Well, there's two different meanings of conservative: conserving and preserving are different than political conservatism. There's a book by this guy, Raphael Samuel, it's a history of how people related to the past — heritage culture — and he was defending the idea. There were a bunch of books — in the '80s I think — by left wing writers that were attacked under Thatcher, when the English heritage act [National Heritage Act] was passed. It was the beginning of listing landmark buildings, and it was a part of Thatcherism that involved a reaction against the '60s and '70s new developments, when slums were torn down and new buildings went up that were Brutalist, and there was a big reaction against that. Prince Charles called them carbuncles on the landscape of Britain, and you had the Heritage Act and this whole movement — which was very popular — to preserve every footpath and whatnot. First it was all linked to Thatcherism and preserving the great old Britain.

There was one famous book called On Living in an Old Country and it tied preservation and tradition and conservation to right wing politics, and it was all part of the Thatcherite project. But then Samuel's book was saying "These movements were actually very popular, and people like old things, and there's nothing innately reactionary about loving them and wanting to preserve them." And he had all these examples of local movements to protect things from being developed and/or spoiled, and how big the attendance was at these model villages. It wasn't just mansions and castles being preserved, it was factories, Victorian sewage plants.

It's a double edge, really. I'm in favor of preserving old things up to a certain point, but not someone building a new housing development in a mock-Georgian style. That seems reactionary to me. New things that are old, old-looking — and that applies to music, as well. I listen to a lot of old music, I collect old records, I'm all for preserving history. But the thing about things that become history is that they were once new The reason why we remember the Stones and Dylan and all these people obsessively is that at one point they were shocking and timely. And one of my complaints about retro-y or revival-y stuff is that it's failing its own times by not registering a timeliness, by referring back to an old epoch. Unless it does something really transformative with it or juxtaposes it in a really interesting way, then it's sort of failing the test of its own time.

I'VE BEEN THINKING LATELY ABOUT HOW BANDS NEVER HANG IT UP NOWADAYS — THERE HAS BEEN NEWS OF THE STONES PLANNING THEIR 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR FOR NEXT YEAR, FOR INSTANCE. AND IT'S WEIRD: I'M 38, AND I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A KID SEEING THE STONES IN 1989, AND IT WAS SUCH A BIG DEAL. AND THEN I WAS THINKING ABOUT HOW I'VE ESSENTIALLY GROWN UP, MY WHOLE ADOLESCENT-TO-ADULT LIFE, WITH THE STONES AS OLD MEN AS A CONSTANT.

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