(UN)POPULAR CULTURE

The home of writer & author A. J. BLACK

Greetings everyone.

While this may sound morbid, I often wonder about death. Sometimes we forget how omnipresent death actually is in our lives, even when we’re not directly experiencing loss. We often know people who are, or have. We see death in much of the media we consume, the TV and movies we watch. Some of the music we listen to concerns death, as do many of the books and stories we read.

As we live life, death is everywhere.

We lost someone very dear to my wife and I last week, hence my rumination on this.

The family member we lost this week was old, someone who had lived a fairly long life. This made me wonder, as I did the last time I experienced loss some 14 years ago with the passing of one of my grandparents, about passions toward the end of life and how they may keep us living a little longer. The person we just lost had a passion for history which I know kept her going in part after many difficult years, and a love of one local landmark in particular in the South West of England with deep significance to her.

I know, without question, that my passion is cinema, for all that I love television and books – for me, there is nothing as exhilarating as watching a movie you just love.

What I wonder about when I think of death, when I consider the later years of life, is how this passion for cinema will evolve, should I be lucky enough to live to a ripe old age with faculties intact. Will I still love film? Will I still absorb as much as I can? Will I still read about how they are made or about filmmakers and actors? Will I still venture out and see new films at the cinema, or watch them via whatever medium will be around by then?

(Should I live to my 70’s or 80’s, we’ll be into the 2040’s or 2050’s, so if we don’t have chips in our heads and can live inside a movie as we watch one by then, I’ll be very disappointed…)

The answer to these questions are impossible to say. My suspicion is that once a cineaste, always a cineaste, and the beauty of film is that, sight and hearing permitting, there will always be something new to discover. Whether it’s cinema to come or stuff from the past that I haven’t yet experienced, I might be 77 by the time I first watch Citizen Kane – who knows? I fully intend to be about 87 and almost zonked out before I go anywhere near Keith Lemon: The Movie, that I can guarantee you! The point is that when you have a true passion, when you’re always discovering more about it, that journey only ends when your number is up.

I’m glad my relative had that interest in her final years and that she enjoyed learning more about her local history, and finding comfort in it. I feel a little sorry for anyone toward the end of their life lacking that passion. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to find that *thing* in life, that hobby, that interest, that you carry with you from a young age through to the end, and I feel really lucky that I’m one of the people that does because, on that level, I’ll always have a driving passion after my wife or (hopefully) future children to keep me excited about life.

Apologies for the melancholy. Normal service will soon be resumed. Hope you and your families are all having good days.

T

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