Art and Mix by Darren Clarke
The Seventies. Often duplicated, never replicated. In many ways that’s probably a good thing, I mean, if I were to go down to the grocery store and find there was no avocados and only one type of lettuce (iceburg) I would weep… never mind the fact I would have to go down there wearing polyester pants…
But why quibble over facts and stuff? And, if you simply want to focus on the positives they are pretty sweet. They are warm, they are earthy, they are soulful, they are the best kind of whimsical. They are music.
While we could give the 70’s some serious culinary and social lessons: a heightened appreciation for the advantages of social diversity in terms of the food on your table and beyond it could teach us more than a thing or two as well. For starters the 70’s could simply teach us to really dig into, to really chew on the individual things that cross our paths. Music for example.
Ours is a society with working hours all over the 24-7 gamut with few days off for us in common. We rush, we race, we try to keep up, we try to balance, we speed forward, and in doing so many things we end up doing nothing. In listening to a zillion songs we sometimes forget to listen to a song.
Part of the point of doing these mixes was to try to get myself to slow down and savour the world of music and the wonder within. In this particular mix there’s a wicked collection of memories and attachments-
WKRP in Cincinnati, “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly…” Bailey Quarters… The absolutely fantastic movie Slapshot, the boys immersed in poker on the bus while Maxine Nightengale’s, Right Back Where We Started From plays… Supertramp’s The Logical Song reminds me of riding my bike all summer long, when the days were endless, until suddenly they weren’t, and the cooling August nights brought about a sweet melancholy threatening the return to school… The Fleetwood Mac Rumours album cover, seeming to hold some strange magic in and of itself, a beauty I couldn’t fully conceive of… Schoolhouse Rock, how damn cool was that Schoolhouse Rock stuff? Interplanet Janet, I’m just a Bill… that bill, that little slumping bill hoping to become a law, somehow was each and every one of us seeking validation… T. Rex always provides me with three minutes of feeling like, “maybe I’ve been cooler than I thought this whole time…” delusion… and it’s appreciated… Sesame Street and Big Bird. Remember that once you loved Big Bird. You did it without guile or pretense, you did it because he’s a big, yellow, friendly bird. Remember this. Things can be this simple. Rockford Files, James Garner always reminds me of my dad. The side burns, the slicked back hair, the pirate smile, the self deprecating sense of humour. The Pink Panther, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno are these strange, nebulous, creatures, gorgeous and meandering, without a clearly defined purpose or goal. They are difficult to compartmentalize and that’s something you appreciate as times passes: that narratives can limit your appreciation for so much that is important, appreciation for the past, appreciation for who you are, what you feel, what you need, what you could be. Narratives can define to the point of making you forget that your sense of genuine wonder is way more important than your best made plans and definitions. Hot Butter’s Popcorn is similar in its’ ability to transport me to new and old places every time. In the 70’s the tune was often the backdrop to every lame variety show act and mall fashion show you’d happen upon but over time it gets me to actually see these things for what they were, not something forced upon me by people with a clear understanding of what they were doing but rather entities that happened to be made by fragile people, people like myself, trying to create something beautiful or simply something with meaning or purpose, trying to work with their ego as we all do, within the boundaries, within the limitations, of who we are at that time. Today Popcorn allows me to look back more kindly on things than I did when I was looking at them right in front of me. And if you can’t be kinder as time wears on you are doing it wrong.
This week’s Summer Cassette goes out to the very best thing created in the seventies, my favourite person to wander the world with, the best company in town, the most beautiful person I’ve ever laid eyes upon, my lovely wife Caroline.