At Ms. Stim’s insistence we sat down to watch the Grammys. We nearly made it to the end of Katy Perry’s … number. That was, what?, three performances and two awards into the show. Ms. Stim pressed Record for a future fast forward to Sir Paul and Ringo. We occupied ourselves otherwise until it was time for “Sherlock.” You know, something with actual entertainment value.
At the risk of sounding a lot older than I am (dang kids and that noise they call music) —
By the time Ms. Stim and I turned off the Grammys, my stomach ate itself. The performances were terrible (looking straight at you, Beyonce/Jay-Z — choreographed seduction — it’s all been done before and performed a whole lot better; and Jay-Z, a rap is meaningless if the words come through a verbal slurry). The songs were pablum (again B/J and whoever you were and you, too, Katy). LL Cool J … jeezus, fucking LL Cool J. Yet the crowd applauds. Another Celebration of Mediocrity.
Every era, every artistic medium, is filled to capacity with mediocre, forgettable talents. Some disappear quickly. Others succeed wildly with the crowd, filling their coffers. Nonetheless, they are the Salieris (look him up or watch Amadeus) of their time. Able up to a point, but soon to be replaced by whoever comes next. Forgotten in their own time. Search your memory for the artists — writers, painters, actors, musicians — you’ve heard of from the early 20th Century; the 19th Century; the 18th and before. Those artists whose work history has judged to be worth remembering, to be timeless.
The cameras kept returning to a shot of Paul and Ringo. Today a variety of musical acts will be recorded for a TV special to be shown on February 9th, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’s performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. In 50 years, will anyone care about Beyonce/Jay-Z? Katy? Madonna (who gives a shit about Madonna now)? LL Cool J (jeezus, fucking LL Cool J)? Paul and Ringo on the other hand — the only two people in the sea of performers last night who can say with certainty that their music will outlive them.