Most people’s work is ephemeral – processing that loan payment, serving a customer at a till, mending a broken car; they all happen and the world moves on and there’s very little to show for it beyond the short term.
I can look back at the work I did at the beginning of my working life – painting houses, training people how to sell mortgages, designing graduate recruitment campaigns and so on – safe in the knowledge that any mistakes I made, or naivety due to inexperience shown, have been lost in the mists of time. As have any small triumphs of insight or hard work.
How weird it must be to be an artist – a painter, sculptor, poet, song-writer – who created something successful and loved at an early age, who’s fans constantly want them to revisit those early glories.
I’m thinking of this with my ears still ringing after seeing The Wonder Stuff perform last night. They are still creating new music, but as the crowd last night showed, most of us were there remembering the heady early years of the band in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s when we and they were young. I guess it takes a particular kind of person to be able to embrace their past in this way; many others will have reinvented themselves and seldom revisit their earlier triumphs.
Watching this – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2013/apr/05/how-to-delete-yourself-from-the-internet-video – has made me consider that the age of the internet is making this much more relevant to all of us though – living on-line, searchable, lives means that our pasts are much more difficult to leave behind – even this blog means that my early posts can be read at any time – they probably won’t be, but they aren’t gone.