Tuesday 24th April 2001- I’ve fallen in love with the bass

Oh how wonderful this is! I am currently in possession of a beautiful bass guitar, I am looking at it right now and I love it. It’s not mine though, it’s Tom’s, he’s let me borrow it for as long as I need it. He’s so nice, I love him, this is so exciting. Today was the first get together of  Left of Deviant so I must document it so we can remember the starting point if we ever make it. Well there was only me and Tina, we went to borrow Tom’s bass and he also loaned us a bass amp. Tina brought her electric guitar and Jack’s amp. What fun we had trying to get that bass amp up to my room, it was so heavy and a struggle. We just messed around and Tina showed me how to read bass tab. We didn’t get too far with the actual music but she is photocopying some of Bush’s songs for me to learn. We looked over my lyrics I had been scrawling during the holidays. Then we had s bit of a laughing fit because one of the songs I wrote starts with the line ‘nobody has mental balance, you have least of all’. I’m not sure why it seemed so funny but we laughed and laughed especially at the thought of it being the first song on the album and that being the very first line. Oh well. My room was filled with guitar stuff and amongst it was the two dogs wafting their tails about.  When Tina had to go we discovered getting the bass amp down the stairs was even harder than getting it up. We struggled down with it, almost crippling ourselves, and eventually got it out to the car. Oh how I need to properly learn bass and get one of my own. It’s so cool! I’ve fallen in love with the bass in the corner of my room! I don’t want to have to give it up when Tom comes back for it (though it does have a sticker on it which says ‘don’t be a dick’).


Saturday 21st April 2001- A band!

Today we went to the forge shopping centre in the park head area of Glasgow. It was a nasty place and I didn’t like it one bit! Why? I’ll tell you why! It was like stepping into ned city! Now do you see why I didn’t like it? It was filled with evil looking people wearing baseball caps, socks pulled over their trousers and hundreds of gold jewellery (sovereign rings, hoop earrings, name chains, the usual) and amongst them all was me in my baggy combats, bandana and Feeder T-shirt and a skull chain. I was the only mosher in the whole place! I won’t be going back there in a hurry. On the way home we went the wrong way and ended up in the most foul estate I have ever seen. All the flats were borders up with their roofs missing, many had been burned out and all where covered in graffiti. It reminded me of how I imagine Edgefield to look like in ‘World Against Me’. It would be a good location for filming as long as the cameras didn’t get nicked! Tina phoned to let me know she wasn’t ignoring me last night, her phone had just ran out of credit. I talked to her about my guitar playing and how I seem to be inclined to pick out the bass parts of the songs and she suggested we could start a band and she could play guitar and I could try bass. I’m all for it considering it’s been my dream since the age of about nine. She says Tom (Jack’s best friend and bassist in Jack’s band) will let me borrow his bass no problem. A band! I know we won’t actually get anywhere but hey, what fun I used to have in our band in Newcastle with Laura even though we were unbelievably crap. It’s just a hobby, some messing about, that’s all.

Letters to Laura- It was like watching a naughty child

Hi Laura!

Wasn’t sure if you wanted a copy of ‘Polythene’ by Feeder but I’ve sent it anyway. I was supposed to be getting a copy from Tina but I got so sick of waiting I went out and bought it myself. Its soooooo good. If you put the CD into the computer you can watch the video for ‘High’ and freeze it at any pint and then save the image as a still picture.

Well, I’ve got quite a few things to tell you and I’ll start with the trouble with our Head mistress, Mrs McCulloch.

You probably gathered from the text messages I sent that she has been trying to wipe out all of the moshers in Cumbernauld High, well the last step she took was to send a letter home to the parents of every single mosher. You’ll laugh when you hear what it said: ‘Dear Parent/Guardian,your son/daughter has declared themselves a mosher, this can cause problems. I would like to request that you do not allow your child to attend school dressed like this in the future.’ Can you believe that? Who does she think she is? She criticises moshers yet neds are allowed to wander the school with their socks pulled over their track suits causing trouble and shouting abuse at people. She says people feel threatened by moshers which is rubbish, she can’t seem to see that the moshers are the victims in all this, not the trouble makers. She is also trying to ban trainers in school which will just upset everyone. She’s so annoying, ‘the dragon’ is what people have started to call her. Anyway, enough of that, I could go on for ages about what she’s done but I’ll only annoy myself.

