As the song says “everything must change; nothing remains the same”. For a very long time, it seemed as if certain products were always going to stay in the foreground of collective memory. Now, many of them are fading away, unless if they are somehow co-opted into the education system as tools for learning.
I remember having a conversation with a woman who was known for being a member of a celebrated cultural phenomenon of a bygone era. She said most of the musicians of African heritage in the UK owed their careers and livelihoods to the creativity and all round brilliance of her leader. I didn’t bother to argue with her, because I know that everyone draws their expressive range and vocabulary from somewhere. Her principal was inspired to create his work by other artists as well.
Recently, I asked a mutual acquaintance about that woman’s whereabouts. He said he saw her last in Paris and things didn’t look too good for her. Is it possible that many of us are too rigid in holding on to the gestures and feelings of a particular point in our lives? Would things be different for her if she lived more in the present moment and let go of past glories? It is hard to tell.
There was a time in British culture when the likes of Noel Coward would have been regarded as risqué and of the moment. Nowadays, I occasionally listen to his recordings, to remind myself of how much the culture changed after the Second World War and the arrival of more multiculturalism in the UK.
Some folks in the business might regard artists who strive to achieve timelessness in their output as crazy. Everyone can choose, but it does seem as if it takes more energy than usual to create things that will endure through the ages.