Losing My Edge

A colleague of mine told me about a song/video from LCD Soundsystem called Losing My Edge. It's about relevance and I'm always interested in stories about having or losing it. Since we all lose it.

And we all want it. We don't know it when we have it. And when we are dead, we won't ever know if we retained any.

I watched it, listened to the lyrics. Thought..yeah, sounds about right.

Youth, they say is wasted on the young, and it is. Youth contains vigor and vitality and looks. Tight asses, slender bodies and so much energy to "make" culture happen. Middle age, means faking that vitality, smiling hard, trying not to be fake hip, and to keep up with what's what, running on adrenaline only to crash hard afterwards.

It also means strategic sartorial style. It's so unfair what triceps do on women.

Old age, means being appreciative of whatever you can actually do, realizing that trends come and go, and that good food, good love and good health are whats important, all while realizing the young mock you, even when they don't mean to. The young mock everyone, they can't help it. I'm sure I did.

But here's how it will go for the young, and the song listed above is a cautionary tale. Just as it's gone for everyone before them, before me, no one cares. It's literally water under the bridge to everyone else. No one cares if I saw REM in Legion Field for free, or sneaked into the 40 Watt to see the Replacements. No one cares if I saw the Wall before it fell, or posed nude for theater posters, or saw the sun rise over the Cascades after Kurt Cobain died, or published poetry, or any of it. Those personal legends only belong to the few involved. Besides, a mazillion other people did the same things. None of that is notable enough.

And if you are that notable, expending the energy to either create amazing amazing things, or selling yourself enough to actually get famous, or both (which is very very hard to do), then in a strange way, the pressure is even harder and more oppressive to stay notable, to keep your edge, your "thing" so that you will be remembered. For something. Which creates a cycle of needing to stay relevant. No good, since we know that we never can. Like....Shakespeare did. Mozart. Hard to do though.

I know a lot of amazing people doing amazing things. Running theaters with no pay check for themselves, building websites for non-profits that protect LGBT youth, painting their asses off, making movies on the fly, or with a great deal of forethought. Are they relevant? In Austin? Maybe. To the world? Possibly not. To individuals who know them, definitely. Why do they do it? To be famous? To make art? To protect the human rights of others?

More and more I am believing that fame and relevance should NEVER be the reason you do anything. It might be a nice result, but the drive to create art, or save lives, or make change....that's the drive. Listen to that and fuck the rest. Starfish and all that. Use what you have for good, and if you get more, use that too. But don't make the chasing of that edge, the goal.

I'm going to mangle in paraphrase, the wise words of Sheryl Crow, "It's not getting the edge you've want, It's wanting the edge you've got."