Okay, is it because I’m an old fart? Am I past it? It was something I seriously considered for a long time. Did I want to try again something that I did (far too much, I’ll add) in my twenties? So, so tempted. But the truth is I think, not that I am an old fart, but I don’t want to try and reinvent the past. I can dine out until the day I die on anecdotes from my youth, reminisce until the cows come home and recall stories of how great it all was. I will suffer of course from ‘mother’ syndrome and everything will be greatly embellished beyond belief. But I’m quite happy with that, it was great then, in my mind, perhaps.
Can you relive your youth? Take the ultimate juxtaposition, 80’s revivals. Then you had some chiseled jawed youth with pale skin that hadn’t seen sunlight since birth, dressed in a paper doily, singing with great angst about the fact that his bird was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. Now you are standing in a field, with thirty thousand people who have all simultaneously hit the menopause, staring at the same guy, who’s face now has more creases than one of Jamie’s shirts, with the texture of an old leather boot. He’s gone through three divorces, a stint in rehab and probably gender reassignment surgery, but still his bird is a waitress in a cocktail bar. You haven’t revisited your youth, you’ve just brought it with you, everyone has sadly aged together, but you’re all in a bit of denial. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, I’ve been to several of these things, but you need to take it for what it is, ‘Relax don’t do it’, these days means don’t get off the couch if you really can’t be arsed.
Then you look at the other side of the coin, people who have moved on with time. I went to a Gary Numan concert last year. There’s a man who’s still knocking out new material, with his beer gut and hair transplant. His audience consisted of people very much in the present, no one was under thirty, most were not under about twenty stone. Everyone stood there politely and clapped after each number while gently cuddling their pint of real ale. Security didn’t have to worry about drugs, they were more concerned that the drinks machine had run out of hot chocolate and a riot may ensue. The only stench in the air was ‘Old Hoborn’, the only thing you would find in anyones pocket was a damp return bus ticket home. No one relived their youth, they were all to glad to have made it to the present.
Now that song, ‘Are friends electric’, one that I can now play. If I think back to where I first heard it. I was seven, it was 1979. I was in a holiday park in Cornwall. I have such memories of that holiday. My recall of it is astonishing. Silly things. My sister and I drank from cat shaped bottles one night when we were out cruising antique shops in bloody Turo. I fancied the girl, who was the daughter of the woman who came to refill the coffee machine. We were friends with a family there, the boys name was Paul. The disco used to kick off each evening at 7:30PM. They moved the air hockey machine to the corner, put two sheets of plywood on it and a chair, then they placed a projector on top of that. It would produce a circular line pattern on the rear door. On the ceiling was projected animals, on the floor was projected dots. The first song used to be ‘Do the hucklebuck’, which two twins used to dance to. This was always followed by ‘Are friends electric’. I’d often wondered about visiting that holiday park again. But it just wouldn’t be the same. It would be full of chavs and people from Surrey moaning, ‘Oh, it wasn’t like this 35 years ago’. And I could honestly say, ‘No, it wasn’t’.
Today actually marks the anniversary of coming off antidepressants. Anyway, I’m sure you had a least half the fun without me being there. They say if you remember the sixties you weren’t there. I remember my twenties, a) because I was there, and b) because it was mostly shit. Maybe I’ll relive my twenties when I’m sixty? (If I ever get there). At the moment I have enough issues with living in the present without trying to live in the past as well.