Ms .45's mp3/bureaucratic/gaming blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My life as a rockist

I'm not gonna pretend I had an idyllic childhood - it frankly sucked - and, like all bullied children, I had my refuge. Others had dungeons and dragons or SF - I had rock music. If, for any reason, I'm ever called on to discuss my religion, I'll say I'm an atheist or agnostic (depending on whether it's a nice day or I've gotten laid recently), but it would be pretty reasonable, given the role that music plays in my life, to describe myself as a "rockist". Consider the following:

ROLE IN FAMILY LIFE: My mum recently confessed that my parents' marriage is based entirely on the fact that "we both love rock'n'roll music". We spent a lot of time travelling (in one jaunt, we were on the road for six months in a hotted-up F100), and in that time not once was the radio off. We would sing along to "House of the Rising Sun" in our genetically-disadvantaged voices, in a painful but effective bit of family bonding. When we settled down nothing changed. I would wake up on a bright sunny day to be informed that, although the desktop hides Ita's hips, Barnsey's imagination is strong. When my mum discovered my dad was screwing around on her, she sang him Mental As Anything's "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" Alhamdulillah, they got back together after awhile, owing to the healing powers of rock'n'roll (and possibly being too cranky for any other partners).

RITES OF PASSAGE: Beginning with my seventh birthday, I would annually receive a gift certificate for Brashes record chain. The first album I ever bought myself was with one of these. Given my avowed love of disco, you will not be surprised to learn that the album was The Pointer Sisters' Greatest Hits. In addition to the rite of passage of learning responsibility for one's musical choices, I also learnt the taste of bitter disappointment as the season's current hit, I'm So Excited, wasn't on the album.

It's not just me, though: my sister and I were sitting around at Mum's place, as young adults, listening to Black Sabbath's Paranoid. My mum sighed nostalgically and told us, "I had my first passionate kiss to this song."

RITUAL AND SACRIFICE: As you would expect from a family of devout rockists, we owned a pretty decent stereo. My dad had this alarming habit of putting a pillow on the floor, putting the speakers on each side of the pillow, plugging in the headphones and switching the settings to play through both speakers and headphones (no, I don't know why it had this function either), lying on the pillow with the headphones on, cranking it up to 11 and playing Stairway to Heaven, loudly declaring "This song is better than an orgasm!!!".

Unsurprisingly, he suffers from tinnitus these days.*

*Just to let the truth ruin a good story, the tinnitus is probably industrial rather than a result of musical self-abuse, but this couldn't have helped.

ADORATION: Despite my self-description as a "rockist", I don't shy away from great pop and electronica, and as a kid I was a Durannie. I was deeply in love with John Taylor, and have only recently realised that he's actually a pretty decent bass player. My devotion was such that, when offered a chance to learn to ride horses at the age of 11, I refused, because The Reflex was showing on whatever shitty afternoon music video show was the shit at that age. (It was hosted by Jonathon Coleman and was called "Live Wire", if I recall correctly. It definitely wasn't Simon Townsend's Wonder World, which I also watched religiously.) I never really liked horses.

ADULTHOOD: For my 18th birthday, I was given tickets - plural - to the Angels at EV's in Croydon, an all ages venue. I say plural because originally, my mum's best friend's husband had bought one ticket for me. His wife tore him a new one and demanded that he buy me another ticket - a pointless and humiliating exercise for this friendless wonder. I asked some people who didn't really hate me if they wanted to go, but they were washing their hair. I tore up the extra ticket in fury, and went by myself. It's still one of the greatest rock performances I've ever seen, and I still go to gigs by myself.

Disappointingly, they didn't play Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

VIRGIN SACRIFICE: The loss of my virginity, at the age of 19, involved no music at all. Unsurprisingly, it was shit.

To be honest, this has nothing to do with any specific event in my life, although it was a huge hit at an impressionable age and is one of my favourite songs of all time. It's mainly here as a reminder that Stephen Cummings was totally hot back in the day, and prematurely gray 30 year olds still totally do it for me.


Anonymous said...

House of the Rising Sun is by The Animals, not the Doors!

Tricia said...

I loved it!! You guys ROCK!!


Tricia said...

I loved the song...I so enjoyed it!


Ms .45 said...

Anon, I know that... I just did a search at and copied a link that worked. (I was actually hoping it really was a version by the Doors - that version of Stairway to Heaven really is by the Foo Fighters, for example.)

I'm probably going to hell for stealing bandwidth, though.