New York Review of Books.

Nouveau roman, nouvelle vague, Roland Barthes...

I cannot not view most of this stuff as the culmination of human civilization. My second favorite period would be the classic modernist period. My third, the T'ang dynasty or maybe the Heian period in Japan.

Now objectively I know that this set of preference has to do with a particular habitus. Yet I cannot really step outside of this set of preferences either. I wish I liked culture after 1980 as well, but I simply don't. I'll let other people worry about that period. It bothers me sometimes because I feel I am missing something. I don't like to be closed off like that. On the other hand, I have enough things to be enthusiastic about already. My period has bebop and Coltrane. What does yours have?

It's not that I don't like many individual things of the last 30 years, but I don't feel that same sense of deep personal involvement. It seemed like being a writer or musician meant something more in those years. There was a heroic aura about writing fiction or poetry.

6 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

I'm wondering what a four-year difference in birth year can do here: do I like more things from the late seventies and early eighties than you do because I was born four years later? Talking Heads, for example.

Jazzwise, it's hard to beat 45-75, but I still think some great stuff has been done in the past twenty years, my favorites being the Dave Holland Quintet, the Brad Mehldau Trio, and the Paul Motian Trio, all of whom have blown me away live several times over the past two decades.

Vance Maverick dijo...

I'm a year younger than Andrew, but have Jonathan's "habitus". In photography, for example, I have barely caught up to early Cindy Sherman. And I too have enjoyed Holland and Motian live (and Mehldau on record), but I hear them as maintaining postbop musical values into this fallen age. (It's easy to draw connections from them, biographical and musical, to classic pre-1975 figures.)

So, fellow fuddy-duddies, what things have you enjoyed that don't seem like holdovers in that sense -- that sort clearly with recent rather than midcentury models? I'll give one small example: TV on the Radio.

Jonathan dijo...

Holland I like, as well as many other musicians who played with various incarnations of Miles's groups. Motian is great, but once again although I like his recent work but his midcentury recordings with Bill Evans are what I come back to most often. Mehldau is fine, a pianist in the Bill Evans mode (once again). I wouldn't use him as an example of how I like more recent things, since I like him more for what he shares with Bill Evans.

More recent things I like: blogs and the internet; cellphones and ipods. Instant access to anything I want (in terms of information.) Antonio Gamoneda and the later Valente. But are these just holdovers.

I don't know what you mean by "TV on the Radio," Vance.

Vance Maverick dijo...

Name of a band (sample) -- now on "hiatus". I'll resist joking about the internet and instant access to information.

Sarang dijo...

Having been born in the eighties, I have a natural affinity with stuff that was done in the 1930s -- Yeats's frothiest late work, Auden, Eliot channeling Dante, later Stevens, Evelyn Waugh, Flann O'Brien, Jean Renoir, Empson, the Moore of "What are Years" and "The Pangolin."

John dijo...

Born 1963; appreciate your frankness and partly share your perspective though not completely. Most struck by your observation regarding heroism: Agree, very much, the heroic individualism of the artist attracts me massively, and it seems to have waned -- even in the post-'80 art styles that attract me: Slam poetry and electronic dance music don't put as high a premium on the individual voice, and do highly value collective experience.

1945-1975 are almost the exact temporal boundaries of America's economic and imperial apex. Maybe we could afford, culturally, heroic individualism.