Re-falling in love with REM

The other day I suddenly remembered that I was once completely obsessed with REM.  You’d think that’s the kind of thing I would remember, but apparently not.

You see my journey with REM was that I was basically a die-hard fan for about 10 years, then I almost completely moved away from them, with only occasional listens now and again for the next 16 or so years, but they were largely off my radar and forgotten about.  Then one June evening in 2018 I find myself in floods of tears watching old videos and interviews thinking, “oh my god I love them, they mean so much to me, how could I ever forsake them??!”  Ok even now a couple of days later I realise this is melodramatic and my hormones contributed a fair amount to the heightened emotional response, but the basic sentiment is true.  Somehow I had forgotten how much I had loved them.  How good the songs were.  How much a part of my formative years they had been.

It all started (again) with a podcast.  I was a big fan of “U Talkin’ U2 To Me?” the U2-based podcast hosted by Adam Scott and Scott Aukerman, even though I pretty much hate U2 (apart from the songs that are good, I like them, but still kinda hate the band – I wrote about it here).  However there was mercifully little U2-related content in those podcasts, it was mainly the 2 guys, and occasional guests exchanging stories about their experiences with music, gigs etc.  It was hugely entertaining, and clearly both guys are really into their music.  That series came to an end, then suddenly it was announced that they would be re-launching with “R U Talkin’ REM Re: Me?” an REM-based podcast series.  I already knew that Adam Scott was a huge REM fan, so I was excited to see what would come of this.

Every couple of months I travel down to Preston for study, so I listened to the first few episodes on those long journeys.  I was so unbelievably psyched to hear people talk about this band with the passion, enthusiasm and attention to detail that I had back in the day.  They take the same general approach, discuss 1 album each episode, sometimes taking an episode to talk about other significant topics in the band’s timeline.  It is still hugely entertaining, still contains lots of asides and off-topic chat, but there is more time dedicated to the actual band in question which is a good thing in REM’s case.

With each episode I listened to the relevant album again, re-discovering the earlier stuff (Chronic Town, Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction and Life’s Rich Pageant) that I tended to opt for if I if I did put on REM in recent years.  It was interesting to spend time focusing on each song, as I had mostly had these albums on in the background while I worked/studied/pottered about the house, so I had never really given them a great deal of attention.  The guys go through track by track, with a bit of background, analysis, critique and throw in relevant contextual info.  I have never been able to indulge my passion for early REM with anyone in real life, so it was wonderful to hear Adam and Scott talk about these albums in this way, with real insight and understanding.  Songs like Talk About the Passion, Driver 8, Fall On Me and Swan Swan H are beautifully constructed songs, with gorgeous arrangements and harmonies and are among my favourite REM songs.  Once we get into Document which I listened to a lot more back in the day, Finest Worksong is probably one of my favourite songs of all time by anyone.  I could feel the connection to these songs and what they once meant to me re-awakened and a sense that this was going to be quite an emotional journey for me.

As they got to the Green/Out of Time era, which is where I really came in as a fan, I was taken back to that time of my life.  It’s hard to overstate how much of an impact discovering REM made on me, surrounded as I was at the time by friends who loved boybands and who kept making me listen to New Kids On The Block.  I had zero interest in NKOTB.  Zero. Then I heard Losing My Religion on the radio and was obsessed with finding out who these guys were.  I had never heard anything like it and was immediately completely in love.  I got Out of Time, then Green and listened to little else for a very long time.  Consider the time, when all the info I had on this band that opened up a whole new world for me, was the sleeve of the cassettes (oh yes, it would be quite some time before I even got CDs.  I have up to Monster on cassette… and don’t even talk to me about bringing back cassettes, they were shite) which was precious few words and even fewer grainy photos.  Maybe the odd magazine article and even rarer snippet of tv appearance.  I had next to nothing to go on, but held on to it for dear life, reading and re-reading the cassette inlay and 3 or 4 magazine articles over and over.  When Automatic came out they were more ubiquitous, but still it was hard to get hold of stuff, especially when you had to pay for every magazine, cassette and VHS tape etc and I was only 13 years old.  I still love Green and Out of Time, although until listening to the podcast I hadn’t really realised how odd Out of Time is as an album.  I first got acquainted with it when I was 12 so hadn’t really developed critical thinking in that area yet.

