Praising a Fellow Ginger-bearded Man

This morning I am procrastinating by putting together my Best Of mixtape. Or at least starting the process, since we all know it takes a vast amount of time before one makes the heavy decision to burn the final copy.

What I am struck by is how, even though I sort of consciously try to be open to radio friendly pop music and hipster music that websites you haven’t heard of haven’t even heard of, as I age my music taste becomes more and more pedestrian.

Here I am, at the age of 32, confronted with my profound uncoolness.

Cue Marge Simpson.

Homer: So I realized that being with my family is more important than being cool.
Bart: Dad, what you just said was powerfully uncool.
Homer: You know what the song says: “It’s hip to be square.”
Lisa: That song is so lame.
Homer: So lame that it’s… cool?
Bart and Lisa: No.
Marge: Am I cool, kids?
Bart and Lisa: No.
Marge: Good. I’m glad. And that’s what makes me cool—not caring, right?
Bart and Lisa: No.
Marge: Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.
Homer: Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.
Bart: Well, sure you do.
Lisa: How else would you know?

One of the clear symptoms of middle-agedness is that my favourite albums of the year is Billy Bragg’s Tooth and Nail. As I compile my list, pretty much every song on the record could slip in to the mixtape.

The album begins with a song about grief that alludes to the deep spirituality that runs through all of earlier Bragg’s anthems for the righteous revolution. It stills me every time I hear it.

Your Correspondent, This is how the end begins