Monday, November 9, 2020

Human Memory

Sid Vicious

During my election week hibernation from social media I read a couple of books, one about the Lennon and Ono recording sessions for Double Fantasy and a Sid Vicious biography. The book about Double Fantasy was too fluffy and uncritical for my liking. Lennon had some dark sides to him, but you would have thought he was a charismatic snake charmer from reading that book. The book about Vicious was more about the history of punk than a sharply focused history of the man.

Seventies and early 80s punk has long been an interest of mine. I have always been kind of proud that the first U.S. performance of the Sex Pistols was in Atlanta at The Great Southeast Music Hall & Emporium in 1978. (link to a video from that show)

The music hall is long gone and was by the time I moved to Atlanta in 1995, but the shopping center in Lindbergh, where it was located, was still there in the 1990s. It was the only place I can remember that had a two-story Kmart and I purchased cheap Christmas decorations there one year. All that is history too and is buried under apartments and stores now.

Lindbergh is an ugly neighborhood consisting of modern prison looking mid-rise apartments, a MARTA station, big box stores, shopping centers and fast food joints straddling two huge roads, Piedmont and Sidney Marcus. It has the personality of a cheap radio boombox playing Steve Winwood music in a weedy asphalt parking lot. The neighborhood looks temporary and artificial, but of course the rents are high because people want to live in the city even if it means paying too much for a cardboard box. The neighborhood had great potential with the train station and its location sandwiched between Midtown and Buckhead, but it is designed for cars and not humans making it unpleasant and dead. For most, the neighborhood is a place people must drive through to get some better place.

The city that I knew that was more empty, rundown, carefree and cheap has been erased. The period of growth the city has experienced since the 1996 Summer Olympics has come at a price. Society is vastly transformed too, some for the better and some for the worse. We are not as fun loving and free-spirited as we once were and the younger generations that have followed Generation X are different. We had it better then when we could detach from technology, walk out the door and leave the telephone to be taken care of by the answering machine. We had it better then when we could not take photos of everything because we did not carry cameras in our pockets everywhere we went and film was not cheap. We committed things to human memory not a digital one. If we forgot a detail, well it must not have been that important anyway and who would have ever thought of taking a photo of their food for people to comment on later? I am certain I had some incredible meals under seductive lighting in my lifetime, but I never said to myself that I needed a photo of what I was about to chew up and digest.

Back to the election and the turmoil that has followed over concessions, the media, polls and fraud allegations. It is important to remember that political pundits will espouse whatever to continue their sham of a career to satisfy you, politicians will lie to continue sucking on the taxpayer's teat and this is as old as time itself. This too shall pass. The real people of the world, not the power brokers or the television talking heads, are the pawns and all of this gnashing of teeth on social media is for naught.