I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the 1970′s lately, not in a nostalgic way, but in more of a sociological way. I had a fleeting thought a few weeks ago—The Seventies were before everything changed—and that thought has stuck with me ever since. Funny how such a simple statement led me in so many directions, but the main one I keep coming back to is that the 1980′s, led by the invention of the personal computer, mark the point at which our society started to become more the way it exists today. The pace of everything is more frenetic, divisions between people seem to be greater, society seems more fragmented, wealth has become more concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people, and whole industries that existed for centuries have dwindled and become extinct in the new electronic economy. Hindsight being as keen as it is, the Seventies almost feel like the Fifties by comparison.
I’m not a sociologist (I just play one on TV), but I find this idea completely intriguing, and I’m not sure what to do with it just yet. The Seventies were before everything changed. It could be the basis for a story, or an entire book, or an incredibly witty and insightful series of blog entries. It could just as easily turn out to merely be a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It will definitely require some research, of what kind I am unaware, but I do feel like it could lead to something interesting, regardless.
I can easily imagine that thought leading to a story set back then. I’ll have to dig up some of the highlights of the decade, since I was alive during the Seventies, but was too young to really know much about what was going on in the world. I certainly remember some of the bigger events, like the Voyager space missions, the launches of which we watched during my classes in school. I certainly remember the gas shortage, during which the price of a gallon hovered at ninety-nine cents for the longest time, until economic circumstances inevitably pushed it over the one-dollar threshold and beyond. I remember the Iranians (but I don’t remember which specific group of Iranians) holding American journalists hostage, which (among other things) prompted the football players in the Super Bowl to stick a strip of yellow tape on the back of their helmets, in order to show their support for the hostages. I remember the Three Mile Island nuclear crisis, in which a meltdown of the reactor was narrowly avoided. I also remember plenty of the television shows and theme songs of the time. My friends used to ask me to play the theme songs on the piano all the time, so I dutifully learned them and can still dredge them up at gigs occasionally. You have my permission to ask me about this if you see me play somewhere.
Speaking of that, I do have a show tonight, so I have to wrap this up and get ready for it, but I wanted to let you in on what I’ve been thinking about lately. It could be nothing, or it could be a Big Idea.
To be continued.
Have a nice day!