When Automatic for the People went stratospheric and they were labelled the biggest band in the world, with multi-million dollar contracts etc I was glad they were more accessible, but at the same time I struggled to reconcile this with the fact that people I knew still weren’t really into them.  They might have enjoyed the songs and bought the album, but I still couldn’t talk to anyone about how Automatic was so different from Out of Time, or how amazing Orange Crush and World Leader Pretend were.  It still felt lonely being an REM fan.

After Automatic I remember being ridiculously excited to hear Monster, and even more ridiculously excited at the heavier guitar sound, which I was generally getting more into at the time.  Around then I got given a VHS tape of interviews, performances and stuff and again would watch it as often as I could to get more of an insight into this exotic band from a far off land.  Bearing in mind the only VHS player in the house was attached to the main tv in the living room of the family home so I had to wait til everyone else was out until I could watch it.  Which wasn’t often, but I relished every second.  I also bought a Monster t-shirt and wore it as often as I could get away with, accessorised with multiple pendants with leather cords -* Grampa Simpson voice * – which was the style at the time.  I wore it on one school trip, when an older boy both made and ruined my day but noticing (yay!), complimenting (yay!) then shaking his head and saying it was a shame Stipe was going to die of Aids soon.  I was devastated and it was years before I realised it wasn’t true.

My 13-15 year old self was becoming increasingly obsessed with Michael Stipe as an individual, as well as REM as a band.  As someone who oftentimes struggles with expressing myself, I have always been drawn to creative, expressive people.  Again, at the time I hadn’t come across anyone quite like Stipe.  I knew he had a lot of artistic input into the band’s videos, album art etc and found this fascinating, as I didn’t really know of any all-round creative types like that.  He was weird, but in a way that I kind of understood, wasn’t alienated by.  Although I couldn’t have communicated this at the time, he exuded a strong male energy, as well as displaying some more feminine elements, that combined to make, for me, an extremely attractive human being.  I read an article around the time I was 15 or so when there was still tedious media speculation about his sexuality, that he fell in love with people, their gender was immaterial, it was the person that was important.  At first, this was revelatory, but then it started to make sense.  I don’t recall if he said it or I inferred it, but it made sense that human sexuality was more of a spectrum than strictly one thing or another.  How some people still can’t grasp this 20+ years later is baffling.  Although I didn’t identify as gay or bi, I certainly didn’t fit in with gender norms, just as he didn’t, and this was comforting as much as it was eye-opening.  For me he embodied many things that I admired – creativity, morality and self-assuredness, wrapped up in an other-worldly physically awkward yet elegant body with a captivating voice and accent.

Unfortunately, after Monster came New Adventures in Hi-Fi, which I thought was dreadful.  Apart from Electrolite, I could barely listen to it.  20 years later I can still sing along to the songs from Green and Document, I couldn’t even tell you the names of songs on Hi-Fi.  It was the beginning of my drift away…

Despite being disillusioned with Hi-Fi, I still bought Up and Reveal.  I can’t remember if I had heard the songs first and knew they were more promising, or was just determined to give them another chance and stick with my favourite band.  In any case, both those albums have some good songs – Walk Unafraid, Daysleeper, Imitation of Life are all as good as anything REM have ever done, but I didn’t listen to them nearly as obsessively as the others.  Partly to to the timing – I was leaving school, I took a year out to work in Sweden, then returned to Scotland to start university, so there were other things to focus on.  I drifted further away.  In fact I drifted away from music generally for a few years as I discovered other pursuits.  I do remember also buying Around the Sun and completely losing interest.  I’m not sure I listened to it more than once the whole way through.  I was pretty much done with REM.

A few years earlier, though, in 1999, the band played a concert at Stirling Castle.  I had never seen them live, they didn’t come to Scotland very often and I had been too young on previous occasions.  I was tempted, but ultimately decided not to go, because I couldn’t bear if they didn’t live up to my expectations and completely burst what remained of my bubble.  I really couldn’t bring myself to see them in case that whole thing about meeting your idols came true.  I regret that now, but they really meant that much to me at the time and the 8 years leading up to it that I didn’t feel I could risk it.

I finally saw them in 2005 when a hastily re-arranged concert had some tickets available and I got over myself and went for it.  Even then, I was still nervous.  In the end, it was a pretty terrible gig, because it had been rearranged not in the SECC, but in a marquee on Glasgow Green and it rained like the bloody arc was about to set sail.  We were drenched, the stage was drenched, the band were not happy, the crowd were soaked, even inside.  Then the water evaporated and huge steam banks filled the marquee.  It was ridiculous.  They also played a ton of songs from Around the Sun which I still didn’t know or like particularly much.  But I saw them nonetheless and although it wasn’t the experience I had dreamed of, I saw them and I’m glad I did before they split up.

