I rode the el nino…

Much Love Monday is brought to you today by my favourite of the big summer festival bands, the Pixies, with Wave of Mutilation. 

I saw them way back in 1989 just before my GCSEs, I think. It was definitely the International II, this dodgy venue of choice from my youth. Of course, it wasn’t without siblings I and III, but the best bands came to the International II. I think the last band I saw there was Love/Hate. They were the primary influence on my artwork circa 1991. Everything was black and primary colours. A couple of my friends got backstage with me and I have a photo somewhere of me with Jizzy Pearl. He signed my leather jacket. I still have that. I’m such a hoarder. I can still listen to Love/Hate and it still feels as fresh as it did all those years ago though.

Maybe I’ll have a Much Love Monday Love/Hate day soon. However, today, it is all about the love for those dodgy venues in dark parts of the city where all the fresh new bands go way, way before they’ve dreamed of stadium tours. The International II catered for a whole range of weird stuff from glam metal through to death metal and back again. I had about seven or eight different people who I’d drag off to some gig or other depending on who was playing.

Though I’ve still got lots of the tickets, I’m very thankful to the world of the internet, since it reminds me of who I went to see there. Some were pretty dreadful, though they were good. I look back and they kind of set my teeth on edge. White Lion, that’d be you. Some bands I look at and forget I ever liked. I was just listening to Dan Reed Network as I’d totally forgotten that I ever went to see them. The hair metal was mainly Alison Prince’s fault. Or Martin’s. Those two are mainly responsible for the bad taste stuff that I’m totally glad I liked but realise now that they were such trash. My favourite of all the hair metal was Tigertailz. Expect them to make an appearance one Monday. Love Bomb Baby is just about the most amazing saccharine-sweet stuff ever. They made Poison and Motley Crue look classy.

From the Pixies to the Stone Roses, from a very, very young Red Hot Chili Peppers to Faith No More, the International II was the best venue of my youth. Along with Vibes Records in Bury, it was totally responsible for defining my musical tastes. I’m a lucky girl. I could have lived in a soulless, cultural wasteland, born in the late 1980s with nothing decent to like for a couple of decades…

I usually had to find other people to go to see some bands with. I went to see a couple of goth bands and took a way-cute Andy Lever with me. I had the coolest of friends.

I’m lucky people still talk to me because I was always dragging people off to stuff. Usually, we had a way of getting there and little way of getting back. I know we walked into Manchester from Plymouth Grove a good few times. I don’t think there will ever be a time in my life as cool as the year we turned up at Donington Monsters of Rock on the back of an RAC truck. We’d got an old converted ambulance to take the lot of us over there, but it broke down before we got to Leeds. We got to Donington about midnight and I think the whole park cheered when we pulled in. The year before, I’d gone with Henny, Carl Sharrocks and Danny Ashberry. There was none of this camping business; we slept in the car and I think it looked like we did.

Much Love for music festivals. All teenagers should go to one and stay over. It should be a rite of passage. I feel for teenagers who don’t get to experience a weekend of insanity, portaloos and bad food as well as great music in a huge field with a hundred thousand other people.

Much Love for my marking intermission. There’s a couple of days before the last papers are put back in the pot and it becomes a free-for-all. You never know how long it will last, though it usually stretches out a couple of weeks or so. In January, it was a good three weeks extra. I slogged it out to the very end. The hiatus is nice. For my first papers, you feel kind of compelled to finish them and it becomes a long and tedious battle where I go slower and slower and slower. When it’s a free-for-all, you pick what you want to do and just keep going. It feels less pressured because it’s not compulsory.

Today I have my first day off in weeks and I’m out in the garden in the sunshine. My boiler is fixed and I had my first dependably hot bath for ages… you have no idea how nice it is to have dependable hot water. It’s the kind of thing you take for granted; it reminds me of those festivals where you get home after days without showering. Can something so simple as hot water be really so very, very pleasurable? After temperamental hot water and quick showers, it’s as much a delight as my electric blanket.

Creature comforts are so very pleasurable.

And finally, I’ve been catching up on True Blood. If you’ve not watched it, you should. Vampires are cool. Werewolves are cool. Put it together with a bit of leather and a couple of very handsome cast members and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a great programme.

If only all viking vampires looked as hot as Eric Northman…


And if only all southern werewolves were as lovely as Alcide Herveaux…


I’d like to say I’ve just come to the spontaneous realisation that my blog today looks not unlike the bedroom walls of my youth. Except nobody had six packs like that when I was growing up, not even the men on Athena posters. Oh well.


2 thoughts on “I rode the el nino…

  1. Ooh, didn’t that just conjure up visions of Donington in August ’81 when I was “allowed” to go with my older cousin – hilariously and embarrassingly delivered there by my grandparents and his elderly parents… they were so anxious about all the weird people LOL who were the best and nicest folk I ever met – but then metals usually are! All my “best” bands, sigh…
    You’re right, tho’ – my daughters have all had their moments, even if the middle one was more likely to be at a 4 day Christian goth/rock festival (!) than a more regular type. It’s now the youngest one’s turn again, same as last year, as the town where we live hosts the biggest hiphop festival in Europe (apparently…) behind our house next week – however, all very clean and Swiss and she’ll be traipsing home at all hours, trailing whoever is staying in the tent in the garden with her LOL!!! Sooo tame!
    Definitely a character-building exercise – we’ve all turned out fine so far, right?! 😉

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