Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is There Anybody Out There..?.

Hmmm, well… so no one responded. Did I really expect anyone to? Nope, not really...

Its hardly surprising since the internet is like a vast open prairie; no direction home. My ‘blog’ must be like a small blade of grass, sitting out there in a tuft of other grasses, blown by the wind, rustling in anonymity. Mile upon mile of similar tufts making up a greensward vista that stretches to the far horizon.

Because, or so it seems, everyone has their own internet presence nowadays. Google pretty much any friend, relative or work colleague (let alone anyone who’s had their own five peco-seconds curled up beside the fame-ball) and somewhere out there – their very own web presence. In a world where privacy is valued, there can be privacy no more; and in downtime computer-time, its terribly tempting to open the door to Pandora’s box.

And so, as always, curiosity kills the cat – and... finally giving in and seeing what the limitless storage vault of the web holds on oneself is a pretty strange reality-check. As Toad once famously said, ‘surely... there can’t be any harm in just… l o o k i n g’.

What do I find..? Hell's teeth... for a start, I find I’m in amongst a whole heap of places I’d never imagined myself to be. For example, it appears that I’ve been exhibited at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. That, I confess, came as a bit of a shock. But, incredibly, its true (pointless telling un-truths on here, one just has to look something up to see if its fact or fiction). I’m rather a long way away from Ohio so there isn’t much of an opportunity to go look see in person – thus, I have to take Google’s word for it but… in amongst a recent U2 retrospective exhibit there recently, it appears that a letter from self to Larry Mullen Jr written presumably aeons back and – I’m guessing here – sometime upfront of them growing from boys (sic) to men, thus maybe around the time of the Unforgettable Fire had been hoarded in his attic and, dug out and… offered up to the curators in Cleveland.

Larry was – perhaps still is – an inveterate hoarder of ‘stuff’ Mind you (looking back), he had something pretty special to hoard and – as much as Bill Wyman did the same for the Stones’ early years, then young Laurence did the same for his little band out of Dublin. He kept everything of interest that came his way. After all – and this’d apply to them both – how long did they imagine things’d last? You just don’t at that point in your career…everything you do is a first and, a memory worth holding on to.

The first series of your own shows, the first trip out of the country – to London in their case; the first provincial dates; making their first record and seeing it for the first time all wrapped up nicely in shrink-wrapped covers (yes, I found the article regarding that too – Mike Gardiner’s report from Record Mirror) when he and I and a photographer who’s name I can’t remember (other than the fact that she slept through the whole of Belgium) traveled to Groningen in Holland, me with a box of 25 pristine copies of the Boy album in the boot of my car; the first time they’d set eyes on the fruits of their labours.

And yeah, I hoard stuff too… innumerable scrapbooks filled with old concert ticket stubs; flyers from shows; tour itineraries, yellowing faxes from the days before the internet was a distant dream away; tickets and photo-passes from shows that have passed into myth and become legend – what price my two tickets for Bob Marley Live at London’s Lyceum ballroom on the hot sweaty July night that Arthur Ashe won at Wimbledon?

Everything has a price… tickets for a Nirvana show that never happened (since Kurt shot himself, thus enforcing its cancellation) are being released on the internet 100 at a time; the show’s promoters making more money from collectors than ever they would had the show gone ahead in the first place.

But, is everything for sale or should it be treasured? Do I – for example – really need to keep a framed copy of the first ever U2 poster; after all it could only really be hung in an office – its hardly suitable for anywhere else in the house. Yes I do; firstly Larry gave it me, second it holds treasured memories. Its nothing to do with either its value or rarity – I doubt if more than five original copies survive; its because its special… to me.

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