Friday, December 30, 2005


Er, this post sort of turned out to be My Terribly Dull Life Story. Frankly I would advise you to switch off now and go and do something more exciting instead, like write your thank you letters to Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin.

Sorry for writing so much about music at the moment, but I’ve had a lot of catching up to do, you see. Once upon a time, I was one of two music editors of my uni’s student magazine (all copies of which have thankfully been lost), which entailed getting in free to lots of gigs and being sent lots of indie-rock albums in the post. As if this wasn’t good enough, I once got to interview opium-tinged American goth rockers My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. And EMF once said hello to me*. So you can see these were halcyon days indeed.

After that it all went a bit wrong**. I ditched my whole indie-chick thing and became a raver. When spending entire weekends in a field making complicated hand movements, reaching for the lasers and talking hackneyed nonsense about becoming a Buddhist started to seem like a bit too much hassle, I elected to spend my weekends instead in London’s techno and trance clubs, making complicated hand movements, reaching for the lasers and talking hackneyed nonsense about becoming a Buddhist.

As you can imagine, these were not particularly musically rich times. But worse was yet to come. Not only did I land myself one of those dream corporate jobs that meant I had to get up at 5.30am every day, drive from Camden to Reading, work my arse off for fourteen hours and then drive back to Camden just in time to fall into bed at 10pm, but I also became afflicted – somewhat unsurprisingly, it seems to me now – with terrible, hallucinatory, shaking panic attacks, which could apparently only be treated with heavy medication***.

This turned out to be A Terrible Mistake. While spending four years numbed up on anti-depressants might *sound* quite pleasant, in a Brave New World soma-holiday type way, it did nothing for me culturally. I didn’t have any panic attacks, but then I didn’t experience any other emotions either. For four years I was pretty much an automaton, and anything on the emotional-cultural axis seemed like a mighty waste of time. So I didn’t really listen to any music at all.

Which means that now I’m completely chemical-free and Mistress Of My Own Mind, I have to catch up on everything I missed over the last – what? – twelve years. And oh boy, is that a lot of catching up.

And what makes it worse is that my parents were never into the pop music of their day, so I never had one of those upbringings where you were handily exposed to Bob Dylan and Marvin Gaye and whatnot. Which means lots of extra catching up. Why, only the other day - and at the insistence of Fizzy - I finally acquired a copy of that Velvet Underground album with the banana on it. "Hmmm," I thought. "This sounds suspiciously like Spacemen 3. Oh no, wait."

Anyway, to summarise, apparently some quite good music has been made over the last forty years or so that you wouldn't necessarily see on MTV. Luckily I have some trusty companions like Pitchfork (reliable!) and Stylus (unutterably pretentious!) to guide me, not to mention all the lovely people who send me marvellous mp3s and compilations an' ting.

Right, that's it. I'm sorry, it won't happen again. Next up is my critique of Dr Richard Cox's The Language Of The Ogam Inscriptions Of Scotland. I'll try to keep the word count down.

MINUTE-BY-MINUTE UPDATE: Oo, my OC Complete First Season DVD has just arrived! Now if you'll excuse me...

* If anyone would like the complete and unabridged list of Pop Stars Who Have Said Hello To Me, you’ve only to ask.

** Which for the uninitiated is dance culture argot for "all went a bit Pete Tong".

*** Don't do it, kids. I've since discovered that the condition can be treated equally well by not consuming bread, cheese or hot chocolate.


Dave F said...

Happy new year. Nothing like a bracing dose of the confessional to clear out the cobwebs of the old. I'm on Cymbalta myself. I'll get some emotions next year, I promise. Is blog-surfing a depressant, do you think?

I'm an "irtygiy" with flirty flrtyiys.

frangelita said...

Well my parents brought me up on a mixed diet of folk rock, Fairport Convention and buckets of classical music and it doesn't seem to have done my musical ear too much harm, apart from giving me a strange propensity for any crappy dance track which samples a half-decent classical aria. Did you really have to give up bread cheese and chocolate? that sound dreadful. I gave up chocolate for 18 months once just to see if I could but soon realised the error of my ways. Ate half a Terry's chocolate orange last night. Mmmm

ScroobiousScrivener said...

See, the mere *thought* of giving up bread, cheese and hot chocolate is actually enough to *inspire* a panic attack, so I'm not sure that would work for me.

No no, truthfully, I have found it to be true that consuming no wheat or sugar (couldn't go as far as quitting dairy) did make me feel remarkably chipper. And thin. And hence, even more chipper. But I couldn't keep it up. I mean, what's life without chocolate, Ben & Jerry's and pasta? Doesn't bear thinking about.

Glad you're back on the music, though, else where would I get my camera-on-turning kicks?

Spinsterella said...

Wow. I like the life-stories - keep it up.

As an unconstructed indie-kid, I was always horrified when someone turned to the other side...

At least you probably had a good time bouncing around in a field. Most scorn was reserved for people who just completely stopped listening to any music At All.

My indie-music'n'festivals friend from when I was 15 has been to one gig in the past decade. Lionel Richie.

betty said...

... well during the early 90's indie music was in a terrible state, with all those drab bands like Ned's Atomic Dustbin or the Senseless Things. I think I pretty much turned my back on guitar music for a few years. Oddly enough I've dragged out loads of old dance/rave albums recently and had a re-listen. They're very entertaining.

Dear God. How old am I? Fourteen?

patroclus said...

Betty, we're *all* fourteen. We're the generation that never grew up, what?

How can you say that indie music was in a terrible state in the early 90s? There was....erm...The Farm! Carter USM! Umm, Candy Flip! Surely this mighty triumvirate were the Velvet Underground, Stooges and Bob Dylan of their day? No?