I’m joining in with The Gallery this week. Here’s a photo of me from around 1987. Actually, it is exactly 1987 and I know this because I found my Deutschland 87 notebook recently which has handy reminders of the things we did every day. We did a house swap in a gorgeous village just outside Freiburg in the Black Forest – a pretty long drive, I seem to remember. My dad did the lot. You know how you look at a map and you know you can find where you stayed even though you have no idea whatsoever? All I remember is a gorgeous house, a garden with a stream and slugs in the beautiful garden so I couldn’t run outside barefoot. You can’t find it in Google Maps, it’s gone forever from my mind.
They had a table tennis room downstairs and big chunky wooden beds that we slept in. We got to drive all over that area, catching up with old friends and driving around the Bodensee, covering as many countries as we could until we worked our way back up Germany, stopping in Münster on the way home. I did all the talking, being the only German speaker in the family.
Anyway, I quite like this picture. It’s of my sister and I, my dad must have taken it, I put it on Facebook a couple of years ago with the ‘if I was an 80’s band, I would be….’ caption. I only got The Marine Girls, but I can live with that. Looking at my fashion sense I’ve got my light denim jeans on with the shirt any seventeen year old would be wearing around then – bought from a random shop in York which sold clothes for people who liked ‘different’ music, which I knew I did.
What would I tell the younger me these days? I’d say just get on with things, don’t worry. You won’t end up with many qualifications but you’ll end up fine. Buy a house. Wear earplugs, as you’ll lose your hearing around 2003ish and you’ll wish you’d bothered sooner.
You’ll start a fanzine too – on your own. The first one was a one-off, but you’ll do three of your own and get on the tv and radio finding ways to promote it. You’ll talk to John Peel. You’ll put on gigs in York and do more talking to John Peel. You’ll sell him one of those fanzines too. Eventually a few years later you’ll interview bands for the work radio station. I won’t tell you who, as you don’t know them yet. It all fizzles out though due to a lack of support.
Oh yeah, and you will end up working at General Accident. Everyone in York did back then. It’s okay, you only do about three and a half years before the job at APT comes up and you work in music for the rest of your life. You will work for Beggars. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous as you’ll have bought several on the label in 1987 but you will. You’ll end up proofreading the albums you’ve bought this year. Mad. See also : 4AD.
Musically, there are key things to remember. There are grown men who will be jealous you’ve seen Bogshed live. You listened to your first Festive Fifty in 1986, and you’ll get to see most of those bands in 1987. Take photos. Take lots of photos. One day someone will publish a book featuring photos from that time and will use one of yours.
The thing I shouldn’t tell you. Dad has been tricking you for the last (almost) twelve years. You’ll find out about it at Cousin Karen’s wedding which will be well over thirty years later. Well, he hasn’t tricked you as such, you were never told the truth. You were still naughty though.
One final thing. You will be in a nightclub around 1990 and will be dancing to ‘Stand’ by REM. A man will shove into you and you’ll nudge him back. He’ll punch you in the face (and say “oh, it’s a girl”) which will cause your front tooth to crack off and your teeth will never be the same. Please don’t ever dance to REM’s ‘Stand’ even though it’s a great song to dance to. The money you get in compensation doesn’t even cover the dental fees through the years. You’ll thank me for it.