Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Is This It?

I have always felt different. I’ve never been academic at school, never aspired to be a doctor although my parents wish I had. They even wanted me to be train as a nurse. Somehow I don’t think that would have worked out. Academic studies scared the shit out of me. Numbers, words, teachers, rules. It was always a challenge for me to be inspired at school. Forced to sit on uncomfortable wooden chairs, staring blankly at chalk boards and learning about physics. I was relieved it was all over.
Music didn’t become part of my life until much later. I wasn’t into anything. It felt as if my brain was saturated with crap. I felt unmotivated like a dead weight getting on with life. I thought, “Is this it?” After school I have to get a job? I decided to study film at college and met some “cool” kids who had taste. That’s when I first heard of The Strokes.
Someone asked me recently what my all time favourite album was. Hands down I always say “Is This It”, The Strokes first and best album. To me they couldn’t have come at a better time. Some people say they were just a good idea thrust into the bosoms of the musical press. To be fair nothing exciting was happening at the time. Anyone remember N.A.M? New Acoustic Movement. Yet another musical movement concocted and aptly named by the music press. Oh god! No wonder why I wasn’t into music yet.
So boring and flat. No balls no kick in the gut and then The Strokes came along. Corny as it may sound they changed my life. Is this it? The very question I had asked myself for years. It felt as if this album was made for me.
They were five cool kids wearing tight arse jeans, drawling New York accents and had a ballsy attitude. It was all enough to make the knees tremble. Of course it wasn’t just their looks that got me hot under the leather collar but Julian Casablancas’s vocals captivated me. Here was a man with soul in his voice. Jim Morrison had soul, Iggy Pop had soul and Julian had it too. The dirty crooning drawls of sinning men forced out of hell to captivate young, I was seventeen at the time, and impressionable minds and like out of a sleazy John Waters film it was music for kids who were “so tired of being good”. Fuck knows I was.
The lo fi album title track Is this It still gives me goose bumps and every time I hear Lastnite it takes me back to my beer pouring antics and drunken dancing at Trash and Death Disco. Before The Strokes I hadn’t even heard of The Velvet Underground or even heard a Stooges track. A whole new world was opened up to me.
From the Stooges I got into Bowie. From Bowie I got into the Banshees. From the Banshees I got into Soft cell.... The list is endless. Music became an obbsession. One band can you lead you to others and I suppose another reason out of many why I decided to pick up an instrument.
Hearing The Strokes for the first time felt like I was reborn again. Music is such an important part my life I honestly don’t know where I would be right now. So I suppose I thank The Strokes for that. Is this it? I fucking well hope not!

Yours truly

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