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Flashbacks and hazy memories

March 14, 2013

Watching Skunk Anansie play at the Cambridge Corn Exchange last night, I felt like I’d been transported back through time to a more carefree age in which, aged sixteen and supremely confident in my Bluetones skinny t shirt and an ambition to become the editor of the NME, I would on an almost weekly basis rock up to the Corn Exchange or Junction and happily shell out my seven quid to see whatever band happened to be playing that week. Such was my enthusiasm that we were always there early, supporting the support, chugging our snakebite and blacks and eagerly craning our necks to the stage for a glimpse of our heroes. Now, older, maybe a little wiser, and looking suspiciously like those ‘grannies’ we used to take the piss out of for daring to abandon their knitting and slippers for live music, my friend and I had a slightly different, yet refreshingly nostalgic experience last night, eschewing the support for beer and pizza at the pub next door, and the skinny band shirt for an altogether more practical ensemble for the weather.

Skin, now in her late forties, is as cool as I remember, and the admiration, envy and awe that I felt for her then assaulted me the moment she skipped on stage in her feathers and Mohican and distinctive shouty growl. We’re worlds apart but her lyrics resonated with me last night in a way they couldn’t possibly have done as a fresh faced teenager 18 years ago, who knew nothing about heartache, betrayal and loss, nor even the basic feminist and political rights she was fighting for in her music.

It’s well known that sounds or smells can trigger a memory, and this was most definitely the case last night as songs such as Hedonism, Weak and I can dream triggered such vivid flashbacks as to completely lift me from my day-to-day life, and transport me back to my youth in the space of two glorious hours. When Skin scrambled her way over the barrier and into the delighted audience, we rushed to her side and swooned at her charm, utterly respectful of her fragility and the implied trust she awarded everyone in the room by taking such a daring move.

And man, I had no idea how much I needed a good shout! In my normal, staid and placid life (in which, regrettably, I am not the editor of the NME, nor even a subscriber now), I am polite and calm, allowing injustice and insult to wash over me with little comment, and needed an opportunity to get it all out – the anger, disillusion, resentment and pain – in the space of a three minute song amidst a bunch of sweaty rock fans, all doing the same thing. For a couple of hours I felt completely free, comfortable in my own skin, relishing and rejoicing in a shared passion for awesome music. I felt seventeen again.

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One Comment
  1. Katey permalink

    It was an awesome gig, to be fair. She hasn’t lost it, any of it! She has this aura about her, and she makes any room that she is in and you are absolutely right; it really did take you back. (Also, Snakebites are STILL awesome and i’m mad at your for swapping them for something less “goth”!)

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