The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

How You Remember a Memory

I was flipping channels last night and the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony was on HBO. I’ve never been a super big fan of that yearly presentation but I get how the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame severs its purpose.

It was kind of weird this year as due to the 2020 pandemic and all the repercussions there was no actual ceremony so everything was just taped presentations of famous people talking about their thoughts and remembrances of the bands and then the recipients coming on, via tape, making a few jokes, and saying, “Thanks.” Though I didn’t spend too much watching the show, I did happen to pop back just when they were doing the bit on T. Rex. It really made me think about the fact that Marc Bolan had died decades ago and the young people of today probably don’t even know who or what T. Rex was and/or their place in rock n’ roll history. …Meaning, what purpose does the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame serve when it’s only a memory churner for old folks?

Me, I was a big fan of T. Rex. As a young adolescent I was really into the whole Glitter Rock thing. Alice Cooper, Mott the Hoople, the New York Dolls, and T. Rex were always blasting from my stereo in the early 70s.

I was actually lucky enough to see T. Rex live. I’m sure I’ve told this story somewhere before but when I was like thirteen T. Rex was playing at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. None of my friends wanted to go. I was always counter-culture orientate, most of them, at that time, were not. I didn’t have a ticket or anything but I got on the bus and took it to Santa Monica in the early afternoon. I walked over to the auditorium hoping to get a ticket, as I knew the show was sold out. Luckily, this group of people had an extra ticket. They had arrived early hoping to sell it. They sold it to me and asked me if I wanted some acid. “Sure.” They threw in a hit of Orange Sunshine, that normally sold for about $2.00 back then, for free. They went their way, I went mine. I dropped the acid and walked around the Santa Monica shopping area waiting for the show, which was set to begin in a couple of hours.

I went back to auditorium, tripping of course, near the time the show was to begin and found that the seat they had sold me was great. It was right up there front and center to the stage. The people who sold me the ticket showed up a few minutes later, also tripping, and we were set to go.

I forget the opening act, but T. Rex eventually came on and the band was great. The thing was, it was a time in history when everybody was getting high, so everyone was sitting around smoking weed, passing around joints, and the like, and the energy of the crowd was just not very up. In some ways, I felt sorry for Marc Bolan as he was getting upset, and verbalizing it, that no one was really getting into the music, him smashing his Les Paul, and the like. I mean it must be hard to watch your career diminish right in front of your eyes. He hadn’t had a hit song in some time and everyone was just too stoned to really get into what he was offering. But, in my mind, he always held an important place in the music of my life and I still enjoying listening to T. Rex from time to time.

After the show, my new friends asked me where I was going, as they had a car, but they were going the opposite direction so I walked back up to Wilshire Blvd. and took the bus back to Hollywood with my ears massively ringing. Rock shows were very-very loud back then. Especially being in the front row. Don’t do that to your ears people or you’ll end up like me with tinnitus.

Today, I was listening to the news on the radio, and as we just had a presidential election last week, the reporter was discussing how California was considering going solely to mail-in ballots in future elections. The problem, as she said in her own words was that, “Young people don’t understand signatures or know where the post office is.” What! Who doesn’t know how to write their signature? Who doesn’t know or can’t figure out where the local post office is?

Times change. The reality of life changes. People die. New people are born creating new generations and new types and styles of everything. It ALL always changes. Even the people whose music was an influence on us, it only means what it means to us. Really, all we have is the life we live and the memories that living generates.

What I remember is what I remember; you could care less about it. Just as what you remember is what you remember. I did not live it; so I can listen to your remembrances but what you lived will never truly affect my life.

The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is just a memory churner for someone who liked a band way back when. Everything like that is nothing more than a creation for someone who wants to remember what was but is no more.

So, don’t get lost in the past—not even your own past. Because if all you are doing is remembering what it was like way back when, you will never allow yourself to live what it is now—now, no matter how old you are.