It was the Roman poet Horace who said that time flies, but he didn’t mention anything about it telescoping. I find the only way I now can keep track of world events is to assume that everything prior to this year happened roughly five years ago. Bucks Fizz at Eurovision, John Major as Prime Minister, the London Olympics: to me, these all took place in one long, fuzzy year.
It’s probably because the global soundtrack never really changes. Top of this week’s album charts is Rod Stewart, as he was in 1979 (just five years ago). He beat Agnetha - the blonde one from Abba - to the number one spot. And this comes after Iggy and the Stooges and David Bowie also released records this year, and at the same time as there’s a Star Trek film showing at the pictures: you can see why my brain has stopped trying to stay on top of things.
Rod Stewart (who, sidebar, I walked past at the BBC last week. He looks exactly like a friendly parrot) hasn’t produced an album of new material for twenty years, preferring to focus on Christmas classics and the American songbook. Only when he sat down to write his autobiography did he shift his writer’s block. His two-year-old son, he cheerily told a BBC interviewer, has always assumed Rod was a plumber. This raises the happy spectre of a life behind closed doors in the Stewart house, where Rod is mainly to be found not singing in the shower, but fixing it with a wrench.
Decades of singing other people’s hits did nothing to shift his writer’s block. Behaving like a rock star kept him earning, but not writing. But once he started remembering when he was a songwriter, and describing it in detail, he became one again. He realised he had plenty to say, and suddenly, he could say it. And how: he’s a man now unafraid to rhyme ‘our children’s future’ with ‘whatever suits ya’.
There’s something immensely reassuring about finding creativity again after such a long (five year) lull, especially in an industry which prizes youth above all things. Rod Stewart is back on top after a little introspection, but he has had writer’s block for longer than Justin Bieber has been alive, let alone recording. It’s hard to say whose output I’ve truly preferred during that time but, like Rod, I’m giving it some thought.
This Sunday sees the arrival of something I never thought would happen, and that is a new series of Arrested Development. If you haven’t yet watched the unseemly antics of the dysfunctional Bluth family, then get yourself a boxset and a frozen banana, and you can thank me later.
The show has had a topsy-turvy existence. It was cancelled in 2006, then went on to become more successful while off the air than it had ever been: its DVDs shifted in serious numbers, and now a new series will be showing on Netflix (the film-streaming service that remade House of Cards with Kevin Spacey earlier this year). Cancellation just isn’t what it used to be.