Thursday, August 27, 2015


“Nostalgia is denial. Denial of the painful present. The name for this denial is Golden Age Thinking - the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in - its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”
- Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
"Back in the day" is the most common opening line of the 'Golden Age Thinker'. You know, the person who brags about how their generation's music, politics, TV, movies, and/or culture was so much better than anything that has come after. They especially love criticizing younger people and "educating" them about the superiority of their generation's accomplishments. Golden Age Thinking is a mental affliction that can strike at any time after the age of 20, but the older you get the more likely you are to suffer an attack, and attacks have greater intensity and duration.

Musicians are especially prone to attacks of Golden Age Thinking. I can't count how many times I've heard:
"The scene is DEAD! There were so many more gigs 20 (30, 40, 50) years ago."
"Bands today all sound the same. Where is the creativity?"
"Young musicians are not as good as when I was coming up."

"The big labels don't invest in musicians like they used to."

"The internet has RUINED the music industry."

These opening lines are usually followed by a lengthy diatribe amid florid recollections of the "good ol' days." Example. Example. Example. It's really annoying. Please stop. For the record, I have suffered a few intense attacks of my own, but I'm in recovery.

Don't mistake Golden Age Thinking with thoughtful criticism of present conditions. It is necessary to analyze and criticize the current state of affairs in the music industry. Just don't mistake wishful thinking with criticism. The internet is not going away. The industry has changed a lot in the last 20 years; why not just deal with it and find ways to make it work for you? A lot of people are making it work for them. Maybe you can't just sit around and wait for the phone to ring to get gigs, like in the "good ol' days." Musicians today have be more tech savvy, diversified, resourceful, and enterprising. Maybe that is a good thing.

To be continued...

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