When they did part ways I wasn’t upset, or particularly surprised.  I agreed that the time was right.  I read a couple of articles but pretty much got on with things, they hadn’t been a part of my life for years.

Until I started listening to a podcast.

Then it all came flooding back.

So the past few weeks have been a journey of re-discovery, listening to the albums, reading articles and watching videos and interviews.  Crying at performances on Jools Holland’s show.  I can revel in geeking out along with Adam Scott at the lesser-known trivia of how a song was recorded, what inspired the lyrics, the band’s creative process and the unacknowledged beauty of a buried album track.  Marvelling at hearing Stipe’s isolated vocal tracks.  I still harbour resentment that I was never allowed to join the REM fanclub, but am grateful to at last find out what bounties it provided as they play unreleased fanclub singles.  I at last feel among kindred spirits as the guys spin demos, alternate versions of songs and acoustic versions and debate which is best.  It will be interesting to re-examine those later albums that I only partially know, as well as the last 2 that I have never heard at all.  In the meantime I am making my own “best of REM” playlist, and a “lively REM” playlist that I will introduce my daughters to.  I have even persuaded my bandmates to have a go at covering Orange Crush next time we practice.

I have been through some pretty major life changes in recent years, so it has been nice to remember who I once was, because that is still me.  Those years, that music, those people informed me, shaped me, influenced me and I have brought them with me, whether consciously or subconsciously.  And I promise never to forget that again.


Let’s Dance to Joy Division (and celebrate the irony)

Sometimes I like flicking through my music library just seeing what comes up, not settling on any one artist or album in particular.  Sometimes I just can’t decide what I want to listen to and try a few things before coming to rest on something that fits my mood.  Other times I get a bit obsessed with one artist and just listen to them over and over, exploring their full back catalogue, seeking out B-sides, rarities and covers they have done.  I wrote last week about my love affair with REM.  This week it has been Editors.

I’ve been a fan of Editors since their first album, The Back Room, and have listened to it and the second album, An End Has A Start a lot over the years.  I did buy their third album, In This Light and On This Evening shortly after it came out, but I kind of forgot about it until recently.  I’ll blame it on the fact that it came out when my daughter was 3 months old, so I was probably busy.  I had bought the physical CD for some reason (so long ago I can’t remember) but never got round to putting it onto my laptop or mp3 player, so it lay forgotten until a conversation with a friend reminded me about it, and about Editors in general.

So I’ve been listening to them over the past few days, starting with the first 2 albums and now the latest one.  I’ve been searching for interviews with them, both written and video, to find out a bit more.

I’ve said before that I like musicians with personalities and music with substance.  The members of Editors all come across as interesting, funny, smart individuals.  Tom and Chris are the 2 that most often pop up in interviews, but it’s not uncommon to find the other 2, Russell and Ed, contributing too.  I like it when all the members of a band get involved in things, rather than just the front man.  As for the music having substance, it seems like they have been criticised for having too much of the stuff.

Every interview mentions that they are renowned for being moody / gloomy / depressing / dark etc etc.  They pick up on Tom’s lyrics as being all about death, mortality and loss.  Every interviewer seems to refer to other people comparing Editors to Joy Division or other supposedly dark and gloom-laden bands.   I was pleased to see that the guys themselves counter this by saying that although there are aspects of that in their lyrics and music, that they are also trying to create something positive, uplifting and life-affirming.  I was mainly pleased because that was the feeling I got listening to them.  Of course there is no denying that the lyrics, read alone, do paint a pretty grim picture, but I think it’s more the case that Tom is trying to reflect reality than painting a deliberately bleak picture for the sake of it.

Yeah, I know, I should have references and quotes here.  I read / viewed all these interviews over the past few days, but didn’t save them. Trust me. Or do what I did – type “Editors interview” into your favoured search engine and just start at the top.  Oh I will recommend the Face Culture series of interviews, available in YouTube, Face Culture always do good stuff.

Anyway, so yes, I was pleased because that was exactly the feeling I got – first impressions of the music was that it was interesting – great guitar (Chris Urbanowicz has a really distinctive sound and way of accompanying songs that I just love) and bass lines, tight drumming, and the vocals – I don’t know the correct word to describe Tom’s vocals – beautiful seems too feminine….his voice has the ability to make you sit up, take notice, and possible melt your insides a little.  Then once I got to hear the lyrics, they really appealed to me because a) they were actually saying something (substance) and b) they struck a chord with me (‘scuse the pun) and correlated with my world-view.

