This week I saw Monty Python perform live. I was thousands of miles away at the time, so I was not only not in the room with them, I wasn’t even on the same continent. Not that they were on a continent. They were in England, which is an island, but, well… You know what I mean. Because of the distance, I watched them in a movie theater, broadcast up on the big screen, so really, performance-wise, it wasn’t any different then if it had been recorded in advance.
Yet I put value on it being live, and on it having an element of artificial scarcity.
God tells me that the value comes from the same part of my brain that handles nostalgia. She said it’s the same part of me that values memories of having been to Old Faithful over having seen professionally produced film that showcase the geyser in ways that merely being there can’t match. But was particularly odd about this, she said, was that I was putting together a sort of memory stew in my brain, mixing in bits and pieces from having seen the Monty’s so many times before. Memories from seeing their TV show, from having gone to their movies, from hearing them on the radio and from when I did see them live and in-person at the Hollywood Bowl. So, yeah, nostalgia. Nostalgia for what had come before but also fresh nostalgia, created there on the spot for what was happening right in front of me even though it was happening a third of the way around the world.