This is the end, beautiful friends. The last entry in our Love in the Time of Covid playlist. Z for Zachariah, and also for pretty much the only band most of us have in our playlist that begins with Z.
So here’s the final question, at the heart of all this -end-of-culture ranting I’ve been doing in my recent posts: If you are only ever one mortgage payment, one food shop, or one car payment away from disaster, how much security do you really have? How well has the pre-Covid ‘normal’ really been for you? To speak in fluent memeslash: how are those franking credits working for you now, Karen?
We are a species that has fooled itself into thinking we have outgrown the need to adapt: that it is the role of the planet to adapt to us, when we have only ever been a small, breeding-crazy, too-smart-for-its-own-good part of a living organism that needs all of its components to maintain a constant evolution in order for the whole to thrive.
If there’s anything we can take from our experiences during this pandemic, it is that we need to fashion an environment that works for us as a part of something greater than our small, human concerns. We can’t continue to try to squeeze ourselves into ever smaller cubicles to please the money-hoovering blue suits that have brought us to the edge of environmental, cultural, and societal collapse. Just why are we following these fucks, when we know, to the deepest core of our marrow, that they’re selfish shits with no eyes other than for themselves? Does anybody really believe that the Orange Humgruffin, or Boris the Bastard, or Scum the Crime Minister — Murdoch, Reinhart, Putin, Bezos, Zuckerbot, Branson the Pickle, you name your billionaire of choice — has your best interests at heart? Do you?
The pandemic has shown us, if we didn’t already know: The world is too big for us to conquer one by one. But I can evolve, and adapt. You can. That guy there can. If we can do mit as individuals, as family groups, as small communities brought togethers by shared concerns, then we can have a positive effect. And yes, the world is full of idiots. And yes, we’re seeing that in full flow right now. But idiots can be taught. And if they can’t, maybe their children can.
Power does not have to lie with those whose only contribution is money, and entitlement, and the desire to legislate your culture into directions you don’t want it to go. Money does not have to equal right. Destruction does not have to equal progress. Cultural, religious, and ideological zealotry do not have to detract from synthesis and togetherness.
We’ve been adapting to the wrong things. That much has become clear. So isn’t it about time, now that we have had to fall back on our own resources at the community and interpersonal levels, that we did so, once again?
Enough of that sermon. Let’s talk music.
There was a time before ZZ Top were cutesy, family-friendly, mainstream radio darlings. Before the fluffy guitars and matching wacky suits. Before the way-too-80s-for-words videos and appearances on your Mum’s favourite extruded-sitcom-product. A time when they were the grungiest of grungy Southern blues bands. When sixteen words and a six minute guitar solo was considered a song. When you could dig their music out from under your fingernails, they had so much grit in them.
50 million album sales proves that evolution is a good thing and that, if a band can redefine itself and engage with a new way of thinking in order to adapt to the changing requirements of a world that would all too easily leave it behind, then we can, too.
So here’s a visual representation of all that I’ve blethered on about, above: ZZ Top, live. In full-on post-80s mode of dress, and persona, and image. Grunging the living fuck out of two of their greatest pre-adaptation classics. Proving that evolution doesn’t mean abandoning the past, simply redefining it to fit into the tomorrow you want to create.
If you’re late to the party, well, what can I say? You’ve had 26 days. Here’s everything else:
- A is for the Angels
- B is for the Butthole Surfers
- C is for The Cat Empire
- D is for Dead Kennedys
- E is for Everclear
- F is for Faith No More
- G is for GANGgajang
- H is for Hilltop Hoods
- I is for Ian Dury
- J is for James
- K is for Kinky Friedman
- L is for Lisa Mitchell
- M is for Madness
- N is for Nina Simone
- O is for Orbital
- P is for Painters and Dockers.
- Q is for Queen
- R is for The Reverend Horton Heat
- S is for Squirrel Nut Zippers
- T is for Thomas Dolby
- U is for Ugly Kid Joe
- V is for Violent Femmes
- W is for Warren Zevon
- X is for X
- Y is for Yothu Yindi