Teenage troubles

Today I took the plunge and finally got around to my annual clean-out of accumulated crap. Along with a large bag of long-since-not-worn T-shirts for the charity shop and an Ibiza chill-out CD I don’t remember buying, let alone listening to, I discovered my teenage poetry and song-lyrics, which I’d assumed I’d discarded a long time ago.

Before I consigned these great works of a middle-class teenager with the requisite amount of angst to the recycling, I took a quick flip through. God it made depressing reading. Titles ranged from the not-at-all morbid ‘Life in a Graveyard’ to the typical teenage howl of ‘Why Doesn’t She Like Me?’ And the less said about ‘There’s No-One Here But Me And I’m Ugly And Lonely’ the better. Before you ask, I didn’t discover The Smiths until well into university.

My two personal favourites were a metaphor-heavy song [1] about why it was unfair I had to wash the car when I didn’t drive and a poem where the pen was running out, and I was forced to bring a potential epic to an end with the concluding couplet: “As you can see/even the pen doesn’t like me.”

I’m just thankful that none of these ever found their way into the ill-conceived band myself and a friend attempted to form. (Sample song title: Repetition. Sample lyric: “It’s very late at night/My head’s going round and round/Repetition/Yeah).

The songs were so basic it make the Sex Pistols look like Mozart. Still, we were happy enough twiddling away in my living room until we decided on a very daft course of action and decided to recruit a bass player and drummer. These two could actually play a bit and at our first, and possibly only, major rehearsal our plan for an assault on the charts it a brief snag. Not only was my musical talent limited to three chords on the guitar, but I had an utterly tuneless voice that probably scared all the neighbourhood cats away. That’s when I wasn’t too shy to sing out loud and just muttered into the mic.

Thus ended the memorably-titled pop career of Castle Minds [2]. Strangely, given the lyrics and the slightly Gothic nature of the band name, our main music influences were Blur, Oasis, Shed Seven and The Bluetones, while I was mostly listening to dance music (I have a huge collection of mid-90s house and trance singles, despite it being a good few years before I’d set foot in a club), The Prodigy (Music For The Jilted Generation), Orbital and, erm, Dodgy.

Now my pop career is soon to lie firmly at the bottom of a Devon recycling centre, which is, on reflection, the best place for it. Although one thought does spring to mind. If, by some bizarre miracle, I ever find fame as a writer [3] and they come to write my biography, this blog aside, they’ll be devoid of material from my early/teenage years.

At least some material would have existed, though. If Dylan Thomas had been alive today, he’d probably send a few hundred thousand emails, the majority of them being utterly banal to the point of ‘don’t forget the bread and toilet roll tonight’ while his hard drive would, as most likely, crash deleting the entire manuscript of Under Milk Wood.

[1] Complete with suggested chords. Given that I just about could play three, maybe four, chords at this stage, you’ll appreciate it was hardly Lennon & McCartney).

[2] I really wish I could tell you why we chose this name, but I’ve absolutely no idea what the thinking was. I’m sure there’s a story behind it but I’m buggered if I can remember.

[3] And if Jordan can have 4 bestsellers I should at least be able to squeeze out one modest-seller. Assuming I ever getting around to writing one. 


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August 2007
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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com

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