George Szirtes was thinking out loud about music:
Thinking about the fortieth anniversary of Sergeant Pepper, I started wondering about those occasions when I had only to hear a bar of music to know that something had radically changed.
…if anyone has the inclination, you could send me an email with a link (or if you can’t, just a title for me to find) to one track, bearing in mind that it is the first bar or so of that one track that is the moment of opening that new door or new landscape for you.
You’ll need to read the whole thing to get the full idea (and if you’re here, you probably already have) but in essence it was all about music changing rather than the other things.
It’s a good question, but – especially after suffering through that achingly long thirty-something paean to arrogance and megalomania, The Seven Ages of Rock on the BBC – I find it hard to believe anyone who really, truly, believes that a DJ saved their life. (And while I’m on the subject, Joe Strummer’s politics strike me as remarkable only for the degree to which he himself appears to have felt them remarkable – and the efforts he didn’t put in to prevent his fans turning him into a ludicrous secular saint during his lifetime).
Music might have changed, but nothing changed as a consequence. (And that was never George’s point in any case: it’s other people’s contention that punk/rap/r&b/barbershop quartets had that 1917 effect on the world).
No one claims that a change in football styles changed the world – at least, they don’t make that claim quite as frequently. If the music fans are right, the world suffers one of those lurching traumas at least every six months. And what was so wrong with disco anyway? Not high art, sure, but inoffensive enough otherwise, and really rather modest compared to what it was sandwiched between. Here’s some now:
Grouching about music aside, George’s question got me thinking about sporting moments when everything changed. I mean, when everything changed within the sport; I’m not maintaining that Bob Beamon ended world hunger or ended the Cold War or inspired women to break through the glass ceiling.
He did ruin his event rather, didn’t he? His Olympics happened in the year I was born, and I was an adult before everyone else caught up with him. But his reaction to his jump is still worth the time. It’s as though he’s just watched someone else do it:
Some of football’s moments – many of them – are hidden from my eyes and ears because I don’t understand Brazilian Portuguese. I can’t think of anything after 1914 that might be described as British in origin. Here is international football, largely going on without us, 60-70 years ago but already in its familiar form:
Unlike music, football has a habit of changing, then changing back. Here’s total football, back in 1971 (Ajax’s first European Cup win). 17 years later, Wimbledon won the FA Cup.
On a personal level, this was how so many of my summer afternoons would pan out in the ’70s and ’80s; cricket still looks a lot like this.
Here, for Clive Davis and other golf enthusiasts, is golf coming of age, the age in question being that of Palmer, Player, Nicklaus and Watson.