They don't make 'em like they used to....
By Strings Direct – 29 August, 2023
My mum recently asked me to go back home and go through all of my old things. For years my parents had kindly been storing a lot of my old stuff. I say kindly storing, I just left it all behind when I moved out and never went back for it! But the time had finally come for my things to make way for scatter cushions and potpourri as my old bedroom was to become the spare room for guests. Right after I got over the shock that the prospect of my old room being turned into a shrine of me was no longer on the cards, I had to make a start on sieving through my old crap. Having left home about ten years ago, I was pretty certain I didn't need most of it and a lot of the items would have held little significance.
What was meant to be a fifteen minute exercise, quickly became a three hour rabbit hole of nostalgia. The thing that distracted me most was a folder full of my old gig tickets I had kept over the years. Ever since I was young, I was a little bit of a hoarder...nothing too weird just little mementos from what I considered were special occasions. Gig tickets were one of these things. What I had stumbled across were hundreds of tickets from sporting events,concerts and comedians. They were all there, even the ticket from my very first gig I saw with my brother (Incubus, Wembley Arena 2002)...tell a lie, my first gig was actually 'New Kids on the Block' at the now demolished London Arena, but we won't dwell on that! It was so nice to see tickets from gigs that I had completely forgotten about. Granted there were some that were very forgetful, but during my trip down memory lane there were moments of "Oh my god! How could I have forgotten about that gig?" or "I remembered when so and so supported them that night!"
[caption id="attachment_917" align="alignleft" width="300"] My Prince ticket from The O2 is one I was really happy to see again. Check out that price too...£34.71. A steal compared to today's gig prices for seeing superstars.[/caption]
Then there were the more decorative tickets in there too. For some of their bigger shows, bands and promoters really seemed to go 'all out' and produce tickets that looked like collectors items or memorabilia. Seeing all the ticket stubs got me thinking; "Tickets like these will soon be a thing of the past." The days of the physical ticket are fast becoming phased out and being replaced with a digital barcode on your phone. Sure you have the option to print them out at home, but for me it just doesn't seem the same. Given the chance, I do always request the tickets to be sent out. I know, I know!..tickets are expensive enough nowadays, why would you want to pay extra unnecessarily! Call me sad but there's just something about having that ticket and being able to keep it afterwards and say, "I was there!" I certainly can't deny the convenience digital tickets bring to the table. There's certainly peace of mind in knowing you don't have to check your pockets every five minutes to make sure you still have them. Or worse, you're relying on that friend who simply can't be relied on to remember his own name let alone your tickets for the gig. That being said, having those old tickets in my hand really evoked fond memories and reminded me of some of the fantastic evenings I had been privileged to witness those brilliant bands or artists, a few of who have now sadly passed away.[caption id="attachment_916" align="alignright" width="300"] RIP Chris Cornell. Glad I kept hold of this one![/caption]
Unfortunately, I just don't get that warm fuzziness anymore by scrolling through my phone with a longing stare at those weird square barcodes - most of which I just tend to delete now. Whilst I don't condone it, perhaps that's why people feel so compelled to get their camera phones out at the earliest opportunity at gigs nowadays...is it just their way of clinging onto a little piece of that night? Whilst a paper ticket is far less technological, I can assure you I got far more enjoyment looking through that folder than I ever have watching back a horrendously recorded video that simply didn't do the occasion justice.
With the increase in popularity of ticket exchange websites such as StubHub or Viagogo, it makes obtaining last minute tickets so easy which in turn makes the process of buying and selling physical tickets appear much more of a headache in comparison. I remember buying my Prince tickets on eBay the day before the show. Ten years ago, there were no ticket exchange sites - instead I had to put my faith in humanity and pray this guy hadn't screwed me over. Luckily, he met me outside the tube station and I'm lucky enough to still have the ticket to remind me of the incredible perfomance of showmanship I was able to witness that night.
This topic can be likened to the argument of preferring physical CD's over digital music. Whilst it's great to have all your music at your fingertips, there's something quite romantic about holding an album in your hands, opening it up to reveal the gleaming CD and reading the sleeve notes inside. This is of course a separate discussion altogether, but I remember thinking "Yeah whatever!" when hearing somebody older than me say "oh they don't make them like they used to!" Well I'm afraid to say that I seem to have become that very person and have to admit, they may have been onto something y'know!
Are you like me and like to keep your old tickets? Are there any standout gigs you went to see or cool ticket stubs that you have kept and treasure? Comment below we'd love to hear from you.