Pass me the forty!

Posted on 18 December 2010

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Gang Starr Daily OperationI turned forty last week. My mum duly gave me some new slippers, more as a practical gift than a witty reference to this blog. (By the way, my new slippers are very nice, thank you very much.)

Turning forty has been a pleasure – I was about ready for it. I’m a Dad, my relationships are good and well established, I don’t really get Chipmunk, I’ve proved I can grow a fine beard; the time was right. I’m looking forward to more hirsute years.

Forty is a landmark age. In the sense that a landmark can be defined as a prominent object on the land that serves as a guide, especially to ships at sea or travelers on the road, I’m calling on all my years, my experiences and the people and things I love to help guide me forward into my forties. This includes Hip Hop, which has always been there for me; entertaining, informing, rooting my life.

This week I listened back to some of Gang Starr’s music. There was a time when Gang Starr were huge: Daily Operation is a seminal album; DJ Premier a beat conjuror and mix master magician; Guru’s unique, monotone flow strangely enthralling whilst spliced with a wealth of self braggadocio brilliance. But, tragically, Guru’s life was brought to a premature end earlier this year and the Hip Hop world mourned.

RIP GuruSo it was great to hear this week that Premier will release new, previously recorded material with Guru. And whilst this is good news, being reminded of Guru’s death (aged only 43) has fuelled a stronger sense of my own mortality, which has been gnawing away at me of late like an old dog with a bone.

Whether driven by my own mortality or not, naval-gazing self-introspection hasn’t been the be-all-and-end-all. There’s a huge amount of positivity. The time leading up to my fortieth certainly felt like it was gathering more urgency; for me to push forward with things I want to achieve in my life. I started this blog only a few months ago in an attempt to start writing.

Turning forty also brings with it the promise of a deeper insight and understanding of life. Guru’s line from the Gang Starr’s track 2 Deep jumped out this week: “For my outlook on life is a profound view”. The line resonated with me, as I feel I’ve turned a corner and life is right in front of me. Only now do I understand how I want to make the most of it. Yeah, I want to write and make a mark on the world, however small, particularly with this blog. But I also want to really enjoy the things I love.

So I was excited to hear Premier’s announcement and I look forward to enjoying these posthumous releases. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one of Guru’s rhymes, from the man who succeeded in leaving a huge stamp on the world: I go for glory, I take an inventory / Countin’ all the tough luck ducks while I narrate / Relate and equate, dictate and debate /My fate is to be, cold makin’ history.

Listen to: Daily Operation (album), 2 Deep & Manifest by Gang Starr

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