This is not a story about how much of a Nirvana fan I was. I came to their music late, long after they were at the peak of their success and long after they had stopped making music. When Nirvana were popular, however, I was a ten year old girl living a sheltered life. While my father was into music, our pop culture references were few and far between. His record player didn’t work, but his tape player in the car did and I had a steady diet of very old Hank Williams and the Elvis Sun Sessions. I still love hearing that music today. We had a very old TV that had a about six stations on a good day and I’d turn off BBC1 at 7pm on a Thursday because I didn’t want to hear the music. We had no VCR so if we didn’t see something that was that.
Now I have Netflix and Virgin Media TV channels galore. I have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. I have news and entertainment on tap. I can see almost any news report or music video within seconds. Today I watched footage of the Berlin Wall coming down, with a chaser of Melissa McCarthy’s Spicy Act. I was inspired to write this post after watching a BBC4 documentary on 20 years of rock anthems. I can write this while streaming something else to entertain me. I have woken up at night in a panic and been able to grab my phone and see on Twitter that the UK had voted to leave the EU and that a reality TV star was on the brink of election.
Do I check these things obsessively because I’m telling myself I want to be informed about the state of the world? Or am I consuming these stories because they’re now as much part of being entertained as which movie star is having an affair and with whom? Am I now expecting life to have a series of entertainments, of which politics and current affairs form a part? Is the latest compelling press conference just something that’s offered to us because we’re here, and we expect to be entertained? Or are these just lyrics from a song that became a hit and meant that the hair bands had to rethink their sales pitch?