SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 231: No Drink, No Drugs, No Violence

I’ve never told you about my Las Vegas days. Born in the UK, raised in Vegas. Sort of makes me a civilized, and mostly retired, creature of the night.

For many years I had a thriving studio in “Sin City (BTW: I prefer it’s greater title of “The Entertainment Capitol of the World”).”

And from the very first day of having a driver’s license, at sixteen years old, the music scene along with its accompanying nightlife was no stranger to me.

And although I made my share of bad decision’s as well as remembered good days, what is gregariously apparent to me now, is how deeply different the life’s of today’s kids is compared to the days of my late teens and early twenties.

Things like political issues in the school system, the increase of carnage and vice in the media, and how can we overlook the social network with its bombardment of endless data.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still the same kid that I have always been, still just as silly, able to come up with fresh ideas, and have not lost my hopeless optimism. And even though I may suffer a little more knee and back pain at a youthful fifty, I’ll still hold my own against most twenty something’s on a mountain bike.

So with the pace of living in the 2012’s running faster than I assume history had ever imagined, we must question where we are heading. A brain smack that hits me square in the face every time I look at my daughter, and a thought that impassions an undeniable shortness of breath and palpitating heart.

However, I feel there is a silver lining every time I look at today youth with a ray of light. Over the last months of 365 I’ve stopped to chat with 100’s of these bearers of the future. I’ll not paint a false picture, some truly have scared the life out of me in viewing them a inheritors of the planet, while at the same time the majority have given me a glimmer of faith in their mature perspectives of what is to come and how they are going to influence the world of tomorrow.

We all see it every day, intolerance, unsubstantiated anger, greed, lust and any order of the seven deadly sins. Conditions that are aided with the ceaseless input and ease of access to the media through entertainment and the social network.

And in a society where this intoxicating and electronic pace of day-to-day events shows no signs of slowing down, where do our teens play?

Enter David, owner of Cobalt Café, rock club, meeting place and non-alcoholic venue for the rock and rollers of our new generation.

“Richard! Don’t tell me you are about to endorse a place where I would not let my kids hang out!”

Well indulge me, perhaps I am, but with good cause.

David gets it, and after twenty-one years of perfecting his club model, may I propose that what he has established an edgy safe haven of sorts.

I queue in on this as I am speaking with him outside of the venue. Tonight has drawn quite a crowd and at an early 7:00pm the line is forming. Kids of every demographic are filing into Cobalt Café, and over the thunder of rock music, David speaks up to one of his guests, “You’ll have to throw that cup away, if you want to go in.”

“It’s only Pepsi, you can smell it if you want?” is replied.

“I’m sorry!” David responds, “… there is no alcohol allowed in the club and I’ve caught too many kids trying to sneak it in, you’ll have to toss it.”

OK, I have to step off my opinion seat for a moment. I see it as clear as day, all the street parties I attended in my teens, all unsupervised, all flowing with beer and harder drink, and all ending in troubled disaster.

Kids are kids, if they rock and roll, they will rock and roll, supervised or not. And again I am not saying that this is the path of my child or a path that I am encouraging any kid to follow. But what I am saying is David is on the right side of the fight to protect our kids.

I ask him of his council for the world, “Treat others like you would like to be treated yourself.”

The “Golden Rule.” We’ve heard it from countless friends now, friends who range in all aspects of race, gender, political views, religions, age and socio economic circumstances.

David grew up in the San Fernando Valley, right next door to my wife’s neighborhood of youth. He has seen the same changes in the culture of today’s youth as I, and many of us have, and he shares the same concerns for the kids of today and for their future.

“Kids are smart these days,” David states as he introduces me to one of his regular guests.

And in my brief conversation with said guest, I witness a kid who is not intoxicated, not rebellious, or out to chaise vice of any kind. I just chat with a good kid burning off the energy of youth. And in the way David speaks of respect towards him demonstrates to me again, that this club owner of a man, has only the best of intentions for the many teens that enter the walls of his establishment.

In David’s words, “Cobalt Café give’s the kids a creative outlet.

People need to be able to be creative and to express themselves. With the cutbacks, and politics, the schools are not doing that anymore. They are doing exactly the opposite in pulling out the arts and culture.”

The future is not looking good…” David statures, “…but on the other hand, the world is getting more aware of it.

And the way the kids are connected 24/7; they are able to communicate as never before. It’s not like when I was a kid; I remember we had answering machines. That was it. It was how we stayed in touch. If we could not meet or talk, we’d leave a message and catch up when we could.

It’s way different now, and I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing.”

The question is at hand, and the stage is set. There is no way we can ignore what our youth is up against as they grow to adulthood. But one thing is certain; we all need to whatever we can to guide them well in keeping there eyes and mind towards one another and not the addictive texting keypad.

In meeting David, I am prompted to opened my views of the youth night scene, and in doing so, have challenged myself with a question. If my daughter were to stray, would I rather have her hanging on the streets, or in the Cobalt Café?

To me the answer is revealing. For in observing the young patrons at the Cobalt doors, I know that a standard prevails. A standard that is greater than the storm of vice or even worse situations.

A standard that is set by proprietor David: No Drink, No Drugs, No Violence, and definitely no disrespect for each other.

The “Golden Rule” has scored again.