Over the last 40 years there have been a lot of books, foods, music and general experiences I’ve written off. Since I tend to be very…um…emphatic about my feelings it can backfire hugely. I call it the Asparagus Principle, in honour of the first time this happened.
I declared all through my childhood that asparagus was nasty, that it was evil and that it should be banned. Then I went to my mother-in-law’s farm where I was served a meal of roast beef, other stuff I can’t remember and asparagus plucked fresh from the field and dropped into the pot. From that moment on I was an avowed asparagus lover to the place where I now consider it my favourite food, outpacing former top treats like pizza, lasagna and Rolos.
With that in mind I’ve decided that there are a few things to which I should probably apply the Asparagus Principle. These are things I’ve written off and in some cases loudly decried; things I now think deserve a second glance.
(You can always tell, by the way, when my brain isn’t fully switched on by the fact that I write in list form. Lists are my brain’s way of taking a segue break.)
- Steampunk My first exposure to steampunk was in a videogame I played several years ago. I found it to be incredibly unappealing and thought it was unique to the game itself. (I’m kicking myself that I can’t remember which game it was, because now I’m in the mood to play it again. Is Rise Of Nations a game? Note to self: Google this…) Steampunk then began showing up in movies that sucked (Wild Wild West; League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Sherlock Holmes) and countless novels that also seem as though they would suck too. Then yesterday my friend Mandi reviewed Boneshaker for our book review blog and all of a sudden I find myself inching closer to giving Steampunk another go.
- George Jones Now that he’s passed beyond the veil and everyone is recounting their George Jones Memories I feel as if perhaps I should look further into his catalog beyond He Stopped Loving Her Today. As a night owl who came up in the 80s and 90s I saw a lot of those commercials for Time Life album compilations. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, they’d have these three-minute ads on late at night for mail-order record albums (later, CDs) that had all the hits on there. The titles of the songs would scroll by in a chyron. You, the viewer, would see favourites and think “Oh, I really love that song!” Keep in mind this was well before iPods and MP3s. Music was something you had to actively seek out–either on the radio or in the record shop. Unless you made mixed tapes–one of my favourite hobbies–by hovering over the radio and collecting whatever song struck your fancy you really only heard a song when it was played by forces you couldn’t control. These record compilations were some of the most tempting fruits ever to dangle from the tree of television advertising. The worm in the apple, however, was that every third or fourth song would have just one tiny snippet played. Instant earworms were born this way. To this day there are a good thirty or forty songs to which I only know one line, thanks to these commercials. For years–until I moved to Tennessee–one of those songs was He Stopped Loving Her Today. The only part I knew was, well, “He stopped loving her today”. That stuck in my brain alongside “Daddy sang bass, Mama sang Tenor”, selections from Zamfir, Master Of The Pan Flute and the egregious Red Sovine. “Red Sovine’s as much a part of truckin’ as CB-in’ an’ hot cawfeee!” Needless to say I’ve born a grudge against George Jones for years, for something that isn’t his fault, really.
There are other things I should put on this list, especially since any bulleted list should really have at least three points. But I got so carried away thinking about those compilation ads that I’ve run out of words. Maybe I should do a whole blog series on Remembrances Of Things Past. (Or is it passed? I can never remember, ironically.)