Nick Hornby wrote High Fidelity, an awfully good and amusing (and very male-viewpoint) novel from which they made a movie that I've not seen. The people in the book have lives centred around rock&roll, and Hornby was revealed as an erudite and thoughtful writer on the subject. Frank Zappa opined that rock critics were people who can't write writing for people who can't read about people who can't play, but he was wrong. Now Hornby has ventured out again.

His 2002 offering is called Songbook and it's about his favorite songs, and it's well-written, and the proceeds go to charity, so what's not to like? I discovered this in a piece excerpted in Canada's National Post, which talks about the problems that arise when lover of hard rock starts getting old. At one point the riffs on Deep Purple's Made in Japan may have been central to your world-view, but today you find yourself listening to Charles Mingus and Rachmaninoff and Emmylou Harris and in fact it's hard to fit a head-bangin' tune into the averaged middle-aged day. So, have you lost yourself? Maybe not; I'm not going to give up Hornby's game, but here's an excerpt:

The thing I like most about rediscovering Led Zeppelin - and listening to the Chemical Brothers and The Bends - is that they can no longer be comfortably accommodated into my life. So much of what you consume when you get older is about accommodation: I have kids, and neighbours, and a partner who could quite happily never hear another blues-metal riff or a block-rockin' beat in her life. I have less time, less tolerance for bullshit, more interest in good taste, more confidence in my own judgement. The culture with which I surround myself is a reflection of my personality and the circumstances of my life, which is in part how it should be. In learning to do that, however, things get lost, too, and one of the things that got lost - along with a taste for, I don't know, hospital dramas involving sick children, and experimental films, was Jimmy Page. The noise he makes is not who I am any more, but it's still a noise worth listening to; it's also a reminder that the attempt to grow up smart comes at a cost.

author · Dad
colophon · rights
picture of the day
January 29, 2003
· Arts (11 fragments)
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