It makes me so sad. Humans are better connected than ever, but in this age of constant communication, it seems like we never actually connect in any meaningful way.
We live in an age of information, but we know so much less; only what can be broadcast in 140-characters or skim-read on the train.
More money. Newer devices. Faster computers. Better technology. These are distractions that don’t really make us happy. Human pleasure comes from far simpler places: free love, the beauty of nature, and of course, the sweet kick-ass metal licks of the band Iron Maiden.
Ahh! The first breath of blossom on a spring day; the chatter of birdsong in the verdant canopies of an English dense woodland; the heady gurgling of brooks – we miss all of these wonders in our self-imposed indenture to the metropolitan grind. Our drab office blocks, filthy streets and polluted air – what will it take to through off the shackles of urban life and romp freely through sun-dappled water-meadows and mysterious, heathered moors – all whilst listening to Adrian Smith’s mind-bogglingly fast fretwork or the blues-influenced, overdriven riffs of Dave Murray?
Surely you can’t put a price on freedom, on natural beauty, on the treasures of England that compelled Coleridge and Austen and Blake to ink the most beautiful works in our language? What could be a more thrilling use of our short lives than taking off our clothes in a slow-moving river and saying no to finance, no to admin, no to human resources, and yes to the three-guitar attack of the classic Iron Maiden line-up as their consummate minor-fifth harmonies wail like banshees over Steve Harris’ galloping bass rhythms?
It’s like we’ve lost our way completely. We have Wikipedia at the touch of our fingers, but we’ve forgotten basic truths. We can talk all day on Whatsapp but we’ll never truly connect – sometimes there’s nothing like looking a loved on in the eye and saying “Darling, I want nothing more than for you and I to throw on the classic album Fear of the Dark and listen to all forty-five too-brief minutes of genre-defining classic metal, including the brilliant eponymous title track and the vastly underrated Bring Your Daughter…to the Slaughter! which, whilst ludicrous, showed the band at their most playful and belies the self-serious, gloomy image which they were often mistakenly lumbered with in mainstream musical criticism.”
We may have hundreds of Friends, all of whom Like our updates – but what of the things that are real? If you say to someone these days the words “beauty,” “truth,” or “Six! Six six! The number of the beast!” they look at you like you’re deranged.
And why is it that we can Google from an endless archive of trivia and facts, whilst retaining so little substance? Why do we waste our times memorising memes, internet slang, vapid acronyms and evanescent pleasures like Goat Yells Like Human when we could be plumbing the depths of human knowledge – learning languages, understanding fractals, writing novels? Who here can even name a single track from the astonishing Somewhere In Time? At a push, you may recognise the majestic vocal hook Run to the Hills, but why have we forgotten how to appreciate forgotten gems like Mother Russia, Hooks In You and Charlotte the Harlot?
I know this life can be scary sometimes. I know we can feel alone, scared, anxious. I know the future is a mystery and the past a dying dream. I know our lovers leave us, our friends stop calling us, our jobs try to trap us into factory-line existences and our governments steals from our own pockets whilst crushing our countryside under the mechanical jackboot of industry.
But please, for the sake of your sanity, your spirit, your soul – look up from your phone. Head out of the city for a week. Fill your ears not with the sound of a 23-page proposal spooling out of the copy machine but of skittering insects, rustling trees, and Bruce Dickinson’s expert vibrato which even now stands up as one of the finest and strongest voices to come out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. And when life is looking dark and you feel like you’re coming to your wits end, always remember: there will always be love; there will always be beauty – so much beauty! All around you, right this second! And of course, Iron Maiden will still have been consistently writing solid four-star albums with a cool zombie mascot on the cover for thirty years, and even during the slightly more patchy Blaze Bailey years where the band’s winning formula had become slightly tired and jaded, it would only be a few short years until Bruce Dickinson rejoined a reinvigorated line-up who went on to record the critically lauded and best-selling comeback album Dance of Death which surprised and delighted listeners by effortlessly slotting acoustic songs alongside eight-minute war epics and distorted gutter-punk anthems that called to mind their earlier days with original vocalist Paul D’ianno. The orchestral arrangements, varied styles and frenetic yet stylish rhythmic flourishes of drummer Nicko McBrain really showed off their capabilities as a unit – and if that doesn’t make you feel any better about the future, I don’t know what will.
Posted by Lars Tharp