When I was in sixth grade I send away for a pair of tickets to the “Rock n Roll Flea Market”, an event held at the Hotel Diplomat on 43rd street near Broadway. At the time the only option was to put cash in an envelope and mail it to an address listed in an advertisement. It worked. My tickets came back to me via that same mail system.
I waited impatiently for the day to arrive when I could go check out this event I read about and bought tickets to. I really did not know what to expect, I just wanted to be there. When the saturday in spring that I had been waiting for finally arrived, my dear father drove me to the event and spent the day with me. Ah, little did I know about parents making sacrifices for their children.
The event was mainly vendors selling records and artifacts, buttons, and promo items in a big ballroom. I bought lots of buttons and what not with the few dollars I had to spend. I spent the afternoon walking down each isle, pouring over each item at every booth and I was heaven. I wanted it all. I was determined to live the rock and roll lifestyle and this was only the beginning. In a few short years I would find out about hardcore and being right there in the midst of it, but for the time being I was still taking stabs at the arena rock world of the Rolling Stones and David Bowie.
The best part of the event was this room where they showed films. This was the MTV, which later became the You Tube, of that era. There was no place to see music videos at that time. Maybe Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert or The Midnight Special showed a few videos or film clips every Saturday night but where else? I did not know of any other avenue to see this rare and beautiful art form, other than at clubs, which I was still a year away from going to.
I was stopped in my tracks when I went into that room. People were smoking pot and drinking and it was dark but on the shanty little screen a projection glowed like an angel. The black and white grainy old film showed a hand on a guitar hitting 4 chords then it cut to the bongos…a beautiful blonde guy in shades and a suit sang into the mike while girls in the audience screamed… it was The Yardbirds doing “For Your Love.” Oh man, clip after clip blew me away. I could have stayed there for hours but my dear father was ready to go, so I reluctantly left with images that were burned into my head forever. I went back the next year and brought friends and soon outgrew the event for better, realer things, but I will always treasure being that kid who saw an ad and got the tickets and ventured into the unknown…. Thanks dad.