Thursday, 26 January 2012

On Bob Dylan, the Bronte sisters, Logan's Run, and Tony Hancock

In nostalgic mood yesterday I settled down to watch sci-fi classic Logan’s Run on television. Later I tuned in to what I hoped would be radio comedy magic – an ancient episode of Hancock’s Half Hour. I couldn’t stay long with either.
Was it me that had changed over the years or had the passage of time conferred a reputation that the works didn’t actually merit?
I'm used to dipping into elderly repeats of Top of the Pops and being disappointed regardless of the decade or fashion in music that about only one song in five stood the test of time.
Perhaps Golden Ages can also be crowned once they have passed – and when time has smoothed the rough edges of the contemporaneous experience.
It would be blasphemy to suggest Bob Dylan’s oeuvre would not still be held in awe 20 years from now. But over the same period is it too early to consider while a significant number of Beatles songs will still be held in high regard, the group’s body of work as a whole will be treated as a museum exhibit?
Some creative work proves to be for all time – from Beethoven to the Bronte sisters – and some enjoys its greatest impact in the lifetime of its creator.
The Art establishment, for example, has a lot of money riding on the output of Damien Hirst but I doubt his influence will survive much beyond the time he shuffles off his mortal coil and is pickled in formaldehyde along side one of his sharks.

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