Thursday, November 29, 2012

Suede and the madness of house parties

Suede are so 1993 and in 1993 they seemed like the greatest band of all time. So funny, then that I should forget about them until on occasions a chord of one of their songs lodges itself in my distracted head and makes me ponder whether Suede were actually a lot more than the greatest band of 1993.



I was living in a bad part of Plymouth. It rained incessantly and the damp seeped into very fabric of the houses. Every day I drove to the newspaper past the council houses listening to Suede in the car's cassette player and the words of Animal Nitrate.

In your council home he broke all your bones
Now you're taking it time after time



Suede were certainly not happy bunnies. Anyhow the past is compressed and whenever I think of the angst-ridden parties I think of Suede, I think of cigarette ends in beer and dubious antics in the garden. The curious nihilistic excitement of parties where anything could happen - but normally not to me. God knows why. I'd even invite around the worst punks in the neighborhood only to see them sip G&Ts politely on the patio as if they were at the Queen's garden party.

Why wasn't I an essential 24 hour dark party person? Because you'd always find me in the kitchen at parties? Yes and no. Or perhaps I was just a dork but still I feel I was cooler than now, for although we didn't talk about Rousseau nor did we come out with classics like: "Go potty and you get chockie."

It doesn't work anymore. Perhaps it never did. But at least I can guzzle chocolates at midnight while the memory of the last party I went to hurtles down a dark tunnel of memory and disappears out of the other side.

The thing about Suede was I never really understood what their lyrics were about, least of all my favorite song Metal Mickey.



And I really thought Heroine was really about heroin, given Brett Anderson's spectral appearance.

The strange snapshots of parties come back to me. Dominick's crestfallen face when the gatecrashers stole his Spandau Ballet collection and scratched his parents' coffee table just hours before they got back to town, Lardy Mark trying to be in the in-crowd with his "Friends" T-shirt, but his party was pathetic and his fish tank stank; the odd and sinister night when a work colleague ended up with another work colleague in the back garden and she left with bruises on her face.



These parties always teetered on the edge of madness like the madness of OCD Dick when he stopped the party mid party after finding his bathroom mirror was broken. One by one Dick interrogated us, the light of a lava lamp glinting off his glasses which made him look obliquely Gestapo-esque us but nobody owned up. The next morning a photographer who had smoked too much weed woke up with glass in his hair.


Then there was the end of term party where four guys identified four girls and held a challenge as to who could score. I felt uneasy. Charlotte was on the list. Or jealous. Or confused. Peter had some modicum of charm; he wooed with his book collection. Something went on in his room. I'm not sure what. I was distracted by the Victoria stuff. Nick feigned an interest in me for the first and last time, although he looked through me to my girlfriend. In Victoria's prissy manner he felt a meeting of souls. Cold beauty is worse than cold ugliness because it masks and warps our perceptions.

and he said "she's not dead, she's gone away gone away."

And Charlotte too the next day when she broke down and her humorless boyfriend took her away in his Austin Maestro. Then I missed our long talks on the sofa in the empty room between classes and wondered, not for the first time, if I had missed the big picture.

There was one letter and nothing more. Just the sodden streets of Plymouth and the women with bad dye jobs pushing babies.

But we're trash, you and me
We're the litter on the breeze
We're the lovers on the streets



Saskia ripped out the cheap carpets of the rental home because wood was more ecologically sound. I'd walk downstairs to find her friends heating up spoons in the kitchen; so Suede drug chic. Already I felt too old for parties. I felt old for parties when I was young.

But in so many ways the madness of house parties had only just started.

18 comments:

  1. I never went to parties like that. I don't think I did, anyway. Maybe I just didn't notice that all the fun was going on elsewhere...

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    1. Hmm - you would probably have remembered Sarah - still none were as scary as a night out in Romford.

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  2. Never heard of Suede. Although you did describe some parties I went to in the 80s! Esp. in college. By 1987 I was fully immersed in the Grateful Dead scene which lasted till Jerry died in 1995.

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    1. well that sounds fun JoJo, although I can't say I ever did the Grateful Dead thing.

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  3. That's a world I'm glad to never have partaken in. I was always too old and too nerdy. I take it, professional writers weren't busy working on those lyrics.

    xoRobyn

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    1. I know Robyn - before I checked out the lyrics, I thought they were more profound

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  4. I never heard of Suede either. Some of those parties it sounds like maybe you are better off leaving them behind! I was not into the party scene at all even when I was young (which seems so very long ago right now--haha!) :-)

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    1. well sure not so long ago Daisy - sort of seems a long time ago for me.

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  5. I don't think I'd have survived one of those parties, I was so sheltered...Also, LOL at the Jona Lewie reference. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. Of course, the Stop the Cavalry guys, but I recalled the lyric but forgot the link. My parents were more liberal I think but I sort of lived to tell the tale :)

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  6. Hmmm grungy house parties...those defined the eighties and nineties, right?

    Even in college, I can't recall having gone to any parties like those. Perhaps I've always been part of a more innocent crowd. Hahaha. ;)

    Did this band have a large female fan base? I listened to a couple of the songs you posted and couldn't really get into them. But then again, I listened to them after you described them as cigarettes left in beer. Lol.

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    1. lol Jen - yeah have you more down for pink champagne soirees. I know a few women who were into them, sort of more indi types, although some Smiths fans I think.

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  7. Never heard of Suede before. I never got "out of the box" much.

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    1. They didn't make many waves in the US I think - thanks for visiting..

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  8. I haven't heard of Suede either. But, ahem, I went to those parties. Hey, LSU's a party school! BTW, your writing style sings!

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    1. you are most kind Kittie, really I'm not up on the US college scene :)

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  9. PS David, your comment made my top 20 - today's post. I actually had several of yours to choose from. (I saved the best for last).

    Cheers.
    xoRobyn

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