I’m in a much better Monday-Lovin’ mood this week, mainly because things haven’t been quite so hot or tetchy. It’s been pleasant enough for both work and gardening and play – though less of the play right now on account of a mammoth amount of digging and working.
My Much Love Monday tune is Feeder with Just a Day which is a top feel-good track. Mostly I like watching the video just for all of the crazy kids.
There are a couple of kids in there who really remind me of children I’ve taught. One boy is the spitting image of a young Mark Duckworth, and one of the girls is a dead ringer for Carla, a girl who was in my form group.
Mostly, though, they remind me of me. This is the secret life of teenagers, I think.
There is a group of four kids – three girls and a boy – and that bedroom could be Emma Taylor’s, back in the day, even down to the posters. We famously made up a dance routine to Bananarama’s Venus and were going to perform it at Bamford Cricket Club. I don’t think we ever did and I’m quite glad of that. One of the girls really reminds me of Anna Lee, the girl who shared half my name. She introduced me to the delights of David Bowie and Hunky Dory when I was 13, and I am forever grateful.
We did a lot of hanging around in bedrooms, listening to LPs, perfecting bizarre dance routines and generally entertaining ourselves. We didn’t watch TV – in the days of four channels, it wasn’t very exciting. A lot of it was fairly innocent, and much of it was a lot like this video.
We spent a lot of time hanging around the bus interchange, simply because it was the last place we all had in common before we got home.
And we took a lot of photographs like this one.
I think I must be about 12 or 13 on this. I’ve not learned how to pluck my eyebrows yet, and Emma and I are still too healthy-looking. Somewhere, this year, we fell into the Sensiq Alabastar make-up and spent as much time as we could sourcing kohl eyeliner.
We didn’t just do serious ‘friendship’ photos, but silly ones too. I don’t even know what we were all doing here. That’s the top of my head at the back left. It was a case of putting your money in and being as silly as you can. And then, like true friends, you split the four-strip up and give it to everyone in it. I guess I spent a lot of money doing this! I think this is a third-year photograph, and I’m guessing this is around the Bananarama time. I’d like to point out that Emma is wearing all her sister’s jewellery, and I coveted every single piece of it.
This is me and Danny, who died in 1992. I think this would have been about 1989 or 1990, and was taken in Bolton bus station after a headbanger’s ball. We were almost late for the bus because we were waiting for it to develop, and then it would have been a very long walk home. I love the grainy quality of them in the scans… it just adds to the atmosphere! You can even see where we tore it to split it up. Someone, somewhere just might have the other pieces of these. They always tell a story, not like the passport booths today, where all the photos are the same. It was a challenge to put on a different expression by the next shot.
And here’s one of me on my own. I was 16 here. I’d had this taken for my sixth-form admission. Bless me and my eyeliner and pout.
I had a real sultry look going on in this. I don’t know why.
So my Much Love Monday goes to all teenagers everywhere, whether you are misunderstood, crazy, bonkers, weird, normal, geeky, sporty or bitchy. I’ve got my own little teenager right now – Heston – who is still puppy enough to need a nap at midday, but a big enough boy to get on the bed. He usually has his midday nap on the duvet at the side of my bed, but not today. Today, he jumped on the bed and was asleep there. Naughty boy.
Feeder always leave a little lump in my throat anyway, just as the Manic St Preachers do. When you’ve been touched by suicide as my friends were, at such a young age, it never leaves you. For most of us, it was the first time we realised we weren’t immortal and that sometimes, life wasn’t alright.
So Much Love to Danny, my funny partner-in-crime. You’re always in my thoughts.
And Jon Lee, the drummer with Feeder, had the following poem read out at his funeral.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.