A few months ago, Siouxsie Sioux was interviewed by Keith Cameron for Mojo, as part of the promotional merry-go-round for her new album, Mantaray. This excerpt gives a flavour of the encounter:
I want to ask you about JuJu...
Oh, this is... I didn't know this was all going to be about the past. This is really boring.
But this is the Mojo interview: it looks back over an artist's entire creative life.
I know, but I haven't got all bloody day, to be honest. We're at JuJu, and I've just done a new record.
Can I just ask you a couple of questions about JuJu?
[Sigh] All right.
Later on, after objecting to Cameron's fascination with her swastika-wearing tendencies 30 years before, she realised there were just 10 minutes left to cover the new album, stormed out, and subsequently fired her press officer.
Ms Sioux is a diva, and such behaviour is de rigueur for those with such a job description. Also, one can understand her feelings: she had a new record to shift, and the back catalogue stuff was getting in the way. But she was also being a tad disingenuous, because the only reason anyone was interested in her new album (indeed, the only reason that record came into existence) was because of the stuff she did with the Banshees in around 1976-86. Like JuJu, for example, and, uh, that swastika.
It's inevitable that artists want to talk about the film or book or record that they're doing right now. For a start, they'll derive more financial benefit if the punters buy the new product rather than scrabbling in the attic for the battered vinyl that reminds them of the old days. But surely it's something deeper and more personal as well: too much focus on past glories implies that you're past it, out of touch, too damn old. You're not just in competition with other creators - you're facing off against your younger self.
So, every time Siouxsie or Martin Amis or David Lynch plugs their new work, there's a gorilla in the room: interviewer and interviewee collude in the polite fiction that JuJu or Money or Blue Velvet are ancient irrelevances, and that we're only interested in the latest manifestation of creative brilliance. Anything else is tiresome nostalgia.
But is Martin Amis ever going to experience the same sort of once-in-a-lifetime synthesis between inspiration and Zeitgeist that made Money so successful? Shouldn't artists just be honest in acknowledging their own magic moments, and accept that everything else will be in their shadow?
I'll get the ball rolling. I think the high point of this blog came in August and September of 2006: critical theory; religious philosophy; obituaries; live blogging the military coup; L Brent Bozell. Maybe it was because I was deep in the bowels of the Radiohead book at the time: I was waking up with more ideas than I could cram into the narrative, and they had to go somewhere. And nothing subsequently has given me the buzz that I got in those few weeks.
So: what was your golden age of blogging? And you're not allowed to choose your latest post, unless you're Siouxsie.