Sunday, June 10, 2012

The past exists in our heads alone. I have to keep reminding myself that, especially I as I sit here and watch music videos from my youth. It's funny how I remember, and crave, the nervous excitement I felt walking into a club or gig. The newness, the potential and the unknown were intoxicating. Or so I remember. But here's the thing, there were lots of other emotions, bad ones, that I felt in those situations as well. This ability to self edit the past is called recall bias. It can work both ways, shading what we remember into something better or worse than it actually was. Short of recording our experiences as soon after it happens as possible there's no defence against it. (The Cure's "Inbetween Days" just came on, holy shit this show is pushing my buttons.) Our memories are not a video tape that gets played back exactly the same way every time we access them. (Now it's Elvis Coztello's "Pump it Up"). Memory is more like an old actor whom we wake up and he reenacts the scene as best he can. In light of the bias and inherent inaccuracy of our recall (Edwyn Collins "A Girl Like You", humph I never knew who did that song. Here's to learning things!) the only thing to do is to enjoy the amusment park ride when we end up on a positive memory lane, and go do something new as a distraction when it takes a turn for the dark and distressing. And with that I'm going to now go dance around the lounge room to "I Ran". I'll leave it to you to decide if that's a distraction or celebration. ;)


lex said...

It's so different now. Back in the day, a show would come into town and perhaps you'd heard a few songs from the headliner at someone's place. I went to see a lot of good bands more or less by accident in the 80s, mainly because that's what my friends were doing.

Nowadays you can listen to any band's material on Youtube. No surprises at all.

Memory is more like an old actor whom we wake up and he reenacts the scene as best he can.

Excellent analogy.

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