I have a friend who really enjoys film and music. He’s quite a bit older than me, in his mid-60s and the movies and music he enjoys the most are from an era before my own. Classical music and the golden age of film from the 30s and 40s. There’s been a few times that he’s had the good fortune of seeing a film that he might have originally seen 50 years ago, or hearing a piece of music that he hasn’t heard for over 40 years.
When he explains it to me, the joy of hearing music that he only heard as a child or seeing a film that he only read about when he was younger, his eyes light up with an animated joy, but in the same vein, I know it’s a joy that I won’t likely ever feel. Part of it is definitely lacking that passion for the form: I enjoy film and music, but not in a fanatical sense. But equally because in my memory, I’m not sure that there’s much in the film or music world that holds up to the test of time at least not to this degree.
Granted, it’s entirely possible that maybe I won’t see a movie like the Green Mile or Forrest Gump (to pick two out of the ether) for years or maybe even decades to come, but the distribution is so much different, with DVDs and downloads and reruns on television, all things that often didn’t exist when my friend was younger. The same goes for music, where back in the day, you had to be content with hearing a particular tune on the radio or perhaps buying a record and now I can stream most music from online sources, or purchase the digital file.
In a way, I’m jealous of my friend, when he tells me with enthusiasm that he’s going to stay up late and watch Turner Classic Movies at 3am when a film that he hasn’t seen in 37 years is playing. I feel that he enjoys the experience more because of the rarity of it. That, because of the time passed and the limitations (he doesn’t own a computer and has no pretenses to start), he gets to appreciate the film more, in ways I could never imagine. The same goes for ordering CDs from catalogues or over the phone to hear a single track once again after decades and to have that experience live up to or even surpass the expectations of memory and nostalgia.
To have the appreciation, that dedication, that love of art…it’s truly remarkable.