It was 5 A:M.
A time that’s either a tad too early or extremely late, depending on your viewpoint. Mine was definitely the latter. I’d already been awake for twenty-two hours and still had around another twelve to go before I could sink into bed. Rhythmically swaying from one foot to another, my mind was as foggy as the surroundings, the only sounds seemingly submerged in a hidden ocean.
To make matters worse, I had an urgent need to brush my teeth. Having realised they were stickily coated in a film of goodness knows what, I frantically began rubbing at each molar with an index finger. It can’t have been a pretty sight: Lips peeled back, I probably looked like a weird, humanised Cheshire Cat!
Best to keep your distance for sure. So imagine my surprise when another grinning face bounced up to me and said…
“Aww, lush man. Absolutely foooking banging innit? You got some? Giz a bit, yeah?
“Excuse me? Give you some…?”
“Sea? I’m afraid I don’t really get what you…”
“Coke, man. Can I ‘ave some of ya Coke?” he asked again, pointing at my mouth.
“Oh, sorry. I’ve only got some water. But you can have the rest if you like.”
“No worries, yeah? ‘Ave a banging night, yeah? I’ll tek ya water like, ta!”
Utterly perplexed, I watched the stranger wind through the crowd of gyrating zombies with my bottle. Through snorts of laughter, my friends tried to lift the confusion. Apparently, he was after some cocaine and my incessant teeth rubbing had drawn him forth!
Sorry, what? How on earth was I supposed to know that? I’ve never taken drugs in my life… Okay, not never, but a couple of dodgy brownies in Amsterdam and a single cup of very herbal tea were my life’s limit. But as this was the world I was immersed in, I had to get used to these spontaneous inquiries to share and spread love to the people (and probably a few other undesirable items…)
You see, I used to be a cheesy quaver.
No, not a salty corn snack: A raver. Hair twisted into a myriad of knots, slinging out shapes with my glow-sticks to the bass-lines and break beats, I attended all-night parties to listen to House music, Trance, Jungle, D&B and Happy Hardcore. I blew my whistle enthusiastically and exulted in the euphoria as the bass dropped. No white gloves though, I drew the line at that accessory!
Having been brought up on a mixture of soul and disco, ‘dance’ music was (and always will be) my first love. But I’m easily influenced in this department and over the years my taste in music has become as varied as my fad list!
Working in a cinema for several years, it was a melting pot of various musical tastes, blasted out in to the foyer from the predominantly student staff force. Snow Patrol, Kaiser Chiefs, Maroon 5, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Corinne Bailey Rae and Scroobius Pip were all new artists (to me!) that I fell in love with. But I still stayed fairly mainstream, continuing to enjoy the cheese of the Spice Girls, Justin ‘Timbersnake’, P!nk and my guilty pleasure – a bit of Britney!
Then S introduced me to ‘screamy’ (metal) music and suddenly I was listening to (and liking) Slipknot, Korn or System of a Down, alongside ’emo’ or ‘alternative’ bands such as Taking Back Sunday (the band I’ve seen the most, live) and Brand New.
However, let’s just say that metal gigs are nothing like the rave scene – one time in a circle pit is one time too many thank you very much! Windmilling arms and bodies flying everywhere, S warned me it was about to ‘kick off’. Shoving him forward into the fray, I tried to escape to the safety of the back – where the parents stood holding jackets and trying to look cool! But I instantly slammed into
a wall a torso, its accompanying head looking down with a raised eyebrow that said, ‘You ain’t going anywhere love.’
I became suspended a couple of feet off the floor, between two large men. But these chunks of ‘bread’ were probably a blessing in disguise: holding me in their human sandwich, I was terrified yet protected. Still made a swift beeline to the old folk area as soon as I could though…
And perhaps that’s where I ultimately need to be because – horror of horrors – I’ve morphed from a once cool (in my head) ‘quaver’ to a comforting and relaxing Werther’s Original.
Yes folks, I’ve reached an age where I think it’s socially acceptable to like CLASSICAL MUSIC.
There, I said it. I’ve shared my secret. For the last eighteen months, I’ve been an avid listener of Bach, Holst and Dvorak among many others.
‘Socially acceptable’ though? Well, I still feel that maybe it’s not. Not at my age anyway. Don’t get me wrong, everyone knows I like a good blanket and slippers but my stereotypical view of a classical music lover is over fifty and either tweed-ed up to the max, working on their latest scientific paper or a retiree, pottering around their cottage garden before attempting more of their tapestry. To be fair, the last scenario looks fairly appealing…
Is it me who has the problem? Would society not give two hoots whether I’ve got One Direction or Grieg blasting from my speakers? Do I need to stop worrying, proudly sharing my love with the world and not being quick to switch to Radio 1 if someone under thirty gets in my car?
Maybe I do need to get over my guilt because I think it’s been an underlying love for many years. My first experience was at eight years old, watching an orchestral interpretation of Peter and the Wolf. I was mesmerised – the whole ‘music is better played live’ saying is so true. I then begged for the soundtrack to ‘Dances with Wolves’ and later bought some of Grieg‘s work, purely based on the Alton Towers advert that used ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’.
Films and their scores have been a huge influence on my classical preferences. I enjoy being able to make ‘videos’ in my head to go with the music, scenes of magical places and escapes from mythical monsters. This has filtered through into my dance genre loves too – Tiësto’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ will forever be one of my favourite pieces to listen to.
And now I know more. I’ve become more discerning, liking string pieces more than pianos, identifying the difference between a John Barry or a John Williams composition and toying with the idea of learning the cello. Fad number 456 has been set…
So I’ll leave you now with another of my favourite classical pieces, one that never fails to make me do a little jig. Yes, yes, I’m aware the word ‘jig’ makes me sound like I should be a 90-year-old in a barn…
Hush now, I’m off to suck a boiled sweet and crochet a napkin to some classic ‘choons’. It’s okay, I’m sure the next song on shuffle will be Eminem…
Links take you to the track that hooked me to that particular artist – do go have a listen, you may like some too!