It’s a hell of a valentine’s day. Normally I don’t care for the naysayers that decry some measure of expense when really there no need for any at all (other than a bottle or two of wine and the ingredients for a meal when after all you have to eat anyway). But not only is it valentine’s day, but this is the first such day in thirty years I’ve actually been single! Golly, I was fourteen when last that was the case on this particular day and here I am with Gimme Shelter playing - and as it happens twice the normal cards since each of my daughters made one for me.
Music don’t fail me now!
It’s a quote from Empire Records that music is the glue that holds the world together, and I understand what is meant there. What else is it that has such a history of showing that we are more than mere beasts? Music is important, and I have so very little of it. I just didn’t have the cash for records when records were what there was, not to the extent that I’d would have liked to. I never really got on with CDs either, crappy little boxes without the love of the LP. I’ve got mates that have big record collections. I’ve got one that owns all the records, all of them, and yet will always have all the others still to find. I miss gigs, and saying this I’m not a proper music fan, not really. Not enough. I’m not sure I really managed to look out the window much since we stopped having lots of tapes. I liked tapes. They were killing music you know, so it’s probably my own fault.
Yet I was lucky in music, because I was born at exactly the right time.
You probably weren’t; sorry about that.
I did not know this when I was a teenager, because when I was a teenager music was shit. That’s a technical phrase, use it and you’ll look like you know of what you speak. My teens were almost exactly, precisely, the 80s. And though I’ve met people of my generation who look back on the music of the 80s with fond memories they are, and still are, wrong. I spent my teens as far as music was concerned in the 70s, and some of the 60s. Inevitably first with rock, some prog, and then into punk. It was all over before I even got to listen to it. I’m still astonished that my parents who were young enough to have been to go and see Led Zep without looking too silly never did.
And why is this? How can I make such a claim?
Because right in the early 90s I was in my early twenties. Right when I was young, and slim, and roguishly good looking music got fucking good. That’s also a technical phrase. Stop me if I’m getting a bit complex. Bands that came up through the 80s such as Chumbas, NMA, and the Poppies eased into everything else that happened. All at the same time there was the crusty boom with the likes of the Levellers. RDF would play the local pubs. Poppies toured a lot, there was Senser and Back To The Planet playing in any park that stood still long enough. And I’m not just talking about the scruffy scene. There were the Stone Roses. the Charlatans, the Happy Mondays. There was grunge, with Pearl Jam and Faith No More. Even pop music was good, pop music was Republika, Elastica, Blur and Oasis, the KLF. These and so many more, an embarrassment of riches after years of it looking like the guitar had been replaced for ever by the synth. There were festivals, all the time. There was acid house and the rave culture and for a time everyone, but everyone had an in somewhere, and that somewhere once you werethere , whichever way you looked, the music was just fine thank you. And your early twenties is the best age to love it all. Not just that bit too old to really think yourself a bit silly, nor too young to worry and not be confident enough to get out there and drown in it.
There was also Pulp, and there was also Suede. And Suede I didn’t like. Everyone else was bouncy and energised whilst Suede dribbled on for those that surrounded by all the good things in life wanted to wallow in their own remorseless belly buttons. Pulp were just clever, and we all one day sort of confessed we liked Pulp daring others to say otherwise, only to find that everyone sort of sneakily did too.
But what you probably don’t want to do, if say you’re at a friend’s exhibition around that time and have made a firm attack on all the free beer, is to wander up to Brett Anderson of Suede and tell him exactly why he is just plain letting the side down compared to everyone else. Or you can, but probably not like me then realise about an hour later that the person you had buttonholed was actually Jarvis Cocker.
Yeah, don’t do that.
If you do that it all gets taken away from you. You get boy bands instead.
So sorry, that was probably my fault...