Yes, there are themes that some might consider depressing, but they are issues that are real, relevant and, well, substantial.  Sorry if I’m over-applying that word.  I mean music can be escapist and idealistic and contain themes of dreams and aspirations, I don’t have a problem with that, variety being the spice of life and all, but I think there is a place for the darker side of life (and death) too.  If that is something you think about, it helps to know that other people are thinking about it too. Song lyrics can be comforting because they put into words what you can’t yourself, or they make you see something from a new perspective.  Certainly when I have dabbled in writing songs I have been at my most productive lyric-wise when I have been dwelling on something troubling.  It is cathartic.  And let’s face it it is more interesting than the “I woke up, had a cup of tea” school of song-writing.

On this note, I’ve been watching the “Secrets of the Pop Song” series on the BBC.  It was fascinating for many reasons – my favourite nugget of info was that in Queen’s early days their concerts were serious solemn affairs with the audience listening politely and quietly, until one gig some people started singing along, and the rest, as they say, is “We Will Rock You” among others.  But anyway, what I found most fascinating about the series was that in each case, the artists turned up to Guy Chambers’ studio (OMG how I would love to spend a day there, heaven!) without any real idea of what form their song would take.  They mostly played around with rhythms, chords, hooks etc until they formed the basis of the song, then the singer came up with lyrics to suit.  Now I know that it is not an uncommon method of song-writing, to create the musical elements first and add lyrics on top, but what struck me was that the lyrics were (it seemed, maybe the editing didn’t do it justice) given the least attention.  There was little emphasis put on the meaning of the words, or the message they conveyed.  Partly it was because Guy Chambers doesn’t do lyrics, he made the odd suggestion for tweaking, but that seemed to be mainly to do with rhythm or emphasis.  Fair enough, it was a series about Pop songs, so maybe I’m expecting too much, but there were some serious artists there, Rufus Wainwright, the Noisettes, Mark Ronson and a newcomer called Tawiah, who I actually liked a lot and she was shown spending time agonising over her lyrics.

It just seemed weird to me that they could produce something and not already have an idea about what it was all about.  Maybe it’s just because that’s not the way I’d do it, maybe it’s because it was more about creating a song that would serve a purpose rather than be about expressing a particular sentiment. Or maybe it’s because I’ve spent too much time listening to bands like Editors where lyrics are so important.

In any case I found it informative, inspiring and thought-provoking, which is a good thing, but particularly so in my recent REM / Editors phase of obsession.

I’ve only listened to Editors latest album a couple of times, I’ll reserve full judgement until I’ve heard it more.  My first thoughts were, “where the hell is Chris and his awesome guitars?”, it sounded a bit like Tom had recorded it alone in his bedroom, all prominent vocals with synth and drum-machine backing.  But I realise that this is them taking a new direction, you can’t re-hash the same old guitar riffs again and again and still maintain interest.  I learned my lesson from Mystery Jets, when I really didn’t take to their latest album because it was so different from the first two, but once I heard it for what it was in its own right, I began to fully appreciate it.  I’ll keep the same open mind about In This Light… and see what I think after it’s been on repeat a few more times.

And I’ve STILL never seen Editors live! They’ve been to Glasgow several times over the past few years, but various things have been conspiring to keep me away from their gigs.  If/when I finally do get to see them, I’ll be one of those annoying people that bug the hell out of me at gigs, and I’ll go mental for the old songs from the first 2 albums.  I’ve seen Editors performances on TV etc and they always look like they do really good shows, they play with a passion and intensity that you don’t often see.  As soon as they announce a new album and a tour I’ll be queueing up for tickets and anything else that comes up can forget it, I’m seeing Editors come hell or high water.  If I can see Franz Ferdinand while 6 months pregnant, nothing short of actually giving birth will stop me from seeing Editors.

BTW I don’t really know much about Joy Division, I’ve never really purposefully listened to them, I just know the songs that get played on radio etc. Or feature in movies like Series 7: The Conteders. That’s what I think about every time I hear Joy Division.  That and the Wombats song that the title of this blog refers to.


Ok yet another one of those times where I was thinking about stuff on the bus, have some half-formed ideas and even though it’s late and I need to sleep I want to get them down before I forget or get taken over by something else.  But hey, what’s new?

So I’ve been listening to REM a bit lately.  I haven’t really listened to them in ages, but various things have made me move towards them again.  That band mean so much to me that it inevitably got me thinking.

