And Then There Were None: RIP, Tommy Ramone
When the news came through last night, I poured a glass of whiskey and put on End of the Century, because I wanted to watch all of them alive and talking and and I didn’t want to have to scroll through YouTube and start curating. I just wanted to be with them for a little while.
There were no more Ramones in the world. They were all gone.
The SO sat down next to me at one point, eyes heavy, fighting sleep. I knew he was staying up with me so I didn’t stay up all night and get morose. I was already morose, however, so he might as well spare himself the pain.
“You can go to bed,” I said.
“I want to watch with you,” he said.
“I can turn it off,” I said, “I know how it ends, they all fucking DIE.”
They say that this is the curse of modern medicine, that longevity isn’t the blessing it would seem, because as you age, you lose your friends and your family and your peers and you can’t relate to the world around you. I just am not at all sure how to relate to a world without Ramones.
I am sad. I am angry. I am heartbroken. I am bereft, in the truest sense of the word. There is a hole in my heart.
The Ramones are gone and while I want to say they will never be forgotten, some days I am not so sure. I worry that people will look at bands that dress like them and think that those bands originated that style. I worry that people will listen to bands influenced by them and think that they were the originators. I worry that they will stop mattering.
Mostly, I guess, I am struggling with what will ultimately be the irrelevance of my generation, as we get older and die. When all of the people who make the art that defines you at your very core vanish, what does that mean for you?
What will be left to tether me to the planet when they all go?
N.B.: I took the top photo at my first Ramones show in Central Park in 1980. Those great Dr. Pepper Central Park Music Festival shows that cost $5, buy your tickets at Korvettes. I went to 12 of those shows that summer. It 1980, and I felt like I had MISSED EVERYTHING, and yet now I look at 1980 and think that I didn’t do too badly, you know? I shot it with an INSTAMATIC and later when I could finally take photography and get into a darkroom, I juryrigged a negative sleeve to fit the Instamatic negatives inside a 35mm frame, so I could blow it up and print it so I had something larger to put on my wall, because it was not like there were Ramones posters to buy in mass quantities. (I had not yet discovered record fairs.) It is not pretty or fancy, but it is a fine relic to have.
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