Memories are made of paper.

Well, at least they used to be. Those much-coveted tickets for that gig you’ve been waiting so long to see, that show you’ve heard so much about, that sporting event you so much want to be a part of.

Following a two-year break due to covid restrictions, over the last few months I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a number of live events, from The Rolling Stones and Sam Fender, to several football matches and theatre productions. In previous years I’ve always liked to hold onto tickets as a tangible reminder of the occasion.

What can I say, it’s the way I am. But not anymore.

These days it’s all about downloading a QR code onto your phone that is scanned at the event and then deleted away into QR oblivion. It’s quick; generally, and efficient. It is completely cold and yes, I’m going to go and say it, soulless; without character or the capacity to excite. 

And it is also without the capacity for memories. You won’t look back on a QR code in years to come (even if you had the chance) and say wow, that was the best night ever.

It’s all a part of the general homogenisation of life, as experiences are there simply to paste on social media to show off where you are or have been to, quickly getting ‘liked’ as they move onto the next post waiting in line for someone’s fleeting attention.

Unlike a ticket, a code on a phone is intangible. Unlike a ticket, it wasn’t there. It didn’t que up with you. It doesn’t remind you of the thrill when those tickets you’d sent away for in earnest hope landed in the post and you would hold them gleefully knowing full well they were the golden passage to something that is going to be wonderful and memorable.

It doesn’t have folds like battle scars when you stuffed it in your pocket as you weaved yourself into a great spot near the stage, it doesn’t have a lager stain on when someone accidentally knocked your drink, or have great artwork representing that iconic artist or tournament. It doesn’t make you smile, bring back thoughts of people or places, the excitement felt in the build-up with the people you shared it with.

Such as 2004, a trip made with my likewise Wimbledon fanatic sister Jane watching a balletic Roger Federer on Centre Court on the brink of his second Wimbledon title. We have Tina Turner, third row, transfixing me at the peak of her powers with an energetic young Bryan Adams as support.

Two London Wembley Stadium events, one in 1978 watching my much beloved Liverpool Football Club be crowned Champions of Europe for the second successive year.

And a glorious sun-kissed Independence Day 1985, the day before my birthday and just three weeks after passing my driving test, absorbing and soaking in the glory days of Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, the memory of myself and my other sister Sandra wandering in awe down the players tunnel – and notice the torn battle scar made on the day that for ticket nerds like myself, blesses it with authenticity.

So yes, I will always miss the ticket. I forget the long hours physically queuing, the crush of disappointment of being told all the tickets have gone. I forget the envelope with my cheque returned because all of that, all of it, was preferable to today’s online world where your excitement is manipulated by monstrous agencies like Ticketmaster as they lead you in as ticket prices rise like an Apollo rocket before your very eyes.

When I am gone all my paper tickets will be found and discarded by someone as a relic and that’s fine. Until then I will look at them and smile as a world of memories takes me back to a time the QR drones of today could never be a part of. And I pity them for it.


  1. Oh, Paul I so agree with you! I went to a concert last weekend and as you said, all we had were electronic tickets saved to a wallet on my phone. It can’t be denied phones are very convenient, but they have stolen so much from us. No more tickets, fewer tangible pictures, lack of privacy and downtime, too many “friends”, and our memories don’t work as well as they did before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tickets are a souvenir of a, hopefully joyful experience, and the people who you may have shared it with. And of course, a collective experience with a host of strangers all with at least one thing in common.

      The downloaded ‘ticket’ can never emotionally replace a ticket, even one which we may download and print off. Mobile smart phones have their benefits, but you’re right, they also take away many other things.


  2. A ticket is a tangible object that provides a memory. I don’t think I have any concert tickets, but I have a Super Bowl ticket. I haven’t priced that lately, but I know they are collectibles. Still, I can’t see myself selling it. It was a father/son moment that will stay with me forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know much about American football Pete but I know a Super Bowl ticket is up there with the most prized of all sporting tickets. Given the emotional connection with your son you couldn’t put a price on it even if you considered doing so. I’m glad you still have it. I have a couple of tickets, one for a major soccer final and another for a Steve Earle gig were I have both mine and my Dad’s ticket, and I would never let them go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I love your writing!
    I also love to save my tickets. In South Africa, because a lot of people still don’t have smart phones, we still print out tickets out so I hadn’t processed what it would mean when that comes to an end. You do have the option of saving it on your phone but I prefer to print it out so that I can save them.
    I will treasure those printed tickets even more though after reading your post. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really pleased I’ve influenced you to keep your tickets, that’s so good to hear. And thank-you for being kind about my writing, delighted you liked the post, thank-you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wish I’d kept some of the tickets I had, especially from the 1980s, but I have the programmes that help bring back wonderful memories of events, Paul. Of course, there are photos too, and the screensaver on my computer helps bring back many memories. I wonder if the programmes are worth as much as the tickets?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Would you sit in a deck chair, outside of your favourite football ground, in pouring rain, waiting for a third round F.A. Cup ticket, because your team had drawn one of the big boys in the third round? I’m afraid QR codes have stolen these opportunities, Paul. I had my first experience of QR tickets earlier this year at a Buzzcock’s gig. I spent hours trying to fathom out the technology. Got there in the end. It didn’t come near to the sound of a letter box clicking and the excitement of finding an envelope of tickets on a hallway floor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right Davy, it doesn’t replace that thrill of tickets arriving through the post. And in answer to your question, no, it’s probably unlikely I would sit in a deck chair in the pouring rain. As a supporter, through thick and only occasionally thin, of one of the big boys I’m probably spoilt in that respect. And only now am I getting used to the new technology which unlike the tangible ticket, can break down sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I suppose it depends on the artist, the kudos around the gig and the condition of the programme, but I’m no expert on it. It’s good that you kept the programmes however, I’ve still got several tucked away in a cupboard! Perhaps I’m just a hoarder after all!


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