Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Specials Reminiscences

Terry Hall's death - who I'm slightly surprised to find was younger than me, has brought back memories for many of my English life cohort ... I've seen tributes all over the Internet... and memories for me too... 

In 1980 I saw The Specials at a busy, frantic, noisy gig in Chicago marred only by Terry Hall peeling off ring pulls and throwing full cans of beer into the audience while spitting on us as far as he could spray it ... while I, as an Englishman abroad, thought Mister Hall wasn't doing a very good job as an emissary for our Special Relationship with Murica my American friends, HOWEVER, thought this was all very splendid and were enraptured by his rudeness and saliva so reluctantly I came to forgive the tall two tone suited Hall whilst at the gig.

At the time, clearly, I recall thinking that The Specials were emblematic of an intellectual revolution, an awakening among people my age (I was 21 then), an encouraging sign, along with Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, The Cure and a load of other post Punk ennui bands, I thought this was evidence of the British (English really, I never thought the other countries had our Englishness problem) of The People waking up, moving on, evolving, reacting, responding positively to the recently imposed awful Thatcher hegemony. How optimistic, and how wrong, I was

And it encouraged me to return to England, when I had the chance to stay in America, and face the personal demons I'd then yet not identified but which I knew were here that I'd left behind when I escaped to Chicago City of the Blues from Manchester to study photography at a place where I knew they would know how to teach photography. And ever since I returned, I know now as hindsight is a fine thing, that every step of my adult life has been a battle against the paradigm, the status quo of England, without realising it I've taken on every last thing I've perceived as bad behaviour, bullying, cheating, unfair and wrong that I've encountered along the way. And all it's got me is grief and hardship - like millions of us being English has been a poor quality experience... but nevermind eh? What with Amazon and Argos and Netflix what does it matter that civil society has been ground into dust by Tory jackboots and high heels? Anyone got a spare jumper I can put on, since I can't afford heating anymore, and since writing anything in this cold is a chore? 

Anyway I digress because, I have recently discovered, I have ADHD ... I always thought this tendency in me was a result of reacting to the utterly bizarre normal of being English. It's clear now that I've been a classic ADHD person all my life.

I've got a story about Sinead O'Connor too

No comments:

Post a Comment