It is in these days, when the swirling chaos of a clearly rigged election is crashing down all around my already fragile ears, that I begin to long for the days when things were simpler. Etta James At Last blasts on my earphones and it sounds unlike other times I’ve heard it. It’s not changed or distorted by the cheesy tinge of pop culture, it’s not in a bad film, or commercial. It’s playing on my own two ears, as I look out on a San Francisco that may well have been the same since Thomas Pynchon wrote about it in The Crying of Lot 49. I very may well be carrying on the spirit of Odeipa Mass, confused and heartbroken about the structures that are unraveling and crumbling all around me. Etta clicks off and Scarborough Fair chimes on….all the truth and integrity of Simon and Garfunkel and the precious era of the Mid Nineteen Sixties. When fear was met with action, letters were written with pen and paper, and hearts were broken more gently, with more formality.
The Mid Nineteen sixties is where I often climb inside myself when I can no longer bare the thought of living in this gentrified pre apocalyptic world that has me glued to a computer screen 8 hrs a day to pay a monthly rent that, in the 60’s would have been close to quarter of a years salary. When I begin to feel sad, lost, and hopeless, I retreat to something that is in my distant memory, en grained perhaps by a past life, or just “knowing” what it was to feel the warmth and experiential chaos of this new age.
“In the Year 2525” comes on. It’s now impossible to escape from the impending doom. In the year“ ”5555 Your arms are hanging limp by your side, your legs have nothing to do, a machine is doing that for you” . How far off are these guys? They carry on with their frantic futuristic folk shouts….“You’ll pick your child from a long glass tube”
The Mid Sixties were the end of one age, the beginning of another. The apex point, one brilliant party, one brilliant expansion of consciousness, the realization that we’re in too deep. The fear that we’ve created and live in a monster of injustice. The beginning of the telephone age, the tv age, the eruption of the occult, the growth of fashion, the climax of American cinema, the absolute tops for pop music. The line when there was just enough technology to elevate life, and not enough to take it over.
I often think what folks in the 1960’s would think of us today, in our decidedly cool outfits, Instagramming more than we live, meme’ing more than we socialize, and dating as if we were confused and unsure about every step of the process. Would they want to join in or would they laugh? Foolish or wise? The climax of Generation Y I can’t tell.