Making money is really important, there is nothing new in that sweeping statement. However when does it become an obsession and something that ruins the legacy of everything serene and well, pure? The world gets bigger every day, people are still dying from various means but the incoming far outweigh the outgoing. Erosion and deforestation begins to reduce the natural elements of our world and commercial transactions generally take first position over preservation and non-human life has become, or always has been, a vector to the carrier. Clinging on in the hope that they will be led to salvation and survival. Town, city and rural planners try to get a step or two ahead from the constant migration, legal or otherwise, to find a place for everyone who has the cash to afford it. Why does it feel like nothing is permanent anymore?
As I mature into a young adult, one who still regularly purges himself to oblivion on a Saturday night, perhaps to forget my insignificance in this vast planet, I realise that most of what I have sought is built upon a lie. Stadiums constantly renamed the Bunnings Boneyard or the Channel Seven Chipotle for 10 dollars Super stadia in accordance with the sponsor who pays the most money to the point when you cannot keep track anymore, businesses swapping hands at a rate of knots and the same old barrage of slow news days where a shock jock has offended half the country or a TV host has a go at public breastfeeding. The popular music industry that moves slowly with the times but shoves it down your throat when it realises that something is ‘cool’ with the kids. Life is repetitive. Individuals who cannot pick up on sarcasm, cynicism or most notably, when an entity is cross promoting and leading you into a consumerist trap, seemingly double by the day. Sheep on the internet, the same old arguments in chat forums and for what? A little dignity and a chance to hold your head a little higher I suppose.
Life is fleeting, death resides in our temples much of our life and sometimes we just need to stop and love a little bit more. But it is hard. Work in the morning, the grass needs to be watered, the dog needs a pat, the kids need to be fed, the neighbours want to catch up, Lisa is texting you constantly, your assignment is due tomorrow, you owe Billy $100 but the landlord is riding your ass for rent and you desperately, desperately need some sexual stimulation. Does it ever stop? Or is it a consistent flow until you reach your death bed and wish that you’d seen the Great Barrier Reef and walked The Way of St James?
And then the depressing thought arises. The Great Barrier Reef is dying and what is to happen to the beautiful churches when no one goes to Sunday mass anymore? Trends come and go and unless something holds a particular long-standing significance, it is touchable and editable. As we charge toward development, it would be nice to stop and soak it all up. The little things that we loved. The children’s shows we adored, the teddy bears we hugged, the family pet we cherised and the weekly visit to the lolly shop for a couple of gum drops and a gobstopper. But life isn’t permanent and neither are the things we love. Our parents grow older and we grow a little wiser (I hope) and grasp onto everything that is up in heads until that is gone as well. New generations enter the fold, the same grumbles occur from our elders about how Generation Y, Z or double zero are lazy and self-satisfied and how things were better in their day. But now we have I-pads, I-pods and I-O-Us and it feels good to play your favourite songs and ignore those consistent grumblings. Watching your father’s lips move and his furrowed brow move up and down whilst Marvin Gaye plays right through your eardrums and you swear that he looks a little bit darker in the skin, hitting those notes as if they were his very own.
No, Marvin Gaye is dead but his music stays alive… but for how long? How many little kids choosing the manafactured records of Flo Rida and Pitbull over the fervently coated soul beats does it take until Marvin truly dies? Do these great artists always live or do they slowly erode just like the coral at the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef? Maybe I can keep them alive a little longer as long as they are in my thoughts. It’s like when I come across an old song and wonder what the artist is up to right now? Still performing, still living it up, still battling through the piles of papers in his studio as he attempts to develop the next great soul album or is he surrounding himself with a crack pipe and some empty dreams? I’ll try to think of him a little more to keep him alive even if only in my heart. Is that all that keeps us alive, being in people’s thoughts and dreams? If they can’t see you, or touch you, or be near you, do you really exist in their lives and vice versa? Of course, with Facebook, Skype and a cheeky text, more people are contactable with the touch of a button to the point that it feels like they are only two or three streets away. More importantly, is anyone thinking about me right now? It’d only be a temporary thing though.
It is like those nights that you never want to end and then you find out that the business is changing hands or a few of your friends are heading away for a few months and you just don’t have the money to follow them. Things change, people move on, lovers love and leave you and CDs become digital files and chinos become uncool. Sometimes I just want to pause time and make everything perfect. But does perfect exist? And for how long? That memory of the lolly shop as you walked into the front door for the first time with your equal best friends Joe and Ed are much better than the reality of three 22 year olds walking in for a couple of chocolate bars and some weird looks from the parents of the kids you just smiled at in a most innocuous way.
As I get older, class and respect becomes paramount to my existence because you realise that not everything is worth the time of day and some people are intolerable of difference and change. You want to convince them that there is something beautiful on every corner and someone willing to help them and talk to them and convince them that being homosexual is not wrong or unnatural and that colour is just a bit of skin pigmentation that went a different way to their own. And I don’t want to waste time in fear that I become a temporary worry or a passing comment. But isn’t that the fate of all of us until we really think and remember what their legacy was and how much we really did love them?
We all leave a mark with our actions, we can all be a part of a changing society or one that stagnates and stays the same and either way is fine with me as long as I can play my Motown tunes and imagine how nice it would have been to be in a jazz bar with the Funk Brothers playing along with the Four Tops, or Marvin or even Ben Harper for a modern flavour.
So football grounds change their names and businesses swap hands and things erode and more people come into the system. What can I do as an individual to halt that? Who am I to judge? I’m just a young man who wants to leave a legacy. Something that I am proud of. But who is to say that I won’t make compromises and become a temporary realist? I want to say that I hold some permanent non-negotiables but I always state that I will never say never. And that is kind of bittersweet and a little frightening. But I’m sure the feeling is only temporary.