I was a strange kid in some ways.
Before I even started serious reading, I was taking the subway to Downtown Toronto, alone, just to see the pure fascination of the art galleries. I rummaged through a tiny store called Cine Books and brought home funky posters of movies, rockstars, and the like, to paper my walls with.
The movies were my second love, and I would take any amount of buses and subways to get there. Once I had seen Ben-Hur, I was hooked. As for 2001: A space odyssey, I went by bicycle thirteen times. Barbarella also had many repeated viewings because I thought Jane Fonda was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.
In those days, the big theatres had only one screen, were sometimes beautifully appointed, and, if the movie was a hit, it would play for up to a year or more. No videotapes, no DVDs, no internet. A good movie was a real Event.
When Elvis, then the Beatles came out, I was in my own nirvana. The music was etched in my soul, and still remains.
After seeing and hearing all of these aspects of Art, it seems that the ones that made the most lasting impression were coincidental with my state of mind at the time I was exposed to them. In my teens, (1960’s), the times were awash with new art, film, and music. I sought it eagerly, and it filled seemingly vast spaces in my psyche.
With the approach of my 20’s, I began to read longer and more serious works than the pulp novels, beginning with masterpieces from Tolkien, Herbert (Dune), Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury.
In latter days, I have started examining classic literature from Dickens, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, the Bronte sisters, Hemingway and Steinbeck, to name a few.
But the ones I always return to, anticipating a slow reread, were first introduced to me during a serene period of my life, and I had a pleasant association with them. The same applies to the music of my times. Fifty years after their breakup, the songs of The Beatles still blow me away.
I still, at my age, get fresh enjoyment from new music, films, and art, but , strangely, I can remember a painting I saw in an art gallery 50 years ago.
Long live the Artists!