It is pretty much generally accepted that 2016 has been a crap year, for many reasons.
We have lost some of the most influential pop culture icons of the 20th Century. The loss of these people is sad and is a great loss to the creative arts but while we have lost the person their great work is still there and can and should be celebrated. I want to mention something about just two of these great people; David Bowie and Alan Rickman.
In response to the death of David Bowie earlier in the year I went and listened to his entire discography. I didn’t think it was all great but it was really fun to listen to it all and experience his creativity and get a glimpse of his imagination. Bowie was a fascinating character that was not tied into any traditional rules of what could be done as a pop / rock star, breaking down barriers for so many other people to follow. while he may not have had a direct influence on my life, listening to his music is easy to see that has influenced so many musicians and artists that have had an influence on my tastes.
Alan Rickman was an actor that appeared massively in my life. For me he was the perfect depiction of the bad guy. His appearances in Die Hard, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and later the Harry Potter series established him in that role for me. I know he has appeared in loads of other films and is great in all of them but to me he personified the perfect villain. Is that a bad place to be? Depends how you look at it. The fact is he was a great actor and he will be greatly missed.
The point of this is to consider the celebration of each of these great people. They are a loss to pop culture but if you are a fan let people know why. That is a big part of what the podcast is about, going back experiencing and celebrating the work and influence of some great pop culture icons. I am really looking forward to celebrating the work of some of these icons, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
In addition to this we have seen a massive shift in political belief and loss of common sense. I don’t want to get into a detailed political tirade hear, that’s not the point of this site but there are a few things worth mentioning. The rise of populist politics is cause and effect and just shows that we do not learn lessons from history. Globally we experienced a period of boom during which we all got very comfortable and complacent. When the bubble burst in 2008 the world looked for someone to blame. Don’t get me wrong, there was someone to blame but we all let it happen and we have suffered the consequences.
The period of depression that has followed has been difficult and impacted everyone at home. Decisions that were made behind closed doors in a shiny office building we have meant we have suffered. This has re-established the notion that so much of our lives is out of our control. Knowing this is scary and we want someone to tell us why this happens, who is to blame and reassure us they will do something about it. A protective charismatic leader who we believe has our best interests at heart. In this dark fearful place is where the right wing thrives and its control across the world is growing like a mould.
This of course has been made worse by an escalation in terrorist violence the world over. I am not a religious person and have no theological dog in this fight. However just as a person I understand that this is a fight of good against evil, the twisting of a belief system that is based on hope and love. However, I also understand that this twisting is caused by fear and hatred of a perceived loss of control.
In both cases people worried about the future and their own small world have looked for something secure and clear cut to cling on to. Something that they can say provides perspective and clarity of purpose to their world. That is not to say that the actions that have been taken are right in anyway shape or form. Only that people driven by hatred have used peoples fear as a launch pad to spread more fear and hatred.
Ok, this part has become a bit of a rant, sorry about that. The point I want to make is that we have been here before. There are many examples but you only need to understand the rise of Nazism in Germany to appreciate the possible futures we are now facing. However, there is something that we can do about it.
20th Century Geek has been a positive passion project and while this year has had its own challenges personally it has taught me something about making time to do what you love. It has provided a channel to share a passion with friends and meet a host of people that share my passion or have introduced me to their passion for other things.
The best I can advise is find your positive passion, the thing that makes you happy and smile. Then follow that passion, keep it to yourself, share it or find others that share that passion, just keep happy. The world can be a dark place and instead of looking for someone to share your fear find someone who shares your love. Easier said than done? Well give it a try in 2017 and if you can, let me know what it is and how it goes.
To finish lets talk about the podcast. The podcast has been an experiment, which has meant that the shows have all been a little different in style and content. Having tried a few things, some of which haven't even seen the light of day, I am starting to settle on a format. There will be a lot more of Mike and I chatting about films and other historical tidbits. The one thing that I will be introducing in the new year are a series of interviews with people actively involved in things that celebrate elements of 20th Century Pop Culture. I am really excited about meeting these people and sharing their passion.
Anyway, time to wrap up so Merry Christmas and have a great 2017. please feel free to contact me either through email or social media, I would love to talk to you about what your passionate about.