Thoughts on being here and now

janus2Lisa Says is currently playing serious catch-up with popular culture, but wonders if staying up-to-date is worth the required effort:

All yesterday’s parties. Things that happened in 2013 and everybody knew about except me…

The first time I understood that 2013 might not have been existing for me was in December, when Bobby, our glorious editor, requested we voted for our Best-Ofs in musical and cinematographic activities of the past year. As I couldn’t think of a single album, song or film from that period, I invested half-a-day searching the internet for 2013’s releases. I rediscovered some albums that had been on my to-listen-list ever since they appeared: The new My Bloody Valentine, the new Nick Cave, the new Mazzy Star, the new Touché Amoré, the new project of Kim Gordon, Body/Head. But I still hadn’t tasted them. Alongside those all-time favourite groups, I didn’t have a glimpse at the new hot stuff. Also I realised that I hadn’t seen a single movie that appeared 2013.

So I got my act together and went to the cinema. Now “Only Lovers Left Alive”, the new Jim Jarmusch, will forever be the only 2013 movie that I’ve seen that very year. With this being my only reference for the quality of movies in 2013 I can say, it was a very good year (I will sing you a hymn about this marvellous cinematic piece elsewhere). Then I started to listen the previously listed albums. Not too bad. But still, making a best-of-list means having a choice, which I still didn’t. And it was definitely too late to watch whole series. I gave up. Drank a bottle of wine along with my resignation. Stared out of the window and felt left behind. Outdated. Yesterdayish. Noncontemporary. Alienated.

I guess the reason for my delay is the enormous amount of things one has to come to terms with if one wants to understand the roots of what happens nowadays. It’s not about being aware only of the present, but also of all the things that led us here. And there is just too much. 1977 is just as interesting as 1848, 1918 or 2001. How should I ever catch up? I have the feeling it is kind of a full-time job to just be informed. How is everyone else doing it? Once in a while I cross people that seem to know about everything. Their statements like “WHAT?! You never heard of that? Where the hell do you live?” make me mad. I like to concentrate on a few things and really know about them instead of sticking my nose into everything without ever really touching the ground. That’s what our culture is about: there are those huge clouds of references and collections, the internet made it possible to know about the existence of things but no-one has the time to be deeply concerned with something. As we’re used to hyperlinks and hypertasking, the ability to sit down and read a book is dying, just as the ability to listen to a whole album dies with playlists. So sometimes it’s not too bad to live in a bubble. I almost got through 2012 without ever crossing Gangnam Style or Flo Rida´s Whistle song. It is because of my friends that I know about these obscure excesses in popular culture. They had fun shocking me with them in the very last moments before New Year. I didn’t get that rubbish out of my head for almost two weeks. After that experience I became quite mistrustful with the unknown.

So now that I’ve seen all the lists for the very best of 2013, I start to wonder: Should I give the inevitable Lorde – whose name sounds to me like a mixture out of Madonna´s daughter, Lordes, and a very very bad Norwegian pseudometal group, Lordi – a try? What exactly is Game of Thrones? And I still don’t really get the point of Instagram. Maybe I’ll follow my all-time favourite advise from The Hitchhiker´s Guide to the Galaxy: Don´t panic. Within all those What-the-fuck?!-and-Who-the-hell??!-moments, one should more often remember, that all we really need to know is that we’re just some small points in the universe that is secretly headed by mice. So who cares? I don´t.



Words and illustration by Lisa Says