I got a job now! I work on the reception at the sports centre where Mam works in the evenings after school. I can’t say I enjoy it (in fact I hate it!) but the money makes it worth while. So I went on a shopping trip and blew most of my first weeks wages in one day! I bought some baggy combat trousers, an offspring T-shirt and the the Feeder album. The day turned out to be really mad. There was only meant to be the three of us going but we kept picking people up in the way and there ended up being seven of us, all mosher types apart from Grace who is a goth. The funniest moment came about halfway through the day when we went into a pub. Most of us just wanted soft drinks but Tina and Grace tried to order alchol and as they aren’t 18 we all got thrown out. It was quite funny. So we had to go to the pizza place instead and everyone was giving Grace dirty looks because she had on so much eyeliner  and these boots with big metal heels. Jack came with us too which pleased me, and he was wearing jeans that were all ripped and he had sewn bit back together with guitar strings. He kept getting lost when he wandered away to talk to the punks who hang around the gallery and we had to keep going and looking for him, he was supposed to be getting the bus home with me but he had completely vanished by this point so I had to spend the 55 minute journey home by my self. Honestly it was like watching a nighty kid, we had to keep saying ‘Jack don’t do this, don’t do that, Jack stop wandering off without telling us!’

We went around all the good shops and there was this one shop called Flip and it sold all mosher clothes, in the basement was a goth shop called Hellfire and that’s where I got my Offspring top. You should come here and visit again sometime, all the people here say they want to meet you (don’t ask me why) I think you would like Glasgow, although it can be a bit scary if you don’s have a big crowd with you!

Oh well, that’s all my news from north of the border, there is more stuff to say but I have homework to do so I’ll save it until I next see you which will be when we go to Skellwith Fold!

Bye Bye!

Luv Michelle

Letters to Laura: An account of my first gig at Glasgow Barrowlands

Hi Laura,

Well done for getting your pictures on that website! Glad you like the Feeder album, it’s one of my favourites along with Greenday’s ‘warning’. Actually, the main pint of this letter is to tell you all about the Feeder gig. I couldn’t really capture the amazingness in a few texts so I’ll try and do it on paper instead.

Well, my friend Tina went into Glasgow four hours before the concert so she could get to the front of the queue (I didn’t really think it was nessacery but she does it all the time!) She kept us a space so we needed up being right at the front against the barrier. Because I’m so short the barriers where nearly up to my chin so I had to sort of pull myself up with my arms to get a better view. Before Feeder came on there was two DJs playing dance music! Err, didn’t anyone tell them that dance music and moshers don’s mix? It was so funny though because while they where on no one was jumping around, everyone stood perfectly still in total silence despite the DJs best efforts to get the crowd going. No one cheered or clapped when they eventually went off, it was hilarious.

The support band was My Vitriol, I quite like them too so that was good! I have never experienced an atmosphere like to when Feeder came on, it was brilliant! Everyone was so tightly packed together that you could hardly move and we spent most of the night head banging but it was also possible to jump up and down so long as everyone did it at the same time! The crowd kept surging forward too and I had to keep my knees braced against the barriers to avoid being completely squashed. It was so hot as well that the bouncers had to keep handing out glasses of water and spraying us with water to cool us down.

