Monday 7 November 2011

Tat, Scarves and the Cocteau Twins

Nick Hornby writes in Fever Pitch, It was probably for this reason that I was so intrigued by her tastes and whims, and fancies, and her belongings induced in me a fascination for girls’ rooms that continued for as long as girls had rooms and I understand what he means. Fear not, I’m not tapping this out on some pink laptop by the light of a taped penlight. For reasons of Christmas I was checking what lurked in what packed boxes still the other day, and in one I found Q’s room. This does not mean she has a box to which she might retreat, for it is a box with little space in it, but one that smells of sandal wood, or jasmine, or whatever the hell that incense is that smells like girls did when you were a much younger man.
It’s true to say that even back then, then really being the 80s, the early 90s then just as music was finally getting a lot – a lot – better then so too were girls. The quality of both improves quite markedly between, say, sixteen and twenty-one. It couldn’t be us could it? Surely not, not with our records in a cardboard box and our tapes, our C90s with every album ever recorded, ever, taped, as long as every album is by Tull, Rush, Zeppelin and anything else from the 70s that got us through the 80s.
No in this box was a girl’s room. Boy’s rooms were not so nice. True we paid less attention perhaps to hygiene and similarly so girls had the funny idea that the only thing to constitute an ashtray, was the ashtray. Indeed, they had an ashtray. It was normally a pub ashtray in the same way that apart from one faded Danger Mouse mug the boy’s flat would otherwise have only many, many pint glasses from which to drink. Girl’s decorated everything with floaty scarves like everything was Stevie Nicks. They had small tape decks that played only the Cocteau Twins. They had bits of tat, of glass, or ornamental things, junk jewellery and a single copy of a single book. Greer, or The Unbearable Lightness, or bloody Mists of bloody Ava-bloody-lon. And their rooms would smell nice, and be all half lit, and of course there would always be a girl there (and let’s not be coy, young skinny-people’s sex too).
In contrast and despite owning far more stuff, boy’s rooms were far emptier. Tapes, records, a lot of paperbacks, and quite often the girl you were meant to be with. That was back home though, now, now. We were all young once. Or some of us were. Actually, a few of us were.
And all this was in this box. Bits of wonderful tat that boys don’t understand because they don’t do anything. Scarves and mirrors, random things for putting joss sticks in, and joss sticks. Ribbons and pins, a Strawberry Switchblade single and a single tape deck, and only one poster, The Cure or Alien Sex Fiend doutbless.
But what wasn’t in this box was the girl, because back home and she’s there already.
But snakebite still does not and never should have, black in it.    


  1. "Bits of wonderful tat that boy’s don’t understand because they don’t do anything".

    Absolutely. Nail. Head. I could never work out, in halls of residence, how girls got through the day with just five LPs and two books, but sixteen different mirrors, a mobile made out of parts of an (Rob, look away now) album cover they'd cut up, and four hundred jumpers (all mohair and with those delightfully long sleeves they'd poke their thumbs through the ends of). But it was Wales, and we needed jumpers. Not as much as we needed our Hawkwind collections, though.