Sunday, 24 March 2013
DOES THIS PRESS THE BUTTONS OF YOUR MIND?
Warning: Readers may find the following post tedious and self-indulgent in the extreme. However, I'm trying to get my thoughts in order as I wrestle with difficult-to-define (for me) concepts floating around the vast and nebulous caverns of my mind. Being compelled to think as I struggle to find the words which best convey elusive ideas seems the only chance I have of landing anywhere near the mark, so hopefully you'll come along for the trip. (Might be worth the journey.)
Association is a strange sort of a thing. You know, when you look at something (or someone) and you associate it (or them) with a time, place, or event in your life. And the association is usually inextricably linked and cannot be transferred from its fixed place in the scheme of things. (Usually, but not absolutely always, as we shall see.)
Case in point: I associate the comic called WHAM! and one of its strips, FRANKIE STEIN, with a particular house and neighbourhood where I once lived. I didn't start buying the comic until late 1966 or early 1967, even though the comic had first hit the stands in 1964. Indeed, by the time it became one of my regular weeklies, the days of KEN REID's Frankie Stein strip were numbered, the majority of them having appeared in the period well before I became a reader.
But... whenever I look at Wham! or Frankie, I immediately think of the house I lived in at that time (let's call it House C) and I find it difficult to imagine the comic ever having existed before then. Fact is, though, that Wham! came out when I was living in what I'll refer to as House A and remained undiscovered by me in my next abode (House B), saving its delights until House C, which I moved into near the end of 1965.
I now possess earlier issues, published during my time in Houses A and B, but I simply can't associate them with the years I resided in either domicile - with two possible exceptions. I can almost imagine myself looking at the cover to Wham! #1 in the front garden of House A, and, if I try really hard, I can again just about imagine my local newsagent's (between House A and B) stocking the photogravured early issues of the comic with BIFF on the cover. That's because they're so quintessentially '60s that I can shoehorn them into that particular period of my life retroactively.
I can't maintain the illusion for very long though, before it dissipates, and House C and its surrounding environs reclaim the association for themselves - even though these earlier comics don't 'belong' in that later period. (Still with me?)
However, there is one copy of Wham! (#134) which I can (and do) legitimately associate with House A and its area, although only in a secondary way. That's because I had it with me when we visited friends in our old neighbourhood one night, and I remember looking at my old house on the way there and back again, comic in hand. However, it's not my main association, that being my then-current home (C), and also the route along to the old village quarter of our town on the day of the issue's purchase.
Riveting stuff this, no? (No!) Consider this: The JAMES BOND movie, GOLD-FINGER, was released in 1964. I, however, didn't see it until 1972, so, naturally enough, my personal associations with the film are '70s ones. (Although, in seeming contradiction to that - and the whole theme of this thread - I have no difficulty placing in its proper time period. Maybe that's because I associate Bond with the 1960s due to having a CORGI TOYS ASTON MARTIN DB5 when I was a boy. Therefore, I have a previous ['60s] frame of reference for the movie from before I even saw it.)
I find it endlessly fascinating that something which originated in a specific point in time has a continuing resonance beyond what one would imagine would be its fixed frame of reference. Goldfinger, to me, belongs to the era of The BEATLES, but also has '70s associations with The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL because that was the comic I was regularly buying when I first saw it.
Anyway, I could go on forever on this subject (and never quite get there), so I'll draw things to a close for now. But what's the point of it all? I'm not quite sure, to be honest. Something to do with certain associations being fixed and immovable - or at least appearing so from our perspective - but not quite always adhering to logical patterns or sequences because some associations are influenced by other factors without us ever being fully aware of it.
As I said, it's an idea that tugs at me from the edges of my mind, but remains just far enough beyond my reach for me to get properly to grips with. (Maybe one day.) In the meantime, enjoy the first-ever appearance of Frankie Stein from Wham! #4, 1964. It was published when I was living in House A, but I never got to see it 'til I was living in House D - although it reminds me of House C whenever I look at it..
Ouch! My head hurts!
Posted by Kid at Sunday, March 24, 2013