Another feature was the crowds surfers. They start off at the back of the room, climb up on top of the crowd and get passed along over peoples heads all the way to the front where the bouncers pull them over the barriers and they go to the back to do it again! I kept seeing the same people going past over and over again and my friend Kirsty, well, she was crowd surfing, I wasn’t going to go that mad though! That’s another advantage of being short like I am- I was surrounded by taller people so whenever a crowd surfer came by I avoided getting kicked in the head as the people holding them up where all taller so they just passed over me. There was this lad stood behind e who was about seven foot tall and he had his elbows on my shoulders the whole time which was quite uncomfortable and I had to keep elbowing him cos he was nearly crushing me in his desperate attempts to get nearer the stage. At one point, this really fat boy crowd surfed all the way to the front  and he climbed up on the stage and started dancing. He had to be dragged off in the end. People where throwing beer everywhere as well and one man kept throwing it at Grant (singer and guitarist) and his amp kept breaking cos of it and he had to keep changing it. In the end Jon Lee (drummer) got up and shouted ‘I can see your face and if you don’t stop throwing beer I’m going to come down there and kick the shit out of you!’ So that put an end to that. I don’t think Grant could actually believe how many people had came to see his band, you could see he looked really amazed when they first came on and he kept saying ‘Jesus christ I can’t believe this!’

The best bit was when Taka came down down to the crowd at the end. At first I thought he was just another crowd surfer standing at the barriers and leaning across the crowd then I realised who it was, he was like right above me and I touched his face. Then he got down from the barrier and was reaching out across the crowd and I grabbed his hand and I was like ‘No i don’t want to let go!’

It was amazing and now I really want to go to another gig there! By the end of the night I was almost completely deaf, soaked with beer and sweat, my hair was all scraggly as a crowd surfer had pulled my bunches out and I was rather bruised and battered and I had to get on the bus in that state! Still, whats some messy hair and bruises compared to a good gig like that? The bus home was filled with moshers and they where all so friendly, they just talk away to you even though you’ve never met them in your life. It’s as if everyone was friends just because they’ve been to the same gig. I didn’t get home until 1am which didn’t please Mam very much though! I walked in the door and there she was all ready fro bed and she just said ‘right, bed now, I’ll hear about it in the morning!’

That’s the best time I’ve had in a long time, you just have to go and see a proper band next time you get the chance, it certainly beats Ant n Dec at the Royal Concert Hall! I wanted to see Ash when they play the Barrowlands but that’s the same weekend we go to Skellwith Fold. I hope Greenday do another UK tour as my friends have been to see them and they said they are excellent. Barrowlands is such a good venue for gigs though because it used to be a ballroom and has a really springy floor which is good for jumping on and going totally mental!

So what else has been happening? Well, I’m teaching myself to play guitar. I found this really nice steel string guitar in our garage, it has a much nicer sound than the nylon string one but the strings where in such bad condition when I found it so I had to retiring it all. You know that tune on Nimrod? ‘Last Ride in’? well I can play the stringy guitar bits from that and also the twangy bits from Marilyn Manson’s ‘Sweet Dreams’

Sorry if this bores you a bit but I need to talk about Jack now. You are the only one I can talk to about this as no one else knows I like him. He still fancies Grace but that doesn’t stop me from liking him. I’ve been doing a lot of song writing recently and he’s the one I go to for advice and opinions because he is a song writer too and he gives good advice. He told me ‘The best thing to do is never stop believing in yourself, don’t ever let anyone tell you your work is no good, and if you’re happy with it don’t change it for anyone’. See, that’s why I like him so much (other than the fact he’s gorgeous) he’s just so dam nice. I thought I’d let you read two of my songs but please don;t ket anyone else see them! I wrote the first one about my situation with Jack right after I found out he liked Grace. It’s called ‘Automated Happiness’ because when I found out he liked Grace I was so miserable but I had to pretend to be happy on the outside because I couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong, could I? The other is mine and Jack’s favourite of all my songs ‘Angels in strait jackets’ and is an attack on the education system as well as a protest against McCulloch’s treatment of moshers. I drew a picture to go with that one on the drawing programme on our new computer (I also used it to draw the offspring logo at the bottom of the page) you’ll have to let me know what you think. I’ve never really grown out of wanting to be in a band.

Wow, that was a long letter, so much more to say but I’d better shut up now. Thanks for listening! Next time we will be home for the weekend will be in June.

Bye Bye!

