Books are timeless. Music & Moves: maybe not so much...?
Books—unlike music or movies—never seem to be dated. My wife made a good point a few days ago when she said that books are truly timeless. Think about it. I grew up listening to a heavy dose of 70s prog rock bands (I still, to this day, will tell you that prog-rock is probably my favorite genre of music, followed closely behind industrial-rock). The soundtrack to my childhood, pre-teen, and high-school years was pretty much exlusively Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Genesis, The Who, Rush, Yes, Jethro Tull, Queen, and few others. It wasn’t until recently, and I’m talking within the last few years, that those albums that I loved so much sounded … old. The production, the mastering … the style. It just felt old. This was hard for me to swallow at first. I can’t remember a time in my life where Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” or Genesis’ “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” or The Who’s “Quadrophenia” or Electric Light Orchestra’s “Face The Music” weren’t as much a part of me as wearing pants was. But for the first time, I could see the stains and the fabric being thinner at the knees. These albums might be classic, but I’m not sure anymore that they are timeless.
Film. I watched the movies “Soylent Green” and “And Justice For All” for the very first time last month. I know, I’m late to the party. And for the first time, a movie from the 70s felt … old. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see it decades ago, or grew up with it. Some other films from that era like Star Wars, Rocky, Jaws, A Clockwork Orange, and The Godfather don’t feel that old. Maybe it’s because I grew up on a steady diet of these films, so it’s hard to see them as an adult. But I can’t imagine Solyent Green is the only film to look like that. I wonder how Papillon would look if I watched it for the first time now. Again, they might classic movies … but they don’t feel timeless anymore.
Books, on the other hand, don’t ever get old. Someone could pick up Stephen King’s “Carrie” and read it today for the very first time, and it won’t feel like it’s from the mid-70s. Someone who watches “Carrie” for the first time, will have a hard time getting past the hairdos and quality of the film stock. The book is timeless. It seems that writing a book might be one of the only ways to be immortalized, never aging a single day from its release.
New bands are constantly covering older songs … we live in an age when there is a reboot or remake on almost every movie that was made between 1975 – 1995. But yet, new movies are still being made based on books that were written over a hundred years ago. Timeless. It would be interesting to see someone 200 years from now listen to Yes’ “Fragile” album for the first time, then watch “Blade Runner” for the first time, and then read Ken Follet’s “Pillars of the Earth” for the first time, and have them try to date which era each came from. I can guarantee that the book will be furthest from the correct release era.