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Cory Doctorow

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

A walk back while looking ahead

Whilst I wait for my all-veggie meal bought earlier today from a local organic grocery store to heat and my partner slowly wakes up, I've been playing "Flight 666" which aired last night on VH1 Classic.  The documentary follows the band Iron Maiden around the world (40,000 miles - like a season of "The Amazing Race" with a heavy metal soundtrack) last year as they played to arenas large and small.

While watching the all-too-brief clip of the song "Fear of the Dark" from the movie, the most obscure memories wafted up from the darkest recesses of my mind.  Nearly 25 years ago, I attended my first rock concert.  Twisted Sister opened for Iron Maiden at the now just a memory itself Capital Centre in Largo MD.  I remembered where I sat (stage right, loge level just a couple of rows up from the balcony) and, odd as this feels to write, the song I'd never heard before (Fear . . ) in a town I'd never visited (Buenos Aires) awoke the memory of the smell of the arena in the midst of Maiden's set.

The smells in that arena that night were a tapestry of cold, night air (even though the arena was indoor, I could smell cold night air wafting in through the large, garage-style openings on the floor), testosterone, sweat, marijuana (the first and last time I ever smelled it and liked it. Since then, it's always smelled of sweet sewer water to me), darkness in the area meshed with lights from the lighters in the audience and lights to and from the stage.  Subtle shades of vendor style beer, popcorn and soda mingled with the other scents like perfume from a woman's wrist on a Saturday night date.  It was the smell of freedom, celebration . . . 

and rock and roll.

Enjoy this version of "Fear of the Dark", which (here are the lyrics) I'll dedicate to all those right-wingers fanning the flames of fear themselves as of late in all of the town hall meetings this month around the country.  A little sad to say that politics did not entirely leave my mind as I ambled down memory lane tonight.  However, I have my past to thank for how far I've come since then.  

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