One of my colleagues was telling me about how their son was involved in the grime scene (funnily enough what Detroit was to soul music, my current neighbourhood of Bow is to the grime scene, but we digress). Like most teenagers he had some friends who were at best aimless if not a bad influence and he was spending the vast majority of his time designing MySpace pages for people on the scene.
Designing MySpace pages is something that I think is a constructive use of time, especially if it blossoms into a creative career. I thought about this when I came across a Starsky and Hutch Appreciation Fan Club wallet around my house. I was given it by some colleagues in my old agency one Christmas because of my love of Starsky and Hutch (it was the only TV programme I was allowed to stay up to watch when I was in infant school).
In marked contrast to the home spun creativity cranking out MySpace pages for grime artists, the true fan in the 1970s would have sent away Post Office vouchers or a cheque in order to receive the pack of fan club materials. This was the age of consumption rather than wholesale creation. TV shows like Sale of the Century and the conveyor belt of goods on The Generation Game seem strangely appropriate in this light, but the role of a fan was rather passive in comparison to their modern equivalent. What value did this passive role give these young fans in the coming years?
Say what you like about the kids of today, but on this score I think that they have it right.