REM were about the first band that I properly got in to, that I discovered on my own. I was trying to remember when exactly it was.  It was before Automatic for the People, cos I remember that coming out.  I think Losing My Religion was the first song that got me hooked, although I had been hearing The One I Love on the radio for a while without realising it was them. So around 1991, I was 11 or 12, leaving Primary School and entering Secondary School.  Most of my friends were obsessed with New Kids on the Block.  I couldn’t understand their appeal, and tried to get my friends to listen to REM but they were equally uninterested.  Of course for them it was about the image and the boys and the Smash Hits culture.  For me music was about music, and my music was actually good, but then again as I’ve discussed on here before I was used to being the uncool one and being baffled by my peers’ behaviour.

Anyway, I listened to Out of Time, then Automatic over and over.  I went and bought Green and Document and other older albums – they were all on cassette tape, I didn’t have a CD player.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  Needless to say no-one else that I knew shared my obsession so I quitely tried to find as much information as I could about them myself.

These days if I discover a new band a quick search on the internet will lead me to their website, merch store, links to sample or download their tracks, bios, interviews, videos etc. Back in the early 90s I had no such luxury.  I trawled music magazines for snippets, surreptitiously sneaking a peek then buying any that featured the band.  I read and re-read all the info in the inserts in the tapes.  Occasionally they would be featured on Top of the Pops or some other music show and I would get to see their videos.

For a birthday or Christmas one year I got an REM video.  I can’t remember exactly what was on it, but I think some of their music videos and interviews etc.  That small slice of insight into who they were and what they were like as people was fascinating to me.  Even how they spoke – they had weird accents!

I would have given anything for YouTube or MySpace back then.  The difference that the internet has made to a music fan is immense.  I mean I always see depictions of music-lovers in the pre-internet days congregating in their local music store, finding that elusive vinyl LP, sharing records with fellow enthusiasts.  But I was 12.  I was a wee girl.  I lived in Dundee, which undoubtedly had independent music shops, but none that I knew of.

I saved up my money and bought an REM t-shirt from the Virgin Megastore, and wore it whenever I could.  I saw other people wearing them, but they were always much older, and invariably they were male, so I never worked up the courage to speak to them.  One time on a school trip, one of the boys a few years ahead of me noticed my t-shirt and was visibly impressed, but then said to me, “yeah they’re a great band, it’s a shame Michael Stipe is going to die, isn’t it?”.  I was devastated.  I didn’t know anything about the rumours about him having AIDS or anything, and thought he really was going to die.  The big boy said it so it must be true.  Again, these days the internet would have meant that I would have known this, or if I didn’t I could quickly google it and find out.  I was tormented by that thought for ages until I discovered what the hell he’d been talking about.

I found out that there was an REM fan club.  I pestered my mum to let me join.  She refused, cos it meant having to send a letter to Athens, Georgia.  The very thought of sending a letter all the way to America just for some silly band was just too much for her.  I was so upset, I tried to figure out how to do it without her knowing, but she knew the people in the post office and the local shop, they would surely make some comment to her if I went in asking for stamps to America.  Then there was the fact that I’d receive post back from America, she’d see that and the game would be up.  I had to accept I would miss out on the newsletter and poster and exclusive offers.  Today I follow my favourite bands on Facebook and Twitter, get all the news and latest info straight to my inbox or phone.  Kids these days don’t need their parents’ permission for that, it’s all within their control and immediately accessible.  The man in the post office need never know.

I bought a poster,

it was among my most treasured possessions, it hung on the back of my bedroom door, followed me to University and eventually had to be thrown out after too many moves had ripped all its corners and the blue-tac and sellotape damage was too extensive.  I was so sad to see it go, even though I was probably about 22 by that time.  Today I have dozens of images of my favourite bands on my laptop and my phone.  I don’t cherish any quite as much as I cherished that poster though.

By the time I was 18, I left home, and my obsession lessened a little.  I continued to buy their albums when they came out, but didn’t feel the same about their new material as I did about their older stuff.  Eventually I moved on entirely and barely listened to them at all.

Then when I was in London, in 2003, they released a best-of album, and I found out afterwards that Michael Stipe had been in London promoting it, and had been standing on a street corner near Marble Arch handing out copies.  I live near Marble Arch! I was so gutted that I hadn’t known about it and that he was so close I could have met him. In the world of Twitter that news would have been out so fast, I’d have got it on my phone and sprinted down there.  But then again so would hundreds or thousands of other people.  So then he probably wouldn’t do that kind of thing today.  Technology has changed how bands interact with fans as well.

