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  • Writer's pictureJanette Frawley

'Rock and roll is not one music but many.'

I had started in Boston yesterday; a two-leg flight to Cleveland Ohio that had taken a lot longer than planned. Despite my first flight arriving late, and realising that I had to half-run from the last gate in one terminal to a mid-way gate in another terminal. I had just arrived in time as my boarding group was called.

Southwest Airlines is an American budget airline. RyanAir and AirAsia are both based on the success of Southwest Airlines, but they do not come anywhere near as efficient. If I have to take internal flights I tend to use Southwest because they include two pieces of luggage per person at 50llbs (22kgs), plus two pieces of hand luggage, which is almost never checked for weight. You can buy a flight in either one of four categories, but the most important element of this airline is that they have successfully refined the 'no seat allocation' concept. Instead one is given a place in a queue, which determines when you enter the aircraft, with the option of paying $20 extra for one of the first 15 people to enter the plane. Inside the terminal are posts with numbers 1-30 on one side and 31-60 on the other. According to your check-in placement, you are allocated a place in the line.

I'm a little worried that my checked suitcase won't make it on the plane, but I need not have been concerned as there was an 'incident', which leaves us sitting on the tarmac for over an hour. By incident, I mean security guards and a policeman and the removal of a person from the plane, which leads to delays because luggage has to be removed and an incident report filed. I'm not worried. I'm on the last leg of the flight and I would rather be safe.

I might mention here that everything has become extraordinarily expensive here in America, by that I mean accommodation. Ordinary hotels are charging extortionate prices and the hotels I've stayed in in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Chicago, Boston, and even Cleveland do not present value for money. My Doubletree by Hilton hotel room looks as though it has not been dusted since before COVID. I'm not joking!

I am in Cleveland for a reason; to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A mere block from the hotel, I enter the pyramid-shaped building and take the escalator down to the floor below. This is the main gallery and where I can trace the roots of rock 'n roll. It also features the cities that had a major influence on rock 'n roll, such as Memphis, Detroit, London, Liverpool, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. These are all laid out in an easy to follow timeline, along with videos, examples of the music and the wonderful artifacts that have been generously loaned or given to this museum. I wander through exhibits displaying items that once belonged to some of the best-known musicians over time, all the while showing how rock 'n roll evolved from other forms of musical expression. For three hours, I take a journey through the 20th century, listening, reading, and seeing displayed items that feature so many of the performers from my parents' record collections through to the CD collections of our daughters. From a distance the area is noisy; a cacophony of sounds, but as I step closer to watch the videos, the noise dissipates into the background. I am very satisfied with this but there is an added bonus. A Beatles exhibition 'Get Back to Let it Be' highlights some of the Beatles never-before-seen footage that had been used by Peter Jackson for a documentary he made on the Beatles. It was good to see the 'rooftop' concert, as well as some of the Hall of Fame segments that include Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. However, the one clip that I think is stunning is Prince and Tom Petty performing 'While my Guitar Gently Weeps'.

The building itself is worth noting. It rises above the shores of Lake Erie; a mix of geometric shapes anchored by a tower that supports the pyramid that is the main entrance. The building is innovative and is as much of interest as its contents.

It's a beautiful day today, blue skies, bright yellow trees, and 24 degrees Celsius. I take a walk for a while before returning to my dingy room to pack because tomorrow my road trip to Tennessee starts.

Quote: Robert Palmer

Accommodation: Doubletree by Hilton, 1111 Lakeshore Drive Cleveland, OH


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