Ouch. The one thing I hadn’t considered, doing this backward, is it gets right to the personal…
Of course, it was always going to come from the year I became me. 2006*. End of school proper, then a gap year. Turning 18. The mixture of scared confusion and get-what-I-want arrogance that galvanised into the Alex Spencer of today. Almost all of this based on what I was listening to.**
It’s probably the year I look back most on and wince. It was also the year when music mattered most to me, I reckon. (A lot of which, yes, makes me wince.) My obsession, though, was the Long Blondes. Literate, retro-stylish, girl-fronted Sheffield indie-pop. Kate Jackson plays the female lead in every possible permutation of twisted love/lust drama my teenaged mind could imagine (and suggested a few new ones to me). The ones that stick are her in charge, the dominating hyper-confident seductress I was waiting for/wanted to be.
Of course, I followed them religiously. I can imagine a universe where I discovered Belle & Sebastian’s 2006 album The Life Pursuit rather than Someone to Drive You Home… but that’s a story for a different day. There’s a lot of stuff on that album that’s relevant to the theme (it’s no coincidence the follow-up, “Couples”, featured a song called Guilt), but it’s the memorable opening salvo of Only Lovers Left Alive that got it picked out as today’s song:
“I wouldn’t bother to look if I was sure that you were happy together
But I’ve seen the way she covers her chest up as if it was a national treasure
Looks are the first weapon
Charm is the second
I reckon that she doesn’t have much of either
You don’t need her.”
And that’s just plain mean, but it’s stylish, and I can’t help singing it myself. And in my mind, I am the seductress, and the seduced, and I’m dancing in a way that expressed horizontal desires, and wondering…
*Worth noting at this point, that I think of that whole school year before University, technically 2006/2007, as the year 2006. I call it 2006 for simplicity (and for people who don’t want to read footnotes.)
**Hey, there’s a reason I found Phonogram (also a product of 2006/07) so attractive.