Music for the Jaded Generation……
On the incredibly sad news of utterly brilliant The Prodigy front man, Keith Flint’s, death, on Monday 4th March 2019, I trawled through the internet for more news about him, I wanted to see if other people’s reactions were the same as mine. One of sadness and need to connect with all that he represented to me as a Generation X’er.
I came across this article in the Guardian reviewing their most recent Album, No Tourists 2018.
The title of the article was “The Prodigy: No Tourists review – music for the jaded generation”
Of course this was a play on Prodigy’s double platinum album from 1994 Music for the Jilted Generation
My reaction? Fuuuuuuuuuuck Offff!!! We are not the jaded generation…... Or are we?!
Features of Generation X
Born between 1965 – 1981 Gen X’er’s were given various labels. Latch Key Kids. Alienated Youth. Bleak, cynical, disaffected.
The Latch Key Kid label came about as the Gen X were the generation most affected by divorced parents.
This generation was the first to have both parents working and therefore exposed to growing up without constant adult presence. The result was much higher peer orientation.
The economic landscape of the UK in the1990s began with a severe recession, and higher unemployment. We’d grown up as Thatcher’s Children, “ Maggie Thatcher the milk snatcher” her long rein from 1979, finally came to an end with her catastrophic introduction of the Poll Tax, which ignited a backlash so large that the Poll Tax riots were the biggest ever experienced in London, and led to her resignation that year. A time of social flux and transformation for this independent, resourceful, self managing generation, oh so sceptical of authority, ranging from government, organised religion, marketing and advertising. Ripe territory for a new movement; Rave.
My Experience of being a Gen X-er What Keith Flint, The Prodigy and Rave meant to me was immense excitement, that music! So new and endlessly liberating! The bassline pumping through you, the complete abandon when pulsating as one with it, the tribal connection, my first real experience of “belonging” and the feeling that I was invincible. The feeling that I was part of a movement. A movement that I was fully integrated in, I took an active part in it, and it was meant for me. The inclusiveness of it, the joy of talking to a complete mix of people, from all sorts of backgrounds, jobs, race, sexuality, sharing the absolute joy of the music, the experience. And a new found expression of identity. As well as the music, the fashion and experimentation in new peacock feathers! Ranging from downright grunge, a love of trainers that lasts to this very day, to breathtakingly glamour in my clubbing dresses and unconsciousness of my body. And the complete, unquestioning belief that we were ALL Anti-establishment. We would not conform with their bullshit, we would question it ,challenge it, and make up our own rules.
Death of my Generation…. Of course, as we age, we will lose great artists and icons. I had yet to experience inspiring, influential artists and icon’s dying from my generation, Generation X…. I am now.
Their Legacy…. Keith Flint The raw, insistent, demanding of your attention, and that it be played LOUDLY, fuck you, liberating, impossible not to move to, punk of Keith Flint’s sound, look and moves in truly brilliant The Prodigy, was a complete sound track of my heady 20’s. To have learned, through his tragic death, that he was a kind and gentle soul, the antithesis of his raging punk image, made me love him even more! A true icon of Generation X Magenta Divine Oh how I loved Magenta Divine, in all her fabulousness, telling me about inspiring and exciting far flung places all around the globe, in her brilliant tv show The Rough Guide, that I had a hunger to visit. I’ve never seen anyone strut so sexily, fully clothed, on a beach, with the MOST brilliant sunglasses, bright red lips and sexy posh drawl! In a 1996 interview with the Guardian, Devine was asked how she would like to be remembered, replying: “Brilliant, witty, clever, beautiful, generous, sexy, wise. Well, that’s what I’d like …” And Magenta, that’s how you’ll be remembered by me. You were a massive inspiration to me as a 16 – 18 year old, and that stays with me now in my mid 40’s.
Generation X… Our Legacy In Tiffanie Dark’s book: Now we are 40: Whatever happened to generation X? she positively explores how Generation X, as the crossover between analogue and digital, can be the bridge between the Baby Boomer and Millennial generation, how we can provide a healing role and drive the promotion of toleration.
Questions I’m asking myself, as a Gen X’er, about how I can play an active role in taking meaningful action in troubling times:
How can I reconnect with the energy and excitement I experienced in the 90’s. Is it ever possible to get that back when you’re in your forty’s and beyond?
What role can I play in inspiring Millennials and beyond? Do they even need to be inspired?
I love the movement that’s happening with the youth climate strikers Their energy, and absolute determination that they will make change happen. They are beyond anti-establishment, they will make change happen regardless of anything. They don’t need our leadership or input. They need our active support and we need to wake up to their rallying cry “ We will rise up”!
Are we Jaded? For sure, its tiring being a bleak, cynical, disaffected, 40 something Gen X’er. I have two small children, I’m perimenopausal and tired of an incompetent government blundering from one disaster to another. It may seem less evident; what is there to look forward to from 40 to 80? There was so much anticipation and excitement of what there was to look forward to when you were 20! Listening to the brilliant Martin Freeman’s, Desert Island Discs recently, he talked about his relationship with ageing, “I’m alright with it… you’re a bit horrified sometimes when you look in the mirror, you think, oh wow, this is what we’re doing now? we’ve come to this?! And other days you feel 17, because of the spirit you’ve got in you”……”but, let’s be honest, being 24 is pretty good, don’t you think?!” Yes Martin, I do think being 24 was pretty good! And maybe that’s the trouble I have with accepting the label of “jaded generation” Maybe it’s the struggle I’m having in accepting my own ageing. I don’t want to be a forty year old faded woman. I don’t want to shuffle off quietly into the corner, and I don’t want to die in a blaze of glory!
I’ve worked hard to get comfortable in my own skin, and I’m liberated in the confidence I have now, that I never had in my 20’s. I want to keep my vibrancy and boldness growing!
The changes that happen to your appearance in your 40’s and beyond, may not considered as glamorous, or as conventionally beautiful, as those changes that happened in your 20’s and 30’s….. and yet, on the theme of Ageing in my last newsletter, I created a Pinterest Board, Who will we become?
What an inspiration it is to find so many beautiful women owning their power and being unlimited by age.
I want to learn to embrace the changes happening, and the interesting changes they make, to how I look and feel. I won’t let life happen. I will make choices about how I actively participate with making meaningful change in the world.
Let’s not let Generation X die out as a bunch of jaded has been’s! Who will you become?
I work with people to help them get clear on their identity and direction, to make choices about bold action they will take to living a fulfilled life. Come and explore this with me, I offer a Free Coaching Taster
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