It’s only natural to what to be hip. Long past the age when it’s deemed appropriate modern day man longs to prove that he is down with Skepta or Phonte even if he’s not entirely sure what word you would use to describe your enthusiasm and worries that ‘down’ is almost certainly not it.
This anxiety manifests itself in all sorts of ways but the overall desire underpinning it is the same. I want to feel young. I want everyone to know that the man I truly am was the man of 22 who had his finger on the pulse of all things now.
The truth is of course, that you can’t fake it. There is no way to constantly recreate those first teenage moments of awe t when you discovered music that spoke to you in away that nothing else quite managed.
It didn’t matter if the singer was off key or the guitar solo was less than perfect you listened carefully to pick up that indefinable sense of connection.
Recently I’ve been going back and listening can to the music of the early eighties that was the soundtrack to my musical coming of age.
Lloyd Cole, Orange Juice, The Go-Betweens and The Smiths, a crateful of jingly jangly indie pop that’s a world away from grime, hip-hop and house.
And it’s amazing how contained within each grove is, if not a memory, the feeling of beginning a journey without maps, groping your way through the side lanes and dirt tracks to come upon a wide open vista that offered a new direction for your life to take.
There’s always this tendency in people to want to believe in the callow idiocy of youth, particularly their own.
The fact is that we knew a thing or two back then and we knew it instinctively. As the twenty something Keats once famously said ‘beauty is truth and truth beauty’ and we without pretense could identify exactly what that was for us.
Only later entering the dark twisted labyrinths of the urban world did we swap our clothes and our honest opinions for the chance to be cool, turning on our first loves like a trendy Judas.
Oh thee of little faith! Did we not realize that we had been tied to what we denied forever? That the weird fey singing style of Edwyn Collins or the faux Americana of a Lloyd Cole lyric are things that whenever we hear them will remind us of our first tentative steps towards self-knowledge.