I was listening to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance this morning and noticed for the millionth time all the Hitchcock references My first thought today, as it was the first time I noticed, was that that was pretty cool.
My second thought was mostly “I wonder if half the people listening to Lady Gaga even know that she is referencing all these Hitchcock films” and then with hideous smugness “I bet they don’t get it, well I DO, I’m so cool blah etc.” and then even as I finished that thought I called myself a twat. Everyday we have encounters with songs, newspaper articles, people (famous or not) that teach us new things and potentially change our lives by taking us in awesome (or awful) new directions. Whatever our age, our position in life, we’re lying if we say we have nothing left to learn. Maybe it’s a new tactic to cajole a two year old into her pyjamas or maybe it’s the name of a new author to try. We’re influenced by people we admire, of course we are. If this means becoming a Depeche Mode fan because you fancy a boy who likes them or seeking out Hitchcock films because Gaga sings about then then that’s totally cool.
Life is give and take and so much of what we are given (or take?) comes from places and people we don’t always want to admit too. Yes, we can be painfully cool and say that we were born knowing how beautiful the letters of Henry Miller and Anais Nin are or we can say that, no, we had idea these things even existed until a few years ago when someone we thought was cool talked about them in a blogpost but, my god, they’re gorgeous and do you want to know about them too? There is no shame in admitting that we have never heard of someone or something as cool as fuck. And why should we be embarrassed to say that, yes, we only learned about Johnny Cash or James Joyce or Salman Rushdie or Public Enemy because Bono talked about them and we were a bit obsessed with Bono so looked them up. (Then we can pretend that we knew about them all along, obviously.)
I cannot bear hipster snobbery about films and books and music and yet, like most of us at some point, was just awful when I was younger. I read Q and hung around with older kids in Breeders t-shirts (that I had awful cringe worthy crushes on) who liked me because I listened to ‘cool’ music and didn’t creep around them, batting my eyelashes. Oh the IRONY Matt Freer, that I only started listening to Pearl Jam to impress you and yet you still snogged the girls who liked Take That… (But oddly, there was still a certain sense of having won in listening to music with these boys with shared headphones and endless bus journey conversations about Smashing Pumpkins B-Sides and Tori Amos concerts.)
In between all the crushes and the cringing though, I took away some great things. The fact that politics could be interesting, that art could be far more than a picture in a gallery, that intelligence was as sexy as a leather jacket, that love and hate could be the same thing and that I could try till the end of time, but I would never like The Smiths.
Somewhere along the line I stopped caring quite as much about where I picked up my cultural recommendations from, but I don’t think I ever grew out of saying I liked things to impress boys. (I believe now is the time to say to my darling husband that, I’m sorry, but I never liked Star Trek or The Verve. That said, I did also claim to like Sonic Youth an awful lot more than I did, so he played them endlessly in the car and – hey! It turns out I did love them as much as I said I did! I couldn’t quite believe how much he could love Sonic Youth, yet have never heard of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. So I gave him that. It’s all about give and take, you see!)
I believe the point I am staggering towards like a drunk 32 year old in seldom worn high heels is that new people are going to watch Hitchcock films because Lady Gaga mentioned them in a song. And maybe some of them will think “Pff. What a load of crap.” But maybe, just like me and Johnny Cash, some of them will discover a love for them that send them into awesome new directions.