Monday, June 01, 2015

No Going Back

The other day I was listening to some young people talk about concerts and music. I was struck by two things: (a) I didn't know what they were talking about half the time, and (b) I knew exactly what they were talking about the other half.

Young people do not seem to have groups that tour and attract large crowds like I did when I was growing up. I remember going to see many different musicians at both the Roanoke and Salem Civic Centers. Lakeside also had a summer concert series for many years and I attended a fair number of those events as well.

We all knew the music, too. Local night club bands played cover songs, doing their own rendition of The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, or Alabama.

I don't think there are very many cover bands any more, because the music industry came down on places that allowed cover bands. So garage bands had to write their own songs. And who wanted to hear that, really?

In those old days, we listened to the same sounds. We also watched the same shows on TV (because there were, at most, four channels), and we listened to the American Top 40 every weekend.

When somebody said, "How'd you feel about Who Shot J.R.?" everyone knew what was going on.

We all went to see Star Wars and gaped at the visuals.

Today, though, people watch different shows. Oh, there are hits that millions enjoy - Game of Thrones comes to mind - but even then, with DVDs and Tivo, you have to be careful. I have a friend who is into the show but she's been watching it on DVD and is only up to Season 4. I have to mind what I say because she doesn't want anyone to tell her what happens next.

Sometimes, with my eyes twinkling, I drop inane and innocuous little tidbits, just for fun.

But there are so many show and so many different things out there, each catering to a different niche that sometimes I think we will have nothing to talk about but the weather in a few years. And maybe not even that, because, well, half of us believe in climate change and half of us do not. It's not even safe to talk about sunshine or snow.

Is it any wonder, then, that stations like METV have a notable following? Watching those old shows is like slipping on an old robe and throwing yourself across the bed, the day done, and the night not yet unfolded. It's almost a relief to feel the familiar.

I'm not a fan of the personal bubble we've all created amongst ourselves. We share our entire lives on Facebook or other social media, but we don't actually share our selves, or our truest, most special being. That we keep tightly bound, buried so deep I'm not even sure most of us can find it.

We are divided now because nothing unites us, not even TV shows or rock stars. As a nation (I'm talking U.S. here), we can't even agree on what constitutes a crime. We have sets of rules that depend on variables, such as gender or skin color. We don't have laws, we have, oh, I don't know - guidelines?

In my system of justice, the law is the law, and it is equal regardless of race, creed, sex, etc. Of course not all is black and white and that is what we have judges for, but it seems like now everything is all muddled, and nobody can figure out which end is up, or where anything belongs.

Sometimes it feels to me like our society has been swooped up, placed in a box, shaken around, and dumped out. What fell out was kind of like all of the bad stuff that flew out of Pandora's box. What little good there is creeps in the back doors and valiantly peers out, sometimes putting a toe through the insanity, before somebody slams the door shut again.

So hail hail rock and roll. I rejoice when I hear the young people listening to The Rolling Stones and watching METV. Those people will be able to bridge generation gaps, and relate to the world in a much better way than the ones who have separated themselves and relegated the world to "other."

There's way too much "other" out here, and not enough "brother." I want to be an advocate for kindness, I want to start a new trend.

I want to see a world where good comes out of the closet, and all of this bad shit crawls back under the bed.


  1. Everyone is wrapped up in their cell phones. Sad, but true.

  2. I understand what you're saying, but it's all so amorphous for me. I'm older than you are. When I was a kid we had no TV and I grew up listening to my parents' music (big bands, jazz, and crooners). I remember the discovery of this new hot singer named Elvis (whom I never liked), The changes in the world have gotten away from me. I'm in the Facebook/cell phone era and use them, but never figured out how to make Twitter work for me. My kids grew up listening to Gilbert & sullivan and Talking Heads and could appreciate them both. Our kids were in one of those garage bands that had success in California for 10 years--and then my son, the lead singer, fell in love with Beethoven's 7th symphony. Go figure. I just can't get a handle on it any more. You say that you like the time when the law was the law no matter who you were, but I grew up in San Francisco when if you were a guy and in the wrong neighborhood, you could be taken to jail for LOOKING at another guy. We never really had true equality. I want to wrap my head about "today" but it is an elusive cloud.

  3. An interesting essay, Anita. I'm one of those people who has only seen GOT on DVD, and only through season three. I don't have cable, so am familiar with METV and AntennaTV, both of which air old TV shows. I also love the different movie networks non-cable users get -- This, Get and Grit -- which show a variety of older movies. As for music... I rarely listen to the radio these days, but when I do, I often turn to the "oldies" station, which now plays 50's-90's music.


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!