I’ve been giving Paul Weller’s Stanley Road album a lot of ‘ipod time’, it’s an album I liked as soon as I heard the opening bars of the first track back in 1996. With each playing it became my album of choice. I remember it wasn’t particularly a great time. I was back in Glasgow, working in a nightclub. It was a very fucking cold winter and I lived in a one bedroomed council flat on the 14th floor of a block of high rise flats that overlooked the local ‘Orange Lodge’ if you have no idea what is I’ll just explain that the have a ‘marching season’ which starts around June or something. I found out about it one Saturday morning, I returned home from work at about 6am, collapsed into bed and drifted off into a deep slumber. My dreams were chaotic, I vaguely recall a university marching brass band and baton twirling cheerleaders, all the stuff from American’s lore then I realised it wasn’t a dream, I opened my eyes, they were stinging through lack of sleep, it was just after 8am. My marching band and scantily clad cheerleaders turned out to be the Lodge’s band warming up and they proceeded to warm up until about noon, helping my sleep immensely. After about 15 minutes the real fun started, residents in the tower blocks took to the windows to either shout abuse or praise on the band and I will never forget the sight of one guy holding up his infant, who could have been no more than 18months old, dressed in a Glasgow Celtic football strip, hurling abuse at the band and his neighbours who were dressed in their Glasgow Rangers strips. Anyway, Stanley Road got me through that period. I would stick it on when I woke up and it was what I fell asleep to, I listened to it on the way to work and I listened to it on the way home, bleary eyed at 6am longing for my bed, aware that everyone was waking as I returned home to sleep. Working nights can be quite lonely as you seldom have friends outside ‘the industry’ who keep the same hours as you do. C’est la vie!
I had dinner with Sarah, a friend I met in June 2001, tonight in Kingston. I had never been to Kingston before and whilst it was a bit late to see any of the sights after dinner, I did find the walk to the station along the waterfront quite relaxing. It’s nice to think that this spot exists in London, even if I am unlikely to venture there often. I may just have to make a point of going to prove myself wrong!
Sarah, I’m afraid, is another of those friends I have who I had strong feelings for and I failed miserably in conveying them to her. Actually I think she must have know as she one day announced that we would never speak again and it seemed like my life imploded. I was struggling at the time to wean myself off of the ‘recreational’ drugs I had been filling my body with, in an attempt at helping to bury those pesky feelings that kept trying to surface. I can still remember the day we met, it was Green Park tube, I was on the lookout for a girl in a turquoise green cardigan. I remember arriving early and walking about, pretending I was going somewhere so no one would notice me looking nervous as hell in the corner. Out of the corner of my eye I spied a girl exiting the barriers with a turquoise green cardigan, was that her? I looked again, this girl was stunningly beautiful, she looked up and walked past me. I remember smiling to myself and saying, “Don’t be stupid Marc, she’s far too pretty for you!” I went back to my post and started at the barriers and my watch… perhaps she wasn’t coming I thought to myself? I was aware of a voice behind me, I turned, it was Sarah; the girl in the turquoise cardigan. I say turquoise, perhaps it was just green, I should ask Sarah but until recently I never liked to talk to her about those days. My regret is calling her sometimes, whilst high and just talking random gibberish. It was no wonder she couldn’t be bothered with me, I was talking, my mouth was moving, words were leaving my mouth but I wasn’t saying anything.
I decided not to bother stopping drugs, what was the point of living a drug free existence I thought to myself? It was a safer world I inhabited, I didn’t get hurt because I didn’t allow anyone close enough to hurt me. It seemed that going drug free didn’t make things easier, it just made them harder, or so it seemed at the time, but then what do you expect? narcotics fuck with your mind!
After a month or two of wallowing in self pity I gave myself a kick up the arse, Sarah would have given me a telling off if she had seen me I’m sure and that’s primarily what motivated me. I’ve obviously never broached the subject with Sarah, at dinner I bored her to tears by going on about Mae. I say bored to tears, Sarah said I was, “Candid” which she found, “engaging and very refreshing” I think we’ll agree to disagree ;-) So I’ll never know if she knew at the time I was mad about her, as opposed to just mad. Discussing the subject tonight she said that being told that someone had strong feelings for you could be interpreted as a compliment but if the feelings were still there then perhaps it’s not such a good thing. I find that all very puzzling.
Is it not possible to have had strong feelings for someone and to still have those feelings yet not act upon them and indeed live comfortably suppressing them? Perhaps its the recipient who receives this news who finds the thought more difficult to cope with; that a friend ‘likes them’ in a way that will never be reciprocated. Will they then always look at that friend suspiciously, as if their every word or action is somehow an attempt at ingratiating themselves. I think it’s the fear of this reaction that has always stopped me telling anyone how I feel about them.
As always, I could write more but I’ll finish up now and leave you with a song, thankfully not one I’m singing! It was never going to be easy selecting a track from Stanley Road so it’s very likely that over the coming month or two a few more will sneak in ;-) This however is the first one and NOT my favourite. It’s Paul Weller’s Broken Stones