I know I’m weird, most people are but it takes a bit of self awareness and a sort of forthright bravery to admit it. Inspired by this blog post, here’s five things that made me weird:
Monty Python — or the realisation that humour didn’t need to be dumb at least. It’s probably the ‘Marxism Today‘ sketch that helped me decide that there we no barriers between “high” and “low” culture.
That has lead to me annoying the hell out of people I’ve been in bands with, and made my writing a mess of references that only I would get all of – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Grammar School — grammar school taught me a lot of things. Some, like atomic numbers are only useful in quizzes and particle physics (of which I do very little). Some, such as my firmly held beliefs about how wealth and influence is handed around, have proved very useful indeed. Some, such as how it “taught” me to be uncomfortable around women (by being a boys school) weren’t so much use. But being an outsider, poorer, from a different area to my school and most of the boys there, made me able to do stuff on my own — to start stuff that was interesting and to form networks around that. Spectrum fanzines, then music and football ones were things I wouldn’t have got involved with had I been “popular”.
Bad Wisdom — Bill Drummond and Mark Manning’s book (know now as ‘The Lighthouse on Top of the World, since the second book in the trilogy came out). It’s a mess of fact, fiction, rumour, lies, spunk and shit. It’s probably my favourite book.
Birmingham in the 80s — there was very little to do in Birmingham in the eighties. Actually, I’m sure that there was very little to do in Britain in the eighties, particularly outside of “normal trading hours”. The “very little to do” lead me to be the sort of person that creates stuff, that doesn’t stop at having an idea but does it.
The Manic Street Preachers — before the internet, the only way you found out about new things was through your friends, but that took ages. One quicker was was the music press, but while you might find out about bands from, say, Simon Price — the real cultural horizon expander was the stuff that bands were into. This was of course, back when bands were into stuff. These days the music press just covers the latest conveyor-belt stage-school “indie” nothings beloved of Blair’s 50%.
The Manics, and yes we’re talking up-to Holy Bible era Manics, spewed working-class intellect like no other band before or since — yes it was partly six-form iconogrpahy, Ché, Plath, etc, but for a young boy mistakenly taking science classes it was a valuable in to the world of culture. And self-harm, and military fatigues as fashion.
What made you weird?