The Death of Passion





Whatever happened to passion? Passion of any kind, I mean, not only the romantic. We are living in a seriously beige kind of world these days. Neutral music, neutral fashion, neutral politics, neutral sexual politics, neutral religion, neutral literature, neutral movies. Life has become like the endless hell of a visit to IKEA. It's all far too well behaved and co-ordinated.

What has happened? Once upon a time, you could almost guarantee that the young were passionate about at least one of the above, if not all at once. We divided our lives between wild fashion, eccentric music, reading groudbreaking literature and watching mindblowing movies, whilst marching in the streets for what we believed. Our lives were a whirlwind of extremes and difference. We didn't want to look like anyone else, behave like anyone else, or watch what anyone else was watching……….

Look at fashion. To this day I would die rather than wear beige. (If it ever happens, just knife me, it would be a mercy killing). When I was a student, the average SU was a multicoloured rainbow of styles, from Goth to Rasta witheverything in between. The starnger the better, the more unusual was the usual. Hair was a well-known form of self-expression, mine went from black to red, to pink, to purple, to orange (but that was a bit of an accident). It was up, down, shaved, long, in dreads, spiky, in fact any way except that which nature intended. Normal was boring. In those days the last thing you would have wanted was a hair-straightener. A hair-weirdener maybe. None of this glossy flicky stuff. The aim was to have big brash hair with the consistency of candy floss. Now even hair is tame and well-behaved.

I give up with the clothes. Identikit tracksuits, trainers, jeans. In nice pastel colours. Or with labels on. Well hello Chav Central. Accssorised with tons of gold bling, an orange face and sticky pink lipgloss. Lovely. I would rather be run over by a bus than go out in a pair of hipsters with a fat bottom and flab hanging out over the top. Just avoid them if you are any wider than the average stick insect, they don't work. Was England suddenly blasted by a giant ray of Chavtonite? Did it suudenly suffer a giant infectious taste bug? Have Reebok and Nike suddenly begun subliminal advertising direct to our brains? I want to wear a puffy ballgown to work, wear pearls on a wet Wednesday afternoon, and look different to everyone else, not exactly the same. I buy it because I want to be individual, not an identikit clone from a middle-eastern factory outlet. The SU bar is now full of suits and ties, and well-pressed polo-shirts. If these people are boring aged 18, god knows what they'll be like in their 40s! They won't live longer, it will just seem that way. I prefer my men with make-up, interesting hair, and opinions. If I wanted to date chavs I'd just stand near the local football club.

Music was trying to move on, constantly exploring, reiventing itself, with fissions and fusions. Music was loud, brash, melodic, with people playing guitars and writing their own songs. Songs had messages, political, romantic, teenage, bittersweet. Bands were not interchangeable permatanned bimbos who have won dodgy TV 'talent' shows. Hell, anyone can croon 'Ooh love you Baby' over a repetitive drum beat, and prance around like a baboon. I want committment in my music, a message, the summing up of a campaign, a time, an era, an angst-ridden teenage affair. To be honest Jennifer Lopez doesn't interest me. Neither the bottom nor the 'music'.

Bring back those 3 chord one hit specials, the switchblade saccharine 3 minute wonders of my teenage years. I want to be able to launch myself around the dancefloor to those brief perfect moments of musical bliss. Its got to the point where I don't even want to dance these days. Not because I'm told old to dance, but simply because there's nothing left I want to dance to.

In fact we might as well say I've given up going out. Unless it's to dinner with likeminded friends, what's the point? Where am I going to go? I used to love going to the cinema, and boy was my taste eclectic. Through Jeunet and Caro to Russ Meyer, Alien and back again. Life was new and different, film was new and different. It reflected changing times, lives and attitudes, the way we thought about things and reacted to them. Now it's all 'Brother of the Bride 43', the sequel of the remake of the sequel of the film made in 1943. Nothing new, nothing innovative, nothing too scary or sexy, god forbid…..It's all throwback feelgood cinema. Anyone would think there was a war on….. I want challenging cinema, not marshmallow mushiness.

Literature and poetry seem as bad. I want my perceptions challenged, I don't want my reading to fit into neat little pigeonholes of 'chick lit', 'mystery', etc. I want to explore new lives, new thoughts, feeling, theories. We are now into the sequel menatality in fiction, with the annual Harry Potter, the annual Joanna Trollope. Literaure is a form of exploration, or should be, not a form of reiteration, and to be honest, intellectual, w***ing. It appears to be going nowhere. Endlessly regurgitated genres, with the intelligensia so anally retentive that they still firmly place things such as sci-fi or fantasy in the 'trash' bin. If literaure is going to move on in the way it did previously, that will be by merging and mutation, not by sitting in a purist hole of their own making.

To be honest, I want to go on a date with a man with interesting clothes, hair, and opinions. Maybe to watch a different and inventive movie, even if it is subtitled. Then on to a club, where we can dance to some wild, new music. We could discuss fascinating new books and films, fashion, art……….. But I think I'm living in dream world. We are in the grey era, where mediocrity and predictability are king. We are in the world of the mundane, the everyday, the normal. Where the cult of the ersatz so -called celebrity says it all. You can be famous for absolutely nothing.

I say – Passion is dead- Long live passion!

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