Throughout all this time I had never seen them live.  Partly because they rarely toured in Scotland and when they did the expense would have put it out of my reach.  As the years went on I was apprehensive about the idea of seeing them live – what if they didn’t live up to my expectations? Then in 2005 a series of events led them to put on a concert in a 10,000 capacity tent on Glasgow Green and I managed to score tickets.  By that time I was at the stage where I was disappointed with their most recent album(s) and felt maybe they were past their peak, so didn’t have high expectations of the gig.  Despite it being June it was pissing with rain, the whole tent got flooded and there must have been a hazard with all the electrical equipment, but they were absolutely brilliant.  They played all the hits, quite a few oldies, and even the newer songs that I hadn’t thought much of on the albums came into their own when performed live.  Michael Stipe was showing no sign of being past his best (and was very much alive).  I was so glad I finally got to experience them live.

So yeah, this was supposed to be a discussion around how technology and the intenet has changed the experience of being a music fan, but it has segued into an ode to REM. Oh well.

Now after a number of years I’m going back and listening to all their albums again. In many ways they are so familiar and comforting, it’s like going home.  But I’m also able to listen with fresh ears and consider the music in new ways which is nice and refreshing.  There are so many good songs that I had forgotten about, although in that strange way when they come on I still know all the words.  Well, as much as you can do with REM.  I swear some songs I’ve been listening to for 20 years and I still can’t make out what the hell Stipe is on about….

15 Albums

So there is this thing going around Facebook asking you to list your “15 albums that you have heard that will always stick with you”.  Ok I thought, that sounds like fun.  So I looked through my iTunes library and picked out 15.  But when I looked at it I wasn’t happy.  First of all not all the albums I own are on my iTunes.  I still have some on cassette tape that I’ve never bothered to digitalise.  Secondly there are some albums that I have heard, but don’t own.  Thirdly I wasn’t sure of the task – it’s not your favourite albums, or most influential, but ones that have stuck with you.  Well I have heard many albums that have stuck with me for being awful but I don’t want to list all them.  I think most of the albums that have really stuck with me are probably ones I’m least likely to continue to listen to and own now.

Like the ones that my parents used to play when I was wee.  We grew up on a diet of The Corries, The Dubliners, other Scottish and Irish folk music and if my dad got to choose – Runrig.  Now it wasn’t what I would have chosen to listen to when I was 8 or any age really, but nevertheless it became ingrained in me and was the start of my musical education.

Another major influence was this old record player and collection of records that was at my gran’s house, although I think they may have come from my other grandad’s.  There was stuff by The Drifters / The Shadows (Hank Marvin’s guitar = awesome), Bobby Darin (Dream Lover) and many others that I can’t even remember now.  It was all late 50s / early 60s rock ‘n’ roll and even though I was listening to them in the late 80s it was the first time I’d heard that kind of music and I thought it was great.  Later when I studied music in school and we covered walking bass etc I knew all about it and my classmates (not for the first time) thought I was some kind of freak.  I probably was.  How many 9 year olds listen to Hank Marvin?  Anyways I don’t own any of these records, and in any case they were singles, but they’ve got to count in my list of music that has stuck with me.

At school I had to contend with different influences – my friends were all into Kylie (when she first appeared) and Jason Donovan (same goes) and New Kids on the Block and I had to suffer listening to them when I really wasn’t interested.  Then at secondary school it was all boy bands (guess what – Take That the first time round!) or mindnumbing dance music .  So again I listened to a lot of that cos it was all around but I pretty much hated it.  Unfortunately I didn’t know what I did like, except I discovered REM so listened to them endlessly for about 3 years.  Then thankfully the whole Britpop guitar band thing happened so at least I could listen to that without wanting to pierce my own eardrums.

I was going to start writing about playing music and wanting to be in a band and create my own music but I’m working on a different blog post about playing the guitar, so maybe I’ll leave it for that.  Plus it’s late and I’m having trouble reading on the screen.  Time to go to bed.

Oh in case you are interested here is my list that isn’t really my list.

1. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

2. Bishop Allen – The Broken String

3. Editors – An End Has A Start

4. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid

5. Eric Clapton – Unplugged

6. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand

7. Jumper – Velkommen Hit

8. KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope

9. The Killers – Hot Fuss

10. Manic Steet Preachers – This is My Truth Tell Me Yours

11. Oasis – Definitely Maybe

12. Pulp – Different Class

13. REM – Automatic for the People

14. Radiohead – The Bends

15. We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor

See? It’s a rubbish list.