Luv Michelle

P.S I just heard something really funny on the radio: there’s a website called ‘Ned r Us’. It sells everything from tracksuits to gold jewellery. How sad is that?!

Monday 9th April 2001- By the End I was soaked in a mixture of beer and sweat and water

Should be sleeping now but my God I can’t! That was just awesome, mental, fantastic! The best experience of my life! I am of course talking about the Feeder gig. Wow, it was amazing! The atmosphere was roaring, what a place The Barrowlands is! I loved every minute of it, even being crushed! We were right at the front against the barriers and there was just so many other bodies squished against us. This was a lad behind me and he was standing with his arms on my shoulders thought the whole gig because I guess he didn’t have anywhere else to put them given we were all so tightly squashed in. It was amazing. All those sweat soaked people jumping up and down together screaming. There was loads of crowd surfers too which all added to the fun and it was so hot the security guards kept showering us with water to cool us down. By the end of the night of soaked with a mixture of beer and sweat and water. Feeder where amazing. The best part was when Taka (the bass player) got down from the stage at the end and leaned right into the crowd. I touched his face and grabbed his hand. I held Taka’s hand! Oh my God! That was the best night even and I want to do it all again! the sense of togetherness, all those people united and framed together so tight you can hardly breathe! I didn’t get home until one o’clock in the morning and I’m still hyper even now. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun in my life!

*for more on this night see my letter I wrote to my best friend in Newcastle about it.

Tuesday 3rd April 2001- Words Can Damage the Soul

School. So what did you expect? I have to go to this prison every weekday don’t I? And oh God it’s only Tuesday! How slowly the days go by, I had my usual Tuesday afternoon shit from those bastards at school shouting abuse through the wall at me and following me while I left class. How long will this go on for? Don’t know if I can take it much longer. What right do they have to make me feel this way? It’s getting beyond a joke. I can’t walk down the corridor now without constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure they aren’t coming my way, I feel like I am on a knife edge waiting for the next round of abuse to be thrown at me. They say words can’t hurt you and maybe they can’t physically but there is a different kind of pain that is just as real- pain inside. Words can damage the soul as badly as a blow can damage the body and each insult they toss my ay cuts my soul like a razor blade and they have torn my soul to tatters, how long before the destroy it completely? And it’s entirely unjustified, I can’t help the way I talk, it doesn’t harm them in any way so why do they insist on harming me? It might sound utopian but why can’t I live in a world where everyone respects everyone else? It’s not hard. I find it so easy to respect other people for who they are and what they do, yet some people seem to have great trouble with this. If there is a god why would he allow people like them to be born? He obviously doesn’t exist because he wouldn’t let such awful things happen. Oh what a state I’m in!

Monday 2nd April 2001- Going through Changes

Another day in what seems like an endless prison, even more so with the dragon and her strict crack down on all things teenage with an attempt to make a school full of zombies. It would be quicker and easier of her just to brain wash us all, the end result would be the same. This is an interesting time in my life though.  I’ve been on a voyage of self discovery recently and I guess I’m still cruising even now. It isn’t all pleasant, but it’s not all unpleasant either, the old cliche will do fine: it’s like being on a roller coaster. One minute I’m high up in the sky and the next I’m on rock bottom. Today my emotions teeter precariously on the high track. I feel more alive today, more at peace with myself and most of all I feel safe- sure that this time on the up will be mine to enjoy for a little while before the inevitable slump back into unjustified despair. I love being seventeen. It’s so varied and exiting, I’m going through changes, really getting to know myself and find out who I am. The real me. Me as an individual. So yeah, maybe it brings up questions and breeds confusion but hey, who in the world is ever certain of everything and has all the answers? No one does. It can be kind of fun playing with the puzzle that is life. Oh well, I might be talking crap but who cares? It makes sense to me and I’m writing this for me. What else happened today? More abuse from those narrow minded individuals. I also walked the dogs while blasting my ears with ‘Nimrod’ and I went to work for five hours at the Tryst in the name of accumulating as much money as I can. Oh! I feel so hyper now!