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When I was younger, I went to a lot of concerts.
Big, loud, heavy metal concerts.
The sort of shows where – like the photo above – 50% of the stage was taken up with amplifiers.
It was impressive, intimidating and exciting all at the same time.
So of course, when I started playing the guitar, I wanted to have something similar so over the years, I started amassing amplifiers.
Big ones. Small ones. Speakers. Amp Heads. You name it, I had it.
So you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I got a bit older and realised that I had been sold a lie.
What do I mean?
I mean this …
Yes, all those stacks of amplifiers I saw at the concerts of my favourite bands were often either not turned on or – even worse – fake.
I remember at the time it bothered me quite a lot – especially as I had spent a fortune acquiring about 40 amps by that time, including a bunch of ludicrously big [6 feet tall] and heavy Marshall Stacks – however I also remember coming to the realisation that without them, the whole live experience would have lost some of it’s magic because seeing a band live wasn’t about hearing them replay their records on stage, it was about giving you a night of entertainment.
[Unless you saw Genesis, which was absolutely about playing their songs on stage. Exactly as they were recorded. Yawn]
And here’s the thing.
As much as we know magicians don’t really have supernatural powers and rockstars don’t really throw televisions out of every hotel window and guitarists don’t really use 50 amplifiers on stage … we choose to ignore it because we’re addicted to the feeling of emotional escape.
Maybe it’s because we love the idea there is something bigger than us … maybe it’s because we all want to believe in the impossible … maybe it’s simply because we are living vicariously through the perceived/hyped/imagined actions and behaviours of others … but there are occasions and situations where we are all complicit in the lies we choose to believe.
Maybe this is one of the reasons some brands are able to command a level of loyalty that defies all logic.
Not because they’re great storytellers, but because the story they tell – or represent – is one that we choose to suspend our belief over, because we want to believe in their ridiculousness and implausibility.
It makes us feel better.
It lets us spiritually escape.
It emotionally entertains.
Which kind-of explains why some people are so obsessed with religion, cosmetic companies and Nottingham Forest.
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