Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Tomorrow's yesterday

Get a pot of coffee. From an uninspired evening came a single idea that evolved into a reasonable saga.
Also, it's still Tuesday somewhere, right?

I like notalgia. It's a strong thing. You see something on TV, you hear something, a sound, an overheard conversation, whatever. Something gets implanted in your head which sparks a powerful memory, usually something from your childhood, and before you know it you're wallowing in the murky waters of the past.
I tend to find that cartoons do it. It's amazing, but ever since college I haven't been able to find a better conversation starter, one that works with more kinds of people and that people can instantly relate to than 80s cartoons. Dungeons and dragons, Raggy dolls, Ulysses 31, Transformers, Thundercats... people particularly susceptible to the siren call of nostalgia will either start relating fond memories or singing the theme tune, those more resistant will still normally crack a smile or respond with an "Oh!".
I love it. I love how we're all united under the same banner, this meaningless pop culture cloud that links us all. It's a little sad that the majority of people identify so well with cartoons as opposed to, say, a really good book, but I think it's important that we all have something in common like that. It makes the world a little friendlier for a while.
However, there's a recent trend coming up. Well, I say coming, it's been here for the better part of the decade, I suppose. People are trying to rerelease all the best of the oldies, what with movies based on comic books, movies based on old cartoons (I'm looking at you, Tranformers and Alvin and the chipmunks) and such. Now this is alright, I can deal with that, but I can't get two things out of my head:

1. It feels like people are trying to sell us our memories, but with high definition and CG.
2. We don't have anything to pass to our children.

We had great stuff in our day. Decent music (arguably. I'm an 80s fan, though), good TV, some interesting books. It's a time of life that I'm downright proud to have come from and I'm not one for being patriotic toward any one place or concept. However, you get all these remakes released as new movies, what are the kids of the next generation going to think? Or kids raised in the 2050s? Say Transformers to a kid in the middle of this century (if we haven't blown ourselves up yet) and you'll either get a blank look or something along the lines of "I remember that movie. Didn't it have a Mountain Dew machine that turned into a robot?".
And then, despite our frail 70 year old bodies, we will have to beat them to death. While singing the Transformers theme.

I don't know what we will really leave behind. I'm not too fond of the things we've offered the world of entertainment this past 10 years. Movie sequels, teen comedies, at least 4 Scary Movies, endless club anthems (not including remixes of said club anthems and "Ft." singles), video game sequels, video game movie tie ins, video games about movie spin offs of games...
I wonder, with a world population of perhaps 6.7 billion (thanks wikipedia!) how long it'll take for all the original ideas in this world to end. As technology develops, we'll find new ways to use it, it's just that the arts, things like books and movies, I don't know if there isn't a finite amount of that. You can only tell so may stories. Music's tricky, you can listen to one song a few different ways and there's an infinite combination of notes out there (I'm not saying that they're all something you'd want to listen to, mind), but I worry that the movies of the next century will be remakes of old flicks, but changed to suit our new environment. Books can perhaps handle themselves. I've seen authors attempt the same story, but give it a completely different spin.
Or maybe the movie industry will end. There must be more material out there now than one person can reasonably view in a lifetime. Maybe the future will be an endless stream of reruns. Maybe cinema tickets will stop costing a fiver.

Ha, that's a thought. Anyone ever published a book that was a number of authors telling the same short story but in a number of different styles and ways? I'm trying to think of how Little Red Riding Hood would read if written by Quentin Tarantino, Douglas Adams and Wilbur Smith.
Tell me that's not a good idea.

So yeah, in conclusion folks, in times of great social awkwardness, when nobody in the room can think of anything to say, when one of those awkward silences comes up, you need remember only one thing.

When little Eric eats a banana an amazing transformation occurs. Eric becomes Bananaman!
Da da-DAAAA! Da-DA da da da da da-DAAAA!
Oh mercy...

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