Monday, 22 March 2010

Everything sparkles when there's glitter in your eyes

This is a question for people with a passion - do you ever wish you were normal? If you haven't, you're probably not as passionate as you think. Either that or you are the kind of person who has wallpapered their house with magazine cut-outs of Richard Branson's ear and do not realise this is not typical behaviour.

Sometimes I think my life would be a lot simpler without my various musical obsessions. Whether fairly or not I blame Nicky Wire for my endless romantic failures (actually, I blame Nicky Wire for everything). It's hard to get a first date, let alone a second one when the conversation turning to hobbies inevitably leads to you having to explain that yes, you do spend a great deal of time either sitting on pavements to get the best position at gigs (on the barrier, stage left if it's the Manics, between centre and stage right for anyone else. Going for dead centre is a rookie mistake, you'll get crushed and most bands gravitate towards the sides of the stage where there's more room to move about) or on trains on the way to a new and exotic pavement on which to sit and that no, you are not weird. My phone is littered with the numbers of men who took me on one date, quickly started looking either bored or frightened and never called again. It doesn't help that rambling about Manics/Morrissey/current new obsession is my default setting when I'm nervous, so the more I like the person, the worse it is (see a few posts down for an example of the kind of effect this has on a fledgling relationship). It probably also doesn't help that I *do* blame Nicky Wire for everything, and that I once invented a religion where Morrissey was God and James Dean Bradfield cast as spiritual tea.

Music can also alter your standards and make you judgemental. A man who I - fruitlessly - really like in *that* way once told me he hadn't heard of Morrissey and thought the Manics were shit. My soul wept, although my enthusiasm for wallowing in this latest unrequited attraction remains undimmed.

Even my own friends think I'm weird because of how strongly I feel about the music I love. I was even deleted by a couple of people on Facebook (though more acquaintances than real friends) who were baffled by my reaction to The Rakes splitting up out of the blue last year. If you don't really love the bands you love (if you see what I mean) you won't understand, but it was like being bereaved. The night I heard I was sat on the train home, trying hard not to cry in public and hoping it would turn out to be some big misunderstanding. I was angry and really upset when Alan announced less than a month - a month! - later that he had formed a new band. It was like when you're a kid and your parents split up and you secretly hope and pray that they'll get back together and then your dad remarries some trampy bottle blonde from his office and it happens so quickly that you think he MUST have been cheating with her when he was still with your mum.* I went through a fair few of the stages of grief but I don't think I've reached acceptance yet - I still can't listen to their songs but things keep reminding me of a beat or a lyric and then I can't get it out of my head and I have to listen to Radio One until they play something irritating (this does not usually take long) which will replace it.

I'm slightly suspicious that my arrested development on the career front is caused by a mix of procrastination (not Nicky Wire's fault) and a subconcious fear that if I settle down and get a "proper" job I wont be able to take endless days off a short notice to go wandering off to see bands play (defintely Nicky Wire's fault).

Of course, passions have their positives too. I was thinking the other day about the last time I went out dancing, and There Is A Light That Will Never Go Out came on and my friend Hanna and I simultaeneously screamed, leapt into one anothers arms and cleared a small swathe of the dancefloor jumping madly up and down and singing along at the top of our lungs, and I realised that no drug could ever have enhanced or emulated that experience. I'm so excitable when it comes to songs that I'm my own high.

So life would be so much simpler without roller-coaster intensity that comes with a life-long obsession. Music has ruined my life and saved it too. Do I wish I was normal? God no.

*I'm surmising, by the way. My parents are still married, but I ready as much Judy Blume as the next girl growing up.

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