Carl Craig hit my home town of Dublin recently, the night before Paddy’s Day, as part of the tour celebrating 20 years of Planet E. A pal of mine was considering going – but, he asked, would he look out of place in the crowd at the venue, as he is a man in his mid-thirties? I told him that he would feel like he was from another era if he went (as the picture above shows). Also, the ability to muster up a posse to accompany him on his folly would be impossible – his cronies don’t do techno any more. Plus, I added, it would probably be rubbish (although, if Craig played just the back-catalogue of his label, it would be quite wonderful – but that would only happen in la-la land, wouldn’t it?).
It made me think about the manner in which individuals of my vintage enjoyed this music, and if they still did - people from the same generation as Craig himself (well, nearly). In my part of the world, attending clubs is seen as a young person’s game – people in their thirties (and above) have other priorities in their lives: mortgages, kids, impending doom and debt. No longer care-free and full of boundless energy. Mustering the wherewithall to go to a club until the wee hours seems like a Herculean task.
Thing is, I still love the music. And I still want to enjoy it – now, though, it’s confined to ease the pain of running and to take the mind off the monotony of exercise. The Internet is my only access to this culture now – mixes from RA, this blog and others are my sole means to finding out what trends are taking hold and which artists. Even on the net, things have evolved. I am on a music mailing list which used to clog up my inbox, now traffic is sparse, intermittent at best. The majority of suscribers have fallen away, I suspect, because of lack of interest.
I still can’t help but view house/techno as something vibrant and new, but that idea is skewed. It’s no longer the new kid on the block, the vibrant upstart. It’s part of the corporate establishment. Just look at Craig, it seems his best work may be behind him – now he is living off his name and past achievements while melding into the commercial end of dance music. I don’t blame him, he’s probably thinking of his retirement fund - he is probably so jaded that he has entered another dimension of jadedness.
It must be so hard to maintain your ‘A game’, remaining cutting edge and still retain your love for the music, especially when the gap between you and your audience becomes bigger and bigger in terms of age and outlook.
He had a great innings – as the Planet E compilation clearly shows. He has given us so much, but the run had to end some time. However, the fact that he is gonna play Detroit in his 69 guise shows that there is always hope that he can raise the bar once again and continue to inspire a new generation.