Tuesday, September 06, 2016


Jesus warned against putting new wine in old wineskins. He was (apparently) speaking of religious traditions, but the thought can apply to just about anything. ‘Anything’ includes the arts.

What would constitute ‘old wineskins’ in the arts? Not a pastiche of long-ago styles — something of which I am occasionally guilty. Those, for the most part, are not intended as serious artistic statements. No, I think the old skins, the used containers, in this instance are the popular styles, the fashions that too many accept and follow as the ‘right’ way to do things.

But as soon as those become the right way, they become the wrong way. They become old. They are championed by critics and academics — the Pharisees of the arts.

Vintage will follow vintage, and each should have its own taste and bouquet. Savor those of the past, learn the lessons of each. Drink what is left in those old wineskins, use it up, get thoroughly inebriated, and then go find new containers to fill.

Stephen Brooke ©2016

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