What makes a best friend? When you’re young it’s probably the amount of time you spend with someone. Yet as the years advance and life takes you in different directions or places the best friend equation is a little more complicated. For me it’s probably something like this ; amount of time known you’ve known each other + how well you still get on + common ground shared between you now + shared experiences of the past.
It’s this last factor - the shared history - that Music That Made Me is all about. Call it middle-aged nostalgia if you must, but the songs that define me are as much about the memories that they hold as the songs brilliance. In an age where music bloggers shout on a daily basis that songs they’re writing about are ‘game-changing’ and that they’ve ‘fallen in love’ with some new band that nobody has ever heard of and then a year later have disregarded the song / band / artist completely for the next new thing, it’s essential to hold on to the songs that really are important. Just like friends.
The best songs cannot be written about in isolation. Each one comes with its own back story. Which is why, when thinking about best friends and songs, it’s so hard to pick just one tune , particularly when you've experienced so much music and memories together. It’s inevitable that there’s going to be a boxful of music to recapture. In fact, a number of the tunes we’ve reminisced about in this series could easily have related to this particular friend. Even although these days we’re separated by countries, me in Portsmouth, England, him in Helsinki, Finland, and we certainly don’t see each other that often, the best friend equation holds true. Christmas and birthdays still tend to involve the giving of CD’s as presents – him some good and some not so good Finnish band he’s discovered, me something from the music scene in the UK. He even writes an (occasional) Brit in Finland blog called Holynpoly. You can find that here.
So where to start with the music? I’ll pick one, there may be more later.
Shepherds Bush Empire, London. Brit pop is starting to ebb away. Front row against the barrier. The oddest support band ever. A lead singer that is quite happy to show her pierced genitalia to us and a man wearing a toilet seat as a headpiece. An odd start. Minty left us with somewhat nervous laughter, not quite knowing where to cast our eyes.
Then the main event; I remember ringing the box office during the day to ask what time the band would be on stage. “Our heroes will be on at 9,” came the reply, and a little tingle ran through my spine. Our heroes. He was right.
A band for the geeks, the freaks and the arty kids that suddenly became cool, conquered Glastonbury and with this song became OUR band. The gig was exceptional. We both came out with big smiles on our faces. This was the music that made us.