Something didn't quite feel right, however. I felt a little bit like a 17 year old, being excited about seeing themselves in the paper. The problem is, of course, that I am not 17. I'm a little over double that number. The Gazette managed still to sell us as a group who are 'flying high' and 'going places', therefore succeeding once more in selling us as a bunch of starry eyed teenagers.
I used to write the music column in the paper with my good friend Jimmy. We'd often complain that our many hours of work, listening to demos or going to gigs and then writing about it, was wasted because the editing team at the Gazette would set about our copy with a clumsily wielded machete and hack it into something which in no way resembled what we submitted. I was, therefore, not at all surprised to learn that the editing values still remain comically low. I began the piece as Neil Davies but ended up being Nick. Our bass player, also called Neil, suffered a similar fate. As for our song, I Know What I Know, well, I have no idea where the writer found the title it ended up with.
These issues added to my sense of acute embarrassment at being in the rag in the first place. I was, however, rather impressed with the idea that my 'usually delicate vocal' can 'bellow out at rather anti-social levels'.
All the above though, couldn't over-ride my true sentiment of genuine happiness to be back in a band that is actually doing stuff, and, doing it rather well. Being in the rag simply announces our arrival following our recent recording.
We then played at Chinnery's in Southend. You'd have thought that a Friday night gig in the top venue in our local 'seaside' resort would attract a decent crowd of music loving punters. Wrong. I've never seen Southend so dead. On the parade, the amusements played dolefully to themselves, and the tones of Oxygene glided on the breeze like a lonely ghost. It was a genuinely sad scene and probably a painful reminder of the reality of our current financial situation.
Inside the venue though, I have never felt quite so out of place, or quite such a grumpy old man.
As usual, I found myself on a bill with a group of bands who played music which in no way matched our style. We play pop songs which have dipped their fingers in water and then rammed them into the plug socket. Melody, harmony, structure, dynamics, lyrics (when I remember them) and a catchy chorus are our bag. However, we were on with some actual 17 year old bands playing Emo. Emo, for the uninitiated is a terrifying strand of rock called 'emotive rock'. Surely anything which excites or saddens can be emotive, but the genre comes with some rules, some of which are new to me.
The first rules, I knew. A purveyor of Emo must have floppy hair, which covers approximately 4/5 of the face and hang at a vicious angle. The Emo, like a goth, is grumpy, but instead of hating everyone, just hates themselves. Whilst being full of self hate, the Emo will, however, exhibit a facade of sheer arrogance, resulting in regular foul mouthed outbursts and jibes aimed at anyone slightly older. The Emo will not cheer, even when their favourite band are playing - the fact that the headline act carried their faithful fans on a journey of epic highs during the songs, they then plumbed pitiful depths in between songs as each and every fan refused to cheer or clap. It baffled me! Should this band make it big and headline at a major venue, are 30,000 people going to be silent at the end of every song? The Emo will cut off circulation to the feet wearing impossibly tight jeans (or hot pants, for the female Emo)...and that is the point that I make the transition from simply not liking something, to not liking something because I'm a little too old to understand it.
I mean, why wear jeans that tight? They can't be comfortable and the gentlemen must find the tailoring a little restrictive, unless any appendage is so small as to be unaffected, which, if this is the case, perhaps adds to the Emo's sense of unhappiness.
Then there is the music itself. I found myself saying things that I used to consider to be the misconception of the very old.
'Where is the melody? I like a proper song with a proper melody.' Grumpy old git.
'I haven't heard a proper chorus since I left the stage.' Big headed grumpy old git.
'These girls have absolutely no idea of how to dress, do they? I mean look at them!' Prudish grumpy old git.
'I bet their parents cringe every time they leave the house.' Overbearing parental grumpy old git.
'Get down off that monitor, love, this isn't the O2.' Slightly jealous that I've lost that teenage adventure grumpy old git.
'It is my considered opinion that this lot are crap.' Forgotten how crap I was at that age grumpy old git.
My biggest problem of the night though, was where to look. I couldn't stare at my own feet, otherwise I'd look like a 30-something weirdo trying to fit in with the Emo set. I couldn't look around at my own eye level for the number of teenage girls wearing very little and leaving absolutely nothing the the imagination. All denim hot pants and boobs. I ended up staring at the ceiling. I'm sure, as a 17 year old, I'd have spent most of the night with my tongue slobbering along the floor, as many of the chaps in the venue did. At one point, the female singer (screamer) of a band walked across the dance floor, and behind her, not walking but being dragged by her aura, were six salivating 17 year olds, all gooey eyes and awestruck. I felt for them, and our bassist, Nick, turned to me and said...
'I don't miss being a teenager.' I nodded in agreement. What a pair of grumpy old gits.
The point of it all is this: I used to be that teenager! I was, so I'm reliably and regularly reminded, an arrogant little sod who, although feeling deeply insecure and unsure of what I should be doing, saying or wearing, would cover any deficiencies with aggressive outbursts and bravado. Attack, I thought then, was the best form of defence. If someone was going to dislike something about me, I'd create that thing to dislike, rather than let someone actually find the reasons behind why I could be like I was. I didn't know what to wear, so I'd throw on any mis-match of clothes and therefore remove the problem and say it was all about being 'anti' whatever was happening at the time. As for my music of the time? Well, I'd have to admit it wasn't as well performed as these kids. It was powerful and certainly played with skill.
I just wish they'd have remembered to build in the odd chorus...
|Bow Flats - sharing a page with an ad for a hairdresser. Your point is...?|