Life

SONGS THAT TAKE ME BACK

If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you might have noticed that music is my thing. I’ll probably never be invited onto Desert Island Discs, but if I were to answer the final question and request my one luxury item, it’d be a phone with Spotify Premium and a pair of Bose QC35 headphones. Yes, that’s more than one luxury item. Sue me, Lauren Laverne.

One of the many things I love about music is it’s ability to take you back to a certain moment, or time in your life. We can pin most songs to a year, or when we were a specific age, but some songs remind us of an exact moment. These are two of the songs that do that for me.

(sic) – Slipknot

I remember the first time I saw Slipknot on Kerrang! TV, it changed things for me. It was 1999 and seeing their Wait And Bleed video made me feel a combination of breathlessly excited and utterly terrified. Nine masked men in boiler suits playing heavier music than I’d ever heard before? Yes please.

Metal band, Slipknot, in 1999

There was just one problem. In a rare moment of agreement, my parents had forbidden me from listening to Slipknot. Despite living completely separate lives, they had both read in the news that Slipknot were evil and that little 12 year old Matt would likely turn to murder, or drugs and murder if he bought their album. Gutted.

Fast forward about a year and I was visiting my best friend, TJ, who had moved away a few months previously. I was dropped off at their house to have a week away and we had spent the first couple of days skating outside his house and listening to Marilyn Manson.

A few days later we found a creepy, abandoned school and built a mini skatepark in one of the classrooms that nature had started to claim back. Have you seen the photos of Chernobyl now? It was kind of like that, but with less radiation. If you consider ‘likelihood of being infected with Tetanus’ as a yardstick for measuring how cool somewhere was, this place was the shit.

Hallway of an abandoned derelict building

TJ and I had finished up skating for the day and were tearing through his new Lincolnshire hometown on our BMXs when we paused to down our energy drinks. Stopping for air, I asked if I could borrow his Minidisc Player. He obliged and chucked it over to me.

I had recently become a teenager, was clad head-to-toe in skater gear, had just trespassed in a dilapidated old building, and was unknowingly about to hear Slipknot’s debut album for the first time. To say this moment was formative might be an understatement. I pressed play and we tore off on our bikes again.

I had no idea what was going on when ‘742617000027‘ started playing, but I sensed that shit was about to kick off. And boy was I right. At the precise moment ‘(sic)‘ came on, I was changed forever. I felt like an absolute badass. Especially when I realised who I was listening to. Even though it was 100% accidental, I felt like the biggest rebel that ever lived.

Topless tattooed man wearing skull rings and holding fists up
Me at 12 years old.

Hot Dog – Limp Bizkit

Let me start by saying this is not a ‘favourite songs’ list. Limp Bizkit have written some absolute bangers (‘Nookie‘, ‘Rearranged‘, ‘Boiler‘, to name a few) but ‘Hot Dog’ is not one of them. It does hold a happy memory for me though.

My parents split up when I was very young and my dad moved abroad. For a while, my eldest brother Charlie and I rarely got to see him. This is a happy story, stay with me.

When Dad moved back to the UK we started to spend time with him a bit more. On one of our days out, Dad had taken Charlie and I to HMV and had bought me ‘Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water’. Like most super cool kids, I had ‘Rollin’‘ on CD single, loved ‘Take A Look Around‘, and ‘My Way‘ had been the theme music to the best Wrestlemania of all time. It was a smart buy and I couldn’t believe it when Dad said we could play the album in the car on the way back.

Album artwork for Limp Bizkit's 'Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Chocolate Flavored Water'

So here’s the scene. A beat-up, old, blue VW Polo. Thirteen year old me, ten year old brother, and Dad, doing his best to entertain us for the day and not give our mum any reason to complain about his parenting skills. Rather than skip to the hits, Dad insists the proper way to listen to any album is all the way through, from the start. Solid advice. We turn the volume up and hit play.

Intro‘ comes and goes. So far, so good. Next up is another song I’ve not heard before. ‘Hot Dog‘. If you’re not bothered about checking this song out, here’s a snippet of the lyrics from verse one.

‘Fucked up dreams
Fucked up life
A fucked up kid
With a fucked up knife’

The word ‘fuck’ appears 48 times in this song. I wanted the world to swallow me up.

Dad made it through an impressive 29 ‘fuck’s before Fred Durst broke into ‘You want to fuck me like an animal’ and his composure broke. The skip button evaded him for a few more excruciating seconds before he located it and I was able to narrowly avoid being the first ever person to cringe themselves to death.

To be fair, Dad handled the whole situation well. I’m guessing he was just hoping we could keep this innocence-ruining incident between the three of us. He was also probably bitterly disappointed at how his own flesh and blood could be into such shit music.

Every time I hear either of these songs, I’m taken right back to these moments. There are so many other songs that have some kind of special memory for me so I might end up writing another one of these blogs in time. In the meantime, what are some of your songs that take you back?

Images by Francesco Paggiario & Clem Onojeghuo

1 comment on “SONGS THAT TAKE ME BACK

  1. Like it. I remember it very well x

    Like

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