Monday, 31 December 2012

#9 End of the world

2012 didn't turn out to be the end of the world after all. I'm very glad of that. When I'd just started work on a new novel, the last thing I wanted to face was a bunch of meteorites, or angry Mayan-sympathizers insisting that Christians had got the whole end of days thing wrong right from the beginning. But when The Wiggles announced that three of the original members were retiring during their last ever performance at Sydney's Christmas Carols in The Domain, perhaps it was a sign that it wasn't the end of the world after all. Just the end of the world as we knew it. Otherwise, why go through all the trouble of finding three new faces to replace Greg, Murray and Wake-up Jeff?

I'm absolutely almost sure that its now safe to admit that the Mayan calendar had simply run out. Just as the computer calendar of the 1990's was supposed to bring about the end of the world when the clock struck midnight and we ticked over to the year 2000, and just as my Hallmark calendar is about to run out now that today is December 31st, 2012. I find the best solution in times like these is to simply buy a new calendar. It seems the Mayan calendar outlived the Mayan empire itself. Which makes me think now that 2013 is upon us, that sales of 2012 doomsday-style books on Mayan prophecies and the end of the world will surely plummet to the same sales levels of 2012 Hallmark calendars. After all, it's last years news.

As a writer, I've learnt to question the work I put out there for the general public to discover. What message or legacy do I want to leave behind for years to come? The problem with writing a time sensitive apocalyptic thriller, is that often the writer is left with egg on their face after the year that the world was supposed to end has come and gone. Or at best, their novel never lives to see the light of day again.

On the other hand, when three of The Wiggles left the stage for the last time after 21 years of entertaining children, they left behind a legacy of songs that will continue to bring delight to energetic young kids the world over long after they're gone. When the three new faces are still singing the same songs in 2021, no-one will question the decision of five young guys studying at university back in 1991 to form a pre-school rock band. In the case of The Wiggles, their influence cannot be measured in the millions of CD sales and millions more sales of DVD's that the band has enjoyed. It is best summed up by my 17 year old daughter and 15 year old son who sat with my wife and I in front of the TV and watched the original Wiggles perform live from Sydney's Christmas Carols for one last time. Watery-eyed, the both said in unison; "I've just seen my whole childhood flash right before my eyes.

In that moment, my wife and I could recall taking them to see a Wiggles concert when they were just 3 and 5 years old, every CD, DVD, stuffed toy character, t-shirt and hat we had ever bought them when they were young, and we still knew the words to the songs they were singing together for one last time. You see the world didn't end on the 21.12.2012. Neither did The Wiggles when they sang on that very same evening at Sydney's Domain. For two sad-faced teenagers, it was just the end of the world as they knew it.

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