By Letitia Coyne
Posted October 18, 2012
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I’ve discovered that people have use by dates.
Well, maybe they are ‘best before…’.
People have a taste in music that was born in the years that they cared about words and beats and such. People like a particular style of clothes. Most of us can find something to wear prêt-à-porter, but it never quite gives us the feeling or the look we know was our best. Far too many of us get about with the hair style we chose in our golden years. It’s dated now and youngsters whisper, ‘Is the hair on purpose?’, but we carefully apply the heated rollers, firm hold gel, and gossamer steel hairspray each day before we leave the house.
There is a great deal of hard-edge painted on eyeliner gadding about. Often it is teamed with platinum blonde hair that is edging toward the purple-grey discount home bleaching kit shades and single-hair width eyebrows, but once it was THE look and we knew we had IT.
Once we were the cutting edge. Once we were the Avant-garde and we were shaking it with the best.
Even authors knew there was a way to put words on a page.
Once there were rules – but although they seemed to be set in stone, the overview of language shows it was actually always fluid. Even if teachers in the forties and fifties and sixties whacked our knuckles and berated us as fools when we misplaced a comma or couldn’t remember our Latin roots, they were really only commanding their own brief and glorious moment of literary certainty. A passing fashion. Not only have those rules all changed, the world does not want to have to recall them. Fashion, as Oscar so wisely pointed out in regard to clothes, is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months. Language buys us a little longer than six months, but it still passes and is just as despised.
It doesn’t matter if we wrote revolution in the 50s or beat in the 60s or psychedelics in the 70s or punk in the 80s or glorified capitalism in the 90s or apocalyptica in the 00s or Sparkly YA primers in the 10s, it is hard to shake the formula that made sense and spoke truths to the masses when we were flying ahead of the winds of change. We are creatures of habit. We repeat what we know. If it doesn’t seem to work, we do it again with even more determination.
Some very lucky people have an eye for the classics. They choose labels that do not date; their hair is simple elegance and their make-up barely there natural beauty. They loved the bands that lasted and they know their classical canon. Chanel No. 5 has never been out of style. They are widely read, and when it comes to writing they come like water and like wind they go. Wondrous superhuman creative paragons. All praise to them.
Most people shine briefly and then the world moves on.
People have use by dates.
I wish it wasn’t so.
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