“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”
— Norton Juster
Dushanbe, 25 October 2019
There are events that, for one reason or another, I had forgotten or removed from my head.
Let’s say that maybe, over the years, if specific memories have not been stimulated in any way, your memory selects and deposits in a remote corner of the brain. You may not remember anything for years.
A few days ago, while I was looking at some photos from a friend of mine on Facebook, I enchanted reopened that box in my brain. The box where everything was stored- almost without my knowledge- I dare add.
The photos I was looking at were those of a concert in an indefinite place in Europe.
I don’t even remember who it was. Still, those photos that framed a rock band on a stage and thousands of humped people sweating like never before, singing and hugging each other.
If I remember correctly, these things happened just before March 2020.
Until that day, I also loved to go and see these events.
Most of the concerts I’ve seen in the last 20 years, I’ve seen them with Peter.
A very dear friend, Coventry fan, who has the same passion for live music as I do.
For years we exchanged information about new artists.
Even if we didn’t speak for a month, it happened that when we met. As been always our break conversation. It was almost inevitable that we had heard the same music during the period that we hadn’t heard or met each other.
If I were to list all the concerts we saw together, I would have to make such a long list that this post would probably get too long and you will get bored.
Let’s say that, above all, there are three concerts I love to remember.
Glastonbury together in a tent-like two teenagers. Radiohead in St Gallen in Switzerland under torrential rain and then Paul Simon in Hyde Park. To be clear, we didn’t see together this last one.
Anyway, Peter reminds me of that concert every time we see each other.
And regularly, every time, I need to remind him that we didn’t see that particularly concert of Paul Simon together.
This is happening because he ‘ doesn’t remember attending many shows until March 2020 without me.
And frankly, I don’t remember either so many concerts I have seen in the last twenty years without him.
I don’t really remember why I missed that Paul Simon tour either in reality.
Then I saw Paul Simon twice after that, but not that concert in Hyde Park in 2012, it’s not part of the long history of Peter and me attending shows together.
Maybe I lost it because of the Olympics or perhaps for some other reason, it’s a fact that I didn’t see it and how many times Peter talked about it, I think I missed something significant.
In short, these three essential concerts are in fact two that we saw together and one that I did not see, but that I remember well.
The photos on Facebook had opened my memory, my memories of the time it had once been.
Now we’ve been streaming concerts for years—artists who open unusual places for vital, often lonely and poignant shows.
You pay for an online ticket and enjoy the concert without the queue at the entrance.
Without worrying about whether it rains during the concert. And whether your return to the subway will be crowded or not.
You don’t think about finding yourself the best location and not to be overshadowed by the higher one of you.
Now you worry about Wi-Fi stability.
Check that no one bothers you on the phone while watching, prepare your food calmly for the event.
Also, you can stay in slippers and even naked if you really want to be rock’n’roll in some way during the online experience.
The beer is as fresh as you want, but the volume of the tv system can’t be as high as at the concert.
The neighbour had a child recently, and you can’t disturb them.
Maybe you put on your headphones, but what if they knock on the door and you don’t hear it?
Peter’s doing the same gig, but he’s at his house.
I’m in the capital of Tajikistan trying to isolate myself from the Virus.
How beautiful is it, we are still at the same concert in some way?
That’s nice… Uhm… But I don’t like my hands are dry, and I don’t need to leak them to dry it.
On my hands, there aren’t any drops of beer falling from the two pints I usually was carrying to reach my spot.
Pushing the backs of the people I cross on my walk back from the bar to get to Peter again at the right location.
I don’t have to stretch my neck to stick it out where I thought I remembered where it was, and I usually get lost.
I remember once, for a Paul Simon concert once again, I lost Peter.
Completely lost. No phone line and completely lost orientation.
We felt at the end of the concert, he already in the direction of Notting Hill, me towards Putney.
The Vaccine has not yet been found.
I wonder when it will be found.
It’s been nine years since March 2020, nine years since I last went to a concert with Peter.
We keep hearing the same music, we watch the same concerts, but we haven’t seen each other in years.
Sometimes we use Facetime, or Facebook, private phone, we know where we are, what we do, what we listen to and think, but we don’t see each other in person anymore.
My memory had erased all this, perhaps memory had deliberately clouded memories that knew would hurt my soul in a very profound way.
I miss those moments, those contacts, that sweat, that effort, that exchange of views with Peter and all this because people still rebel against a minimum of control, a modicum of respect for others.
Still, it would have been enough just to wash your hands, put on a mask and respect social distancing for a few months.
That’s all that would have happened, but we’re already at lockdown number 18.
… we still counting…