On a friend’s junk somewhere in the South China Sea, Margaritaville was playing and Jimmy Buffet was singing the line: “stepped on a pop-top.” Some of the younger guys on the boat were wondering, how could anyone step on a pop-tart? Did a frosted raspberry tart fly out of the toaster?
Those kids happened to be drinking TsingTaos and the very strange coincidence was that the cans must have come from an old bottling line since they actually had pop-tops. When was the last time you wedged your finger under the aluminum ring to pry off one of those tabs – and hopefully you didn’t toss it on the ground but “put litter in its place” or did you try to crochet with them?
Well, no sooner did I explain what pop-tops were, and how we had to watch for them when walking barefoot on the beach, when a young woman limped up to us in pain with one embedded in her heel. Pop–tops may not be around much anymore but some things don’t change.
A week later, Blondie performed at a fund raising gala, but before she could sing “Call Me,” she had to explained to the young people: “what a phone booth was.” When was the last time you saw a phone booth? This started to become a theme – it was quaint to see Sting in Macau singing “if the Russians love their children too,” long after the cold war ended and now that we’re all practically family – conversely, Rod Steward and Harry Connick Jr., singing about love seem timeless and how could the Black Eyes Peas Elephunk ever be dated. Walt Disney said “Fantasy, if it’s really convincing can’t become dated for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of time.”
Furthering an idea from an earlier post: “Some songs hold up because they remind us of yesterday, but most of these songs hold up because they still remind us of today. When we create we make references to our surroundings. The moment we mention any form of technology or current event, our work gets a large purple date stamp – does anyone besides election or immigration officials in developing nations still use rubber stamps and ink pads?
When you create, is it your intention to make a historical record? Does adding contemporary references either make obsolete or immortalize what you make? Do you sense fleeting moments and want to capture them? And are we even conscious of the choices we make of what we include in our songs, paintings, stories or what we decide to add to our photo albums? Or what is your favorite song with lyrics that are out of date??