Small joys — really small.
When I was 13, Napster was It. There was nothing like it, and we used it for everything from chatting to downloading (I’m sorry, you meant, “sharing”?) to flirting online with your first love, tiptoeing around social niceties and the wonders and horrors of the Internet, strange and new as it all was (and all together at one go!). The rest, they say, is history.
History has a way of repeating itself. So, when I was 14, I scrambled to get every video I could find. DVD? No such thing yet (I think). VCD? Concert footage? Pink Floyd? Led Zeppelin? Dire Straits? The Eagles? All in the days of their being wild, being young, in the days before I was even young. Still I watched. I collected. I remembered. I sometimes think, it must have been from there, watching close-ups of all these great players picking away expertly at their guitars, tugging at my heartstrings as surely as they were right here in front of me, that I began to think that I could only love those whose fingers were in the right places, whose tastes in music were in the right eras. Namely, that great period of rock, in which I (and them) was conveniently not born: the 1970s and 1980s. It is funny how we always think we love more those things we cannot see.
So, there was this one video. Memorable mainly because at that time (and those times after), it reminded me of a boy who could play just like that. But the boy came and left, and the crackly moving video remained, and from time to time I would re-watch it and let the music, those fingers, the smiles and the way they sounded the damn bloody same — take me away. It was 1977, in Houston, the Capital Theatre. Rehearsing Seven Bridges Road, rushing into the concert hall. Don Henley, sounding the same as he did 35 years ago as he does today. The drums. Glenn Frey. But those two guitars. Those two guitars.
My computer crashed when I was 16. I found it again, which was easy in the days when these things were easy to find. I watched it during those cold days in Tilburg when the snow was outside my window and my mind still felt frozen. When I came back in 2009 my computer crashed again. But six years later, reality has set in and these things are no longer as easy to find as they used to be.
Once in a while, when the urge takes me, I continue the search. There are many videos of them in 1977, some even taken by a member of the audience of that very same live show. But I’ve watched it so many times, too many times, to know that it was not That Video.
Until today, when the urge took me again. I don’t know why it took me so long. But I found it. I Found It. It’s one of those things, you know? It’s like the times where you think in your head about what is going to happen when Love #1 pops up in front of you and asks you about what’s going to happen from here. What is it that you really want? What do you want to do?
I don’t know. I don’t know. Don’t know where I’m going, not going where I’ve gone. You can’t travel old roads, but you sure as hell can keep them in sight.