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Booth's Blog: Heroes
By Emily Booth, Sunday 17th January 2016
Emily with chopperMy last blog entry honoured the late great (I’m still so sad about this) David Bowie, and only 4 days after the news of his death was announced (Monday 10th January) we all woke up to discover Alan Rickman had also passed away, the same age from the same disease. Add to that the very recent losses of Motörhead front man Lemmy (December 28th) and Phantasm actor Angus Scrimm (January 9th) and it really has felt that only two weeks into 2016 and it’s been an onslaught of sad news on the loss of our few remaining legends.

This got me thinking, are true legends of film and music even made anymore? Are people who are truly avant garde, zeitgeist and underground given the same opportunities and warm welcome in the mainstream? Would Kate Bush for example or indeed David Bowie even become mainstream or popular if they broke out in today’s music industry? Perhaps I’m feeling a little cynical sad and jaded about the state of modern culture – I just don’t really see how, especially in the music industry, total ‘legends’ (and I mean the true meaning of the word legend) are being created now. Who, from today’s crop of ‘talent’ will we be talking about in forty years time? What movies will we be talking about in 40 years time?

I sometimes attend memorabilia, Sci-Fi and Horror conventions as a guest and I find the whole scene fascinating if a little bizarre. In these large halls full of the most random selection of people possible you will discover the intense love that people have for ‘cult’ movies and music. It is I suppose a love of history and times gone by albeit in a cultural context. I guess I am a bit of a luddite sometimes (being brought up by antique dealers probably molded that) and I fear that in a world where popular culture; music, films and books are largely digital, we are losing the very essence of how nostalgia and memories are made! By holding something in your hands, smelling the sleeve, reading the lyrics, opening the case, or in the case of films – holding in your hands some true memorabilia that actually featured in the film – or a genuine still photograph from the film set. Don’t get me wrong – there were many things in the past that were pretty rubbish (VHS was not very good technically speaking – but we got through it and many of us horror fans remember those bootleg days fondly!) And of course I know there’s the ‘green’ issue of less packaging and plastic being used in producing CD’s and DVD’s.

I do digress here, but my train of thought is just making me feel that we are perhaps losing our sense of the past now. In the genuine legends that we are losing to the products of popular culture reduced to a quick online purchase. It feels like everything is just a series of zeros and ones, and while I know technology changes to make life quicker and easier, I wonder if our sense of the past will get smaller and more irrelevant in the fast pace of life and gratification today. Perhaps the impact anything or anyone can have is more diluted now that twitter has daily trends that come and go and YouTube can create endless stars out of pretty much anyone who’s either talented, funny or just down right annoying.
However this is perhaps a fairer and more democratic platform for finding and making todays stars…. But I hardly think it’s going to create legends. And in the case of news and information I do of course believe wholeheartedly in the power and benefits of the internet.

But there is a bit of a backlash occurring, especially in the film world, that recognizes the need for the tangible, the ‘old school.’ The filmmakers behind Star Wars VII (JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy) made a conscious decision to embrace ‘in camera’ techniques, props and sets instead of CGI in the wake of audience’s frustration with the slew of over the top digital wizardry in current action films that deny physics to the extent that the film just does not look real or believable. In the music industry also - musicians now have to do more live performances and tours to make money seeing as everyone downloads music for free these days which is also no bad thing.

But, to our beloved stars of music and movies we have lost so recently, I wonder if they can, in today’s world ever be truly replaced?

With that in mind, Horror Channel is here to honour one of Britain’s most sorely missed creatives, a legend in all manner of the word with a special screening of one of Bowie’s most memorable films, Nicholas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth, both the film and the star evoking that tragic beauty only Bowie could achieve with style and humility.

The Man Who Fell To Earth with a special introduction from my good self is on tonight at 12.35am. Watch it and weep.


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