Back in first year uni, I thought suede was what Desert Boot uppers were made of. I didn’t know it was a band too.
What was this ‘alternative’ music? Alternative to what? All I knew was the Top Forty, and listening to Friday Night Request Line. I wasn’t that many years removed from a spiral perm and Roxette. ‘She’s Got the Look’ wasn’t, I suppose now, that much different from Suede’s ‘She’s in Fashion.
It’s just that I was never in fashion.
I used to go blank on my city friends sometimes. They never knew how desperately uncool I was. Or perhaps they did and were too nice to tell me.
After all, one day when I wasn’t wearing a flanno (which I took to wearing out of homesickness, and ironically, never wore them so much as in the Big Smoke), I put on my best jumper and ribbon to ask out this nice older boy in my history tute, just before we went into a lecture.
He was so desperate to get out of going with me to a party that he actually went out and busted his leg playing soccer. The full plaster cast and amnesia-about-being-asked-out combo. Total blank on Monday after the game. I was too shy to ask if he was still interested. Not that I was selfish, but you know, it took a lot of being psyched up by the family I boarded with, and picking the right jumper and ribbon…
I stood there down the hill a bit from the history lecture hall, while one of my friends went on about some English band, Ride. I should have known what that was about. I mean, I couldn’t even sit on a horse long enough after it oninto a canter without trying to remember the stunt roll Mum told me about when I was a kid. I knew enough about horses to know about a band called Ride. Surely. Yeah but nooooo, to paraphrase e of the great thinkers ofthe twenty-first century, Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard.
My friend enthused, her beautiful long dark hair and long skirt standing across from me, as she and our other friend gabbed on. I stood there and realised that I had been left out of the cultural loop.
Where did you find this music? Why had I never heard of it before? What universe had I existed in? I would never catch up. I didn’t even especially like the Chili Peppers.
Sure I went to the Bar on the Hill on the occasional Thursday nights, and saw these great new Aussie bands play, but I didn’t collect music, and Triple J was new. To me. Not to the rest of the planet. On the East coast, near the sea, where dreams are made in blue and green waves, not red ant hills.
Although I had not been in a dream world, not lived in one for nineteen years, that moment, standing on the hill at uni, felt as if I were coming out of one. Not a sleep dream. And I don’t even mean it wholly metaphorically. I didn’t say anything.
Anyway, my friends knew that I was a country bumpkin from Broken Hill, but they never knew that it was a one FM radio station town, a station that I listened to sometimes on the wireless . You know, back when a wireless was a wireless radio, and not something sticking out of the crack of a pair of skinny jeans worn by an arseless twat who has marginally more hair on his legs than I currently sport beneath my arms. Well, up at the top of my arms and under a bit in a lovely warm hollow, and, if you wanted me to wave to you across the street, would stop traffic. That’s how much I need to shave my underarms. Who the hell invented that stuff? Men. So they could sell razors. Bastards.
What is it with the pits? They just grow so damned fast. A girl doesn’t have time to daydream, procrastinate, create, and shave all in the one day. No, she just gets a surprise in the shower when she washes her hair. This is so taking me back to that dose of chicken pox I had when I was nineteen. Man (pun intended), I could not shave under there for three months in case I knocked a pox off.
But you don’t want to know about my teen pox episode. Well, you do, but I’ll save that for another post.
Anyway, so, I have been listening to Suede lately, on Youtoot, um, YouTubaclosis, no, YouTube. It’s so… poppy, that may be it was never alternative. Just wanted to see what all the fuss was about, even though, by now, I’ve heard them often enough.
Anyway, the beautiful thing is that my gang of uni friends and I may be grown up now, but I have a feeling that we all still love music.
And I suppose I know what the alternative is.
c. A Room of Heroine 2011.