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Delirious With Weird

Tuesday, April 27, 2004  
The Folly Of Fickle Youth
Sam has signed off from Stylus (not, I think, by mutual consent) with a Beta band review. He’s wrong, of course, the same way as he was wrong about The Clientele and Basement Jaxx. I hadn’t seen sam’s take on the record before I wrote my piece, but I knew he was writing about it and I knew he wouldn’t be keen. How did I know he wouldn’t be keen? Because it’s Sam. Because Heroes To Zeros isn’t an overtly exciting and envelope-pushing record. And so it’s a hippy record made by hippies. Oh fuck off. And so my piece ended up being dull and workmanlike because I knew I’d have to counteract his gushingly inverted hyperbole, his damning with faint praise, his hatred of the past and the present too, his inability to understand the finer nuances of less obvious emotional signifiers and signifieds. On what planet is “the milky way results / from the crowding / of extremely faint stars” not a wonderful lyric, especially delivered as it is? Or maybe he’s never taken anyone to the other side of the cliff, out of the glare of the streetlamps, and shown them the smear across the sky that is the galaxy?

Sam’s review is yet another “this would be great if it was anyone else but The Beta Band” piece, and that meme is already beginning to seriously piss me off. What the fuck were you expecting? Jungle? Bit 1996. Hip hop? Did that last time. Guitars and beats? Oh come on. It’s a record. They’re a band. Grow up. They’re fighting robots on the cover.

And for what it’s worth, I think part of me would love to go back to eighth grade… I’m not sure whether I’d deal with it in the Nietzschean manner and repeat everyday as it had already been or whether I’d want to try and change things. Part of me wants to be a superman. But I think I’d change things. I’d change quite a few things. Take some risks, maybe, that I wouldn’t have taken back then. Yes, the past is the one thing that best prevents us moving into the future, but you’ve got to understand it or you’ll never go anywhere. I think. At least right now.

(I wrote this on this ILX thread last October;

Nick12; Why do we still live with mum and dad?
Nick24; I can't afford to move out yet.
Nick12; Why not?
Nick24; I only work in a library.
Nick12; Why aren't we famous yet? We're going to be famous, right? An actor or a writer or something.
Nick24; I don't know. I’m planning on writing a book when I'm 30.
Nick12; Why are we waiting?!
Nick24; Virginia Woolf said so. I don’t know. Just because I’ve got nothing to write about yet. I need more time.
Nick12; Why are we still pudgy?
Nick24; I lost it! I wasn’t pudgy at all from being, like, 13, all the way through to 21!
Nick12; Then we got pudgy again? Thanks a bunch. I see we’re still wearing glasses. Please tell me we’re not a geek. Please.
Nick24; I used to be able to out-drink almost everyone I knew. I play football! I’m a music journalist! Look at my jeans, my shoes, my hair, look how fucking cool I made us!
Nick12; A music journalist?
Nick24; Not really. Kind of. On the internet.
Nick12; I’d ask about girls but I’m afraid.
Nick24; Don’t ask about girls.
Nick12; How long have I got to wait?
Nick24; A long time.
Nick12; Are we gay?
Nick24; No, but we’re open-minded.
Nick12; What does that mean?
Nick24; You’ll find out in about 9 years.
Nick12; It still sucks being me, right? Doesn’t it?
Nick24; No.
Nick12; Did we go to Oxford?
Nick24; No.
Nick12; Why not?
Nick24; I got… distracted. And angry.
Nick12; …
Nick24; Why are you crying?
Nick12; Why aren’t you crying?!
Nick24; I can’t.
Nick12; Since fucking when?
Nick24; Since you cried all the tear-quota, you fucking wimp.
Nick12; Does it get better?
Nick24; Um… a lot of the time you don’t notice that it’s bad, or that it ever was bad, or even could be bad.
Nick12; What do you mean?
Nick24; You just get on with stuff… More people like you than you realise. Seriously. A lot more. Listen, I want you to do us a favour.
Nick12; What?
Nick24; Well… Don’t be afraid… Take risks. Don’t just do things because people expect you to. Never be scared to tell anyone how you feel, or ask them how they feel. Never let people forget that you care about them. EVER. But don’t let that care limit what you do. Go where you like, do what you like, see who you like. You don’t realise just how clever and cool and good you can be right now. People keep telling you, but you don’t listen, or don’t understand. You read books, you play football, you paint pictures, you write stories, you do whatever you want. Do it all. You can. You really fucking can. Just don’t, please don’t, spend all those evenings, mornings, nights, afternoons, sitting on your own, thinking about what might happen. Don’t waste those chances. Never ever feel guilty or embarrassed about anything, especially not all those stupid little things. Masturbate more when you’re young and less when you get older. Learn to tell people that they’re beautiful. Mean what you say, even if you don’t mean it immediately afterwards. Don’t fuck people around. Don’t fuck yourself around. Ride your bike more. Work at things a little more rather than just assuming you’ll be good enough to pass without doing any work. And try not to swear so fucking much.
Nick12; …
Nick24; Does that make sense?
Nick12; A bit. Some of it.
Nick24; Good.
Nick12; Who are we going to be, Nick?
Nick24; We’re going to be me, Nick. All the time. Every day. We’re going to be me.)

I love Sam and I think one day he’ll make a great writer, but right now he’s a spoilt little rich kid who can’t see further than his own chin (and just try looking at your own). You can’t have everything exactly as you want it right now. And nor should you want it that way. Sometimes you just have to take things as you find them. It’s often better that way.


4/27/2004 09:40:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005