Monday 14 March 2005

You're a water sign, I'm an air sign

Memory is a funny thing and can be triggered in funny ways.

I visited one of my old schools a while back, and the thing that really got me was the way the place smelled: the science lab, the boot rooms, the changing rooms.... they all smelled exactly the same as they did when I was 8 years old. It took me right back. I could remember cleaning my shoes on the bench outside the toilets, next to where we hung up our boiler suits and stored our wellington boots. I could remember sitting in the main science labs for the first time, and watching Mr. Nichol throwing some iron filings into the bunsen flame, or tossing some sodium into a beaker of water. I could remember hanging my clothes on the peg below my school number (I was number 21) and popping my clothes into the wire locker as I got changed for games. All of that triggered by smell.

I think the same thing is true of sounds; of music. The jaunty music used in Austin Powers (you know, the Quincy Jones TV theme thing that was sampled on "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style" by the Dream Warriors) will always remind me of Glastonbury in 2002, watching the second half of the World Cup final between Germany and Brazil on the big screen at the Pyramid Stage after Rolf Harris had finished his set. Instead of the commentary, we had this music, and drunk on cheap red wine swigged from mineral water bottles, we danced.

I mention this because I listened to Suede's debut album at work this afternoon. It's a cracking album and it throws me right back to the summer of 1993. It was my first year at University, and I saw Suede headlining the NME stage at Glastonbury in the run up to the release of their debut album. That was my first Glastonbury. Back in those days you could stroll into a shop a couple of weeks before the festival and buy a ticket. It was wonderfully hot that year, and I saw a heap of bands: The Kinks, Van Morrison, The Verve, Rolf Harris, The Lemonheads, Orbital, Dodgy, a bloke playing the spoons on the jazz stage and, er, Lenny Kravitz.... Suede were massively hyped at the time and they drew a huge crowd. They were good, although with hindsight, I can't help but think I would have been better off at the Pyramid Stage watching the reformed Velvet Underground (I saw the back end of "Venus in Furs" as I trudged back to my tent - ah well...)

The Suede album came out not long after that, and I was quick to buy it. My car at the time (a white fiat panda 4x4) didn't have a CD player, or indeed a cassette player, so I was forced to carry around a little ghetto blaster running on batteries to play my tunes. As this did not have a CD player on it, I also carried around a little cassette case filled with tapes of my favourite albums. In that summer of 1993, I needn't have bothered: the only tape that I listened to had Suede on one side, and "Star" by Belly on the other. Marvellous albums both.

Actually, now I think of it, I can place myself fairly exactly with Suede's next two albums as well. "Dog Man Star" (my favourite) will always remind me of the four months I spent in Venice in 1994. The album came out whilst I was there, and my friend John posted me a copy on cassette with Nico's "Chelsea Girl" on the other side. "Coming Up" always takes me back to the town centre of Buxton and a holiday I had in Derbyshire with my then-girlfriend and her family (I think the only shop I could find this in on the day of release was a WHSmith). That was the last Suede album I bought. I'd lost interest by then. "Coming Up" is patchy at best.

So here ends 'My life with Suede'.

Listening their debut album this afternoon took me right back to the summer of 1993 and bombing around in my little car to see my friend in Quorn, Leicestershire. I was 19 years old, and if my memory serves me correctly, I stopped at a service station on the way home and picked up a copy of "Club" magazine.

Ah, happy days.

Does music do the same thing to you? Care to share any examples with the rest of the class?


Hats off to a fellow Nottingham blogger, Mike from Troubled Diva, for his nomination in the "best glbt weblog" category at the Bloggies. 4th place is not to be sniffed at. Not at all. Congratulations.

I'm also flattered to have been included in his wholly unrepresentative and unrepentantly biased mini-guide to some selected Nottingham blogs of note. There's some good blogs in there too. I'm not worthy, etc.


A big "Hello" to the 100s of people who seem to have been hitting this weblog with image searches for Gail Emms (I saw her and Nathan Robertson winning their silver medal in Athens, and we subsequently kept bumping into her in downtown Athens as she celebrated). If you're looking for the photo it's back here somewhere... ah here it is.... whilst ogling her, try not to look at Bob (on her right) and Luke (on her left) - frankly they're enough to put anyone off their stroke.


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