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Feeling Old in a Good Way - Riffs and Licks
Feeling Old in a Good Way
Last night I Netflixed (it's not quite renting, is it?) a film I haven't seen since it was on TV when I was a kid: The French Connection. Filmed in 1971, it really brought back my childhood: the so-called "New Look" buses that were "the old ones" by the time I was a teenager; the black-and-white police cars with the gumball-machines on top; wooden turnstiles; yellow-and-black street signs in Manhattan and black-and-white street signs in Brooklyn; the subway cars I now think of as "redbirds,' not only before they were painted red, but before they were covered with the graffiti whose removal led to the red paint scheme.

Subway graffiti digression...
I was at the press conference in 1986 when Koch and then-MTA-director David Gunn proudly announced that they'd cleaned half the subway fleet of graffiti. Koch or Gunn, I forget which, was supposed to ceremonially wipe the last bit of magic marker off of a car. So we're standing on the (rather narrow) platform at City Hall, unusually lit by all the TV lights, watching the ceremony, with the center of attention the newly cleaned train on the local tracks. And what comes in on the express track but a downtown IRT express, completely covered in burners and scribble and looking like its previous stop was on the set of Escape From New York. So of course all the cameras whirl to get a shot of the Mayor and the graffiti-scarred train (at which point a WPIX cameraman almost knocked me, a lowly print reporter, onto the tracks) and from the look on David Gunn's face you knew every dispatcher on that line was going to be working nights in the South Bronx the next week.

On similar note, shunn made a great mix tape of mid-90s new music, all dating to 1994-97. Most of the bands on the CD (it's not a tape, for dog's sake, talk about showing your age) -- Radiohead, Cornershop, No Doubt -- are bands I still think of as "new."

Now, I got my first Beatles album in 1976: Yellow Submarine. At the time, it was the same age as the music on that mix tape. Last time I was in England I saw Duran Duran's reunion performance on the Brit Awards, and again: their first hit was 22 years ago. When I bought the 45 of "Hungry Like the Wolf," 22-year-old music would have been Bob Dylan's first album, Bobby Darin, Patsy Cline, and the first of Elvis' soundtrack albums. So what once seemed like ancient history is now time that I lived through and remember quite well.

But that's the good part of growing old, at least in my book. Having a sense of history, knowing what went before, so that the memories of how things used to be color your view of what still is. In a good way.

Tags: ,
Current Music: "The Revolution Starts Now," Steve Earle

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From: (Anonymous) Date: September 14th, 2004 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Feeling old in a good way

Sharing one's memories with others who experienced the same events but formed their own personal views enriches that sense of growing old; even better is sharing with younger family members who are truly interested in "the way things were."
rubytramp From: rubytramp Date: September 29th, 2004 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG! Those buses! Gah!

Is it bad that a tiny little piece of me misses the Times Square (and rest of NY) of Taxi Driver?

Yes, it is. I know it is.

*Hangs head in shame*

May I friend you?
rubytramp From: rubytramp Date: September 29th, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh and dude Steve Earle! Did you see him last winter at Carnegie Hall? He played the Emmy Lou tribute and was wonderful. My boyfriend sort of kind of knows him.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: September 29th, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
He does? That's very cool. For some reason I have never managed to see one of his shows, although I did catch him as part of the Tell Us The Truth tour earlier this year.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: September 29th, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG! Those buses! Gah!
Did you notice that the bus in the photo is a 1965 model?
Is it bad that a tiny little piece of me misses the Times Square (and rest of NY) of Taxi Driver?
I think it's possible to miss things without wanting them back, if that makes sense. I am glad that I'm old enough to remember them, and the chain-store tourist-traps on 42nd Street do make me long for Ratso Rizzo to limp along and scare off the nice ladies in polyester pants, but would we really want the NYC of the 70s back again? It's like childhood: I do miss it, but would I give up everything I've learned and done to have it back? I don't think so.
May I friend you?
Oh please do!

rubytramp From: rubytramp Date: September 29th, 2004 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Friended back.

I know we idealize a lot from our childhood. I certainly don't want to have to live through another summer like the Summer of Sam - that was some bad shit but I guess it's the idea of a gritty, dirty New York I miss. I was born and raised in the beautiful Bronx and with the dirt and the crime I had the Ramones, WNEW, WPLJ, the old TV stations (rememeber Wonderama and the old channel 5 news?), the Mudd Club, Run DMC, and so much more. I miss the joy of discovering all of those things.

And a 1965 model bus! Hee - I might have to theft that photo and resize into an avatar.
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