Like many kids born in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I grew up watching Star Trek on television. My first memories consist of watching the show in syndication on a tiny color TV in the living room of my family’s apartment. I was too young to understand most of the dialogue, and it wasn’t until many years later that the social issues Star Trek was known for confronting began to affect me. I just loved the stories and characters.
I had action figures, trading cards, toy phasers and tricorders. Every yellow, red or blue shirt I owned reminded me of someone from the series, and when I wore them, I was them. Of course, I was enamored with Captain Kirk, and any imaginary game played with friends starred me as the handsome, strong, awesome Captain of the Enterprise. I had a toy robot who became the mister Spock to my Kirk when no friends were about, and I would invent missions, planets, obstacles for us to overcome. We had some intense conversations and adventures.
In my mind, the people on the television show weren’t just actors playing a role. All of them, right down to ensign redshirt who was about to die on planet X were not acting out a script, they really were the characters they portrayed. I wasn’t foolish. I knew the difference between fiction and reality. It was just extremely easy to surrender myself, to believe what I was watching was actually unfolding.
The series inspired me, not to become a scientist or an explorer, but to create. Looking back, all my early writing (before I was 12) was loosely based on the Star Trek world with a dash of Battlestar Galactica and a dose of 1970’s Salt Lake County.
I no longer write much science fiction, but I still owe my creative desire to the wonderful Star Trek stories that filled my childhood with adventure and wonder, and the actors who made those people real for me.
Today, I learned of the passing of Leonard Nimoy. I never met him, never sent him a letter or interacted with him on social media, and beyond the interactions he personally chose to share with all of us, had no personal connection to him outside of his role on Star Trek. Still, perhaps selfishly, I mourn his passing. I feel sorrow for his family, for the pain they must be experiencing. Also, I mourn what I have lost, and while the memories of my young self remain intact, they feel forever altered knowing that Spock is really gone. I can’t help but feel as if part of my early childhood has gone away with him.
Two things happened this past weekend. First, I visited Seattle for the first time. Second, I traveled to a city not my own for the purpose of seeing a rock show. I did drive all the way to Wisconsin once, and while I was there, attended a show, but my purpose for going to Wisconsin was to see friends. The show was an added bonus.
I am a sucker for big cities and the ocean, which makes it all the more strange that I have never been to Seattle before. I loved the quirky streets, the people all dressed in almost the same color tones, same styles, the crazy traffic, and hot beverages that almost seemed to be a required accessory.
I even enjoyed the winter gloom, the constant misting haze (maybe because we had a Monday like the photo, where the sun came out and let me have this view), and the always about to get wet feeling that permeated each walk.
We did some touristy things. Visited the Public Market, bought too many bakery goods, too much really good cheese, and spent a good hour or two perusing used books.
Because it was Super Bowl weekend, and the Seahawks were playing, hardly anyone was out and about on Sunday. Many of the shops closed early. Some didn’t open at all. With so few people, we were able to sample foods that some of the locals out and about told us usually had lines down the street.
Sheryl was able to try some delicious sea food, and I sampled some local beer as well as get a pretty decent hamburger.
We walked most places the first two days, having found a hotel within walking distance of not only the downtown area, but the venue for the concert as well. It was good for me, as while I am a capable driver, I don’t enjoy driving in large cities all that much. I worry I’ll be the fool going the wrong way on a one way street, and in Seattle, that was very, very possible.
The Show was held at Neumos, a very eclectic and fun club. Doors were set to open at 8, and not knowing if the crowd would be huge or non existent (the headliner, Hemls Alee, is a local band), We left our hotel at 7:40. This offered enough time to walk the 1/4 mile and be there before the doors opened.
We approached the venue, and I started to feel my usual pre-concert nervousness. I was plowing forward, Sheryl just behind me and to my left. On my right, I vaguely noticed a bouncer looking fellow (6’5, 240 pounds, wearing all black, arms folded) and a woman standing next to him, smoking. It was dark, I was in a strange town, I really wasn’t paying attention.
I heard the woman say, “hey” and I turned. It was Emma Ruth Rundle. If she had not said something, I would have blown right by, completely missing the chance to talk to one of the musicians I had traveled to see.
I stopped, said hello. We chatted for a minute, talked Seattle, where I was from (as she knew I had flown in for the show) and how the band appreciated the support. Funny enough, that meant the world. I love Marriages, and Emma’s solo record was my favorite album last year. I want everyone to enjoy the music, and I share it every chance I get. I don’t do it for recognition or out of any other motive beyond turning others on to some fantastic musicians, powerful music. Still, when the effort is appreciated, and when it is recognized, you can’t help but feel pretty damn good.
Sheryl and I continued on, realizing that no one, and I mean no one was waiting to get inside. We went to get some coffee (you always have to have coffee) and wait. I use a pour-over device at home for making my morning coffee, but these people…wow. Scales and measures, a precision I had never considered. It was some good coffee, though I’d have to compare the same blend done a different way to see the real differences.
We made our way across the street and back to the club just before 9. Maybe 100 people were already in the venue (by the time Marriages took the stage, it was very full), and almost right on time, the show started. The first band, Grenades, were pretty loud, and while I love the metal, the screaming and guttural vocals were a bit unexpected. They put on a good show, played the right amount of songs, and got out of the way.
Marriages were next. Really, really, really clean set. The sound was amazingly clear and the musicianship spot on. I could watch them perform every day and not get bored. After their set, Helms Alee took the stage. What an absolutely ferocious band. They played with so much energy. If you want to see a drummer put her entire heart and soul into her instrument, watch Hozoji play! The woman can’t weigh more than 70 pounds, and she plays amazing with power and precision. I couldn’t look away. Sadly, she was so far back on the stage that any photo or video I took failed.
I was also able to speak to the Drummer for marriages, Andrew Clinco. He was walking by during the Helms alee set and noticed me. He stopped, thanked me for the support and for flying up to see the band play. I was so blown away that my small efforts to support the band were noticed, that I was left pretty much speechless. I did manage to get out a thank you.
It is one thing to approach a band member and have them thank you, especially when you feel like you are the one grateful for the music, but to be noticed in a crowd of people in a darkly lit venue, or on the street when you pass by is too flattering for words.
And because I think you all need to listen to and adore Marriages, here is link- http://marriagesband.com/music
On Monday, we met up with some friends who live near Seattle. Heather and Tobin showed us about town, taking us to record stores, book stores, delicious restaurants and to places about town where I got photos like the one on the left.
I am grateful for these friends, who took time out to show Sheryl and me around. They were infinitely patient as I thumbed through stacks of albums and most likely thousands of books.