Greatest discovery so far…
As people we always seem to think that we’ve got everything figured out, that where we are now is about as far as we can get, knowledge-wise. That’s how I felt throughout the 80s, I thought the world had peaked – you had those Donkey Kong flip games that were great for making friends, you could walk down the street listening to your Michael Jackson tapes on your Walkman, and there was this thing called Air Hockey that was basically shit but seemed so impossibly futuristic you could imagine playing it in a silver jumpsuit on the moon for your 100th birthday.
Then I turned 10, I found out about Sodastreams and Transformers and Marvel Comics and I had an almighty reality check. There was more stuff. I moved steadily towards 11, and by the time the 1980s finished I was 14, surrounded by new things, and as confused as a seal in a field of penguins. Air Hockey hadn’t caught on, tapes were a joke, and my Donkey Kong flip game would only make me friends with jumbo poor people in Third World countries. It was at that point that I really computed the valuable life lesson that was staring me in the face – nothing stays the same. There is always something better. We are constantly evolving and devolving, always in a state of flux like a big river of things and stuff, and stuff and things. You can’t really take anything for granted.
I spent the subsequent years perpetually believing momentarily that civilisation had peaked only to be dashed just months, sometimes weeks, later. Sta-Prest denim gave way to Twisted denim which gave way to skinny jeans, GameBoys couldn’t hold a candle to Super Nintendos or then Playstation Twos or then XBoxes, everyone spent ten seconds thinking Minidiscs were the second coming of Christ before iPods turned up with a big distracting dick dangling from their trousers. For a while I owned a pager and I thought I’d made it. Then pay-as-you-go mobile phones tapped on the window, then the world span, now kids watch movies on the back of their dad’s headrest during boring car journeys. I used to spend mine loudly explaining the boundaries of my seating plan to my brother and sister for five hours.
So where is all of this going and what am I banging on about? Good question. What I’m trying to convey is that this constant forward motion that we appear to be stuck in means that there are always new lessons to be learned and new discoveries to be made. It doesn’t matter how old and wizened you become, you can still uncover great things if you choose to keep your eyes open and if you are willing to excavate interesting territory. What I’m really trying to tell you is that if you ask for “Lettuce, Pickles, Onions and Relish” on your cheeseburger at Five Guys near Oxford Circus, it becomes the greatest Big Mac you will ever eat. I discovered this the other day, and then I ate it in slow motion in front of a wind machine while everyone around me got erections and their pupils dilated.
So there’s your first valuable lesson of 2016. Expect more over the course of the year, but with less rambling scene-setting intros, and please feel free to get in touch with your own.