Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sic s'White Boomers

Until I went back to Perth this month, I thought of myself as Generation X. I was of the generation that rejected, in some fashion, the ideals and fashions of the sixties and early seventies. Sure Johnny Rotten and Jello Biafra make improbable Baby Boomers but, despite their unassailable credentials for rebellion against that hippie ethos, they are older than me!

 If I'm to be a Baby Boomer, I want not to have just seen the bands I have, but the Beatles at the Cavern Club, the Rolling Stones while they were young-ish, the Doors for freak's sake.

It's no good saying "Oh, you're a baby boomer" and not having anything reasonable to back it up. Why were the soldiers still straggling back to sow their seed in the early sixties? The war ended in 1945. Even allowing for clean-up operations, would the randy and relieved servicemen not have returned with lust in their loins ere now?

Where were you in '62? I was in the womb for most of it. I don't recall anyone then saying "Son, not only are you a baby, you're a baby BOOMER"
Nor was there an occasion in the schoolyard that anything particularly boomer-ish happened. My stepmother is a boomer, not me.

An Australian cultural portal posits the Baby Boomers as ending in 1961 (phew!) It also states "Between 1962 and 1972, Australia's adult population leapt by almost three million as the baby boomers reached voting age."
I was well and truly a child through that period. I didn't reach voting age until the end of 1980. Eight years when you're still growing up is quite a significant length of time. That's your entire primary school years or, high school and the first couple of years as an undergraduate.
Did you think you were completely on the same wavelength as the 'big kids'? I didn't really.
Add on some more years and the comparisons stretch further still.

I began to embrace the Whitlam ethic but not before parroting my parents Liberal voting in the wrong place and being scoffed at. I certainly hadn't worked through all the theory that followed my reading so you get a raw response, but I was still just finding my way. Which is not quite where you want the voting citizenry, even those casting their ballot paper for the first time.

The Vietnam War killed one of my second cousins but I was too young for it to be a threat to my future. We'd virtually banished war when I was coming of age, and the Cold War and nuclear power were our bogies. Sure the Communist element was an ongoing theme but one could say the same about today, with our uneasy relationship with China and North Korea.

I do like 60's garage bands, and Captain Beefheart albums. No matter how much different incarnations of
Starship suckitude ensues, I'll always like classic Jefferson Airplane. But I had to delve back to discover that. It might be through a cover of White Rabbit or any one of a number of stimuli. Who knows what turns you on to things when you reach a certain age. The point is I wasn't around to witness it. The retro bands we would go and see in inner city Sydney pubs were just that, retro. We never thought of ourselves as continuing on in an unbroken line from late 60s/early 70s. Au contraire. New Wave was marketed as breaking from the stentorian rock acts. Punk just spat. Neither would have had much more than a grudging respect for Al Jarry  or even the Yippies because of the era and the associations. It's pretty hard to have a 'generation' that is at contrast over a, what was that term, generation gap
That seems contradictory and not just in the sense that one subset fails to get along with another or not see they are usurping them in some way.

If Generation X won't have us, despite Billy Idol naming his band after them (make that before them), then I'm afraid we'll just have to occupy a very narrow demographic between the two.


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