Retromania by Simon Reynolds

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alongwaltz
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Retromania by Simon Reynolds

Post by alongwaltz » Sat Nov 16, 2013 15:15

I've only read the introduction so far and I already love it.

The basic gist is that it's about how contemporary culture has become so nostalgia-obsessed and backward-looking in favor of innovation. Music was always about "the new" and "the future" up until about 2000 when suddenly it became all about rehashing the very-recent past.

Basically one of my #1 frustrations with current music summed up in a whole book by someone more eloquent than me.

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linus
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Re: Retromania by Simon Reynolds

Post by linus » Wed Jan 15, 2014 14:36

I'm currently reading this, although reading about another 4 books at the same time so not exactly zipping through it

I've read a fair bit of reynolds and I always enjoy reading him because often he's spot on and sometimes he's not or I don't think he is but I like writers that challenge and make me look at stuff from different- often new- angles, that make me think again, etc

I think the reason I'd not had much enthusiasm for reading this initially though is what you describe as the 'basic gist' of the book, and I'm pleased to say that a few chapters in, it's not the gist of it all, it's more interesting, more complex than that and this 'retromania' isn't solely music's problem and may well be the fault of that super futuristic brand new thing we all thought was going to free our minds and lead us to a new cyber utopia... da' compooter!... which increasingly feels more like a tool that controls us rather than the other way-a-wee and turns us all into good little pliant malleable consumer drones... tubes of barely sentient fat for processing... is one fevered way of looking at it

ahem, but, yeh, there's some good stuff here and to prove it I'm going to type out verbatim two paragraphs that I just read that sum up a certain something for me and maybe other folks too, chiefly it's about boredom (not mine, I'm considering this a good exercise in keeping my typing skills up):
From 'Retromania' by Simon Reynolds wrote:A while ago I felt a strange pang of nostalgia for boredom, the kind of absolute emptiness so familiar when I when I was a teenager, or a college student, or a dole-claiming idler in my early twenties. Those great gaping gulfs in time with absolutely nothing to fill them would induce a sensation of tedium so intense it was almost spiritual. This was the pre-digital era (before CDs, before personal computers, long before the Internet) when in the UK there only three or four TV channels, mostly with nothing you'd want to watch; only a couple of just-about-tolerable radio stations; no video stores or DVDs to buy; no email, no blogs, no webzines, no social media. To alleviate boredom, you relied on books, magazines, records, all of which were limited by what you could afford. You might have also resorted to mischief, or drugs, or creativity. It was a cultural economy of dearth and delay. As a music fan, you waited for things to come out or be aired: an album, the new issues of the weekly music papers, John Peel's radio show at ten o'clock, Top of the Pops on Thursday. There were long anticipation-stoking gaps, and then there were Events, and if you happened to miss the programme, the Peel show or the gig, it was gone.

Boredom is different nowadays. It's about super-saturation, distraction, restlessness. I am often bored but it's for lack of options; a thousand TV channels, the bounty of Netflix, countless net radio stations, innumerable unlistened-to albums, unwatched DVDs and unread books, the maze-like anarchive of YouTube. Today's boredom is not hungry, a response to deprivation; it is a loss of cultural appetite, in response to the surfeit of claims on your attention and time.
drtl

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bulgariandisco
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Re: Retromania by Simon Reynolds

Post by bulgariandisco » Wed Jan 15, 2014 15:52

I like that.

I realised yesterday (not really for the first time, but the depth of it) that I am addicted to my smartphone/the Internet and that it is stymieing any creativity I might have once had. I only really consume, I don't create, and most things i consume are inconsequential (I've a massive backlog of books to read too).

I went home after work and resolved not to look at the Internet again before sleeping. I going it very difficult indeed; in quiet moments my hand automatically reached for my phone. Depressing.

I might download an app that locks me out for set periods of time. It's strange because I'm not too bad with willpower when it comes to food, alcohol etc, but checking nonsense on the Internet is a different matter.

Anyway. As you were.

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northernlight
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Re: Retromania by Simon Reynolds

Post by northernlight » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:39

The excerpt from the book is brilliant - especially the last sentence. No wonder you were inspired to type it all!

After reading that, I would certainly like to read the book.

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Re: Retromania by Simon Reynolds

Post by Silver Girl » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:13

I've been reading this on and off for a few months now, but I've cleared the book decks and committed to it. It is amazing.
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