Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The sudden sense of feeling bereft, as you hadn't expected or been prepared for

Normally I try to look forward, because if you don't look forward, you're as good as dead. I know how much creativity there is in this country, so often hidden and marginalised (wherever it comes from) and that's normally enough to hide the fact that I can't recall ever looking into a new year with as much dread and uncertainty as I am staring into 2010. But sometimes you get overtaken, however hard you try to stop such a feeling - and I'd rather BBC Four made me feel that way than almost any other source.

I may in the past have sometimes tired of his work, considered it overexposed by those who simply Didn't Get The Point, but that's all under the bridge now, and I still can't imagine ever achieving half of what Oliver Postgate did, and I feel less complete, less fulfilled for it. I don't have anything embedded in my spirit such as he had the socialist tradition he was born to, and I don't have the ability to take part in collective endeavour which enabled him to do what he did. This has, without doubt, been the year in which those raised pre-pop, those who represented earlier, more independent forms of creativity, left us at such a pace that absolutely nobody could even pretend to ignore it anymore. The year when we - the wholly pop-defined and driven generation - were left alone to make something of our own. I'm not sure whether we're up to it. I'm even less sure whether I am.


  1. Although Michael Rosen's comments about Postgate's politics were largely apposite, I think that to claim that the Teletubbies et al have somehow continued his legacy is to misunderstand, perhaps wilfully, what happened to broadcasting in the intervening years.

    I read a post of yours recently about your sense at arriving at the end of a particular cutltural phase and I think that this is a clear example of something that would probably seem very alien to anyone even a year younger than me (I was born in 1982). Increasingly and, frequently prompted by this blog, I'm coming to realise quite what a narrowing, limiting force pop-culture has ultimately proved.

  2. That's what the BBC always does, though. They don't want to admit that the circumstances have changed fundamentally and that they themselves have had to change their principles and methods beyond all recognition simply to keep afloat - everyone *within* the BBC knows it, but they tend to keep as quiet as they can about it out of sheer desperation to protect the licence fee, especially in the current/coming context. I do think the creator of Teletubbies/In The Night Garden was sincere, though - I think he'd concede privately that the context is quite different, but *in* that present context there are many, many things worse than CBeebies.

    Us early 80s babies are the last lot to have grown up with areas of our lives uncontrolled by and outside the limits of the market, the last to recall moments of *silence* in television, long, piquant looks with nothing extraneous in the background. We should stick together. But I think this sense that what I was raised for has *irrevocably* disappeared is the reason why the current music I listen to mainly comes from 1Xtra territory: it's *completely* unrelated to anything in my past, and exists utterly in isolation from the older culture. I think, if we're going to keep your ears open (and by this "we" I mean a certain subset who know, even if it is outside our personal experience, about the world before neoliberalism), that's the only honest option we've got now.