Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm not sure I have that many real friends.

I mean I have people I've got to know over the years.

I was thinking about all the groups as I grew up. First there was St. Joe's. Couldn’t really give a shit about this lot much - except maybe John Smith. Then there was Warrington Grammar. This group I do like – they know me. They saw me change and mature – we all did it together…but we’ve all spread out all over the place and it’s stopped. Apart from Wittering and Zigo…there’s no-one that local I’d like to see (except maybe John Smith but he’s properly disappeared). People like John Ebony went all religious and did their own thing so went off. Peter Webb and Alex Max are still in touch living in the Cheshire area – but I don’t see them much. Jim Bobbis is being religious down South. And they don’t really get it – they’re a bunch of (lazy? white) middle-class intellectuals.

They don’t get headbanging to 'Master of Puppets' in TJ's.

Then there’s university. These people are cool. They saw a whole other side of me emerge – and me of them. Joanne said at Bonnie’s wedding that she didn’t know she could be friends with a bloke until she met me! Mark, Nick, Larry and me…we know each other well – but just don’t get to see each other. Maybe that’s our own fault because we’re shit – but we all seem to be doing our own thing quite happily. When we do see each other it’s as if no time has passed…apart from people looking like they have less hair and they’ve put on weight…it’s not that different. I miss these guys not only because we shared good times, but they know me.

The people in TJ's know the whole metal thing. From chatting about music and the virtues of rap and metal and should the Prodigy be on the cover of Kerrang they know me from the dancefloor. But do they even think beyond beer and leather? Could they listen to Bjork or DJ Shadow the way I do?

There were all the other extra randoms at home…Nick Forrester, the whole Stockton Crew (Peter, Olly, Mani). Round Ronnie. And all those people: Geoff, Marky, DC etc. Nick Forrester understood and understands. But he’s got his own issues to deal with. Marky’s a nice guy, but he’s always been less my friend and more other people's. Seeing Des and everyone was really cool…but there’s a whole chunk of evolving I’ve done that they haven’t necessarily…

Of course Pioneering was in there somewhere. Without whom all of this would have been possible. Well who knows. I met a lot of cool people and lot of not-so-cool people. Eli is the only person I met there who I’m in regular touch with. That’s it. Having said that – people there understood people in general. They were interested in the kind of stuff I read about – about stuff they talk about in the Matrix and Fight Club. About things being made up. About not being so cynical. About making something useful happen.

After that…well working…Tarc…hmm only few people worth keeping in touch with – and even then only really over Facebook. They got to know me, but not really a sense of me outside work. Colleagues, professional associates rather than friends.

Then of course it’s the infamous Ingsoc. Now all these people don’t really know me. I mean, I know they would not have even given me a second glance when I was a teenager at the working men's club. Suddenly they want to speak to me. Suddenly the older ones want to speak to me…I’m Damien’s grandson. I’m the future.

Truth is – as much as I love Carrie, Samantha, Gene, Ravi, Tom – all those people. They don’t REALLY know me. I mean they know my opinions, they understand how I feel about things and the community and all its bullshit. But they don’t really know how I get goose-bumps in a hot sweaty club when I hear ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ or 'Raining Blood'. They don’t know how I spent six hours trying to work out ‘Under the Bridge’. They don’t know how I bleached my hair and dyed it blue…then red...They don’t get the significance of playing Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. They might understand it intellectually, but they don’t feel it (except maybe Ravi…but even then he’s young…)

You understand without words.

Others took the time to listen and learn. They love me too.

But there’s a whole world of being a bloke that'll never, ever be understood.

So there I am on Saturday; with a headache; noticing my spots; thinking about the dumb fact it’s my birthday and I’m 33. And I’m unable to shake this niggling fact that there’s maybe only one other bloke, one other friend who understands: who gets the energy of Pantera in a club, understands Pioneering, likes to read and engage with the world, and who’d be equally comfortable chatting to a bunch of Eurasians as he would a bunch of teachers. And he’s miles away...

Nice.

That’s all I want really. I know I’ve changed: I’m older or whatever-the-fuck. But I miss having a mate who gets it: who’d be equally at home listening to metal and pop; who’d debate the importance of Monty Python in influencing 21st century comedy; who’d remember what a good teacher Mr. Farthingale was.

Perhaps I’ve isolated myself and lost touch with people because I do too much and don’t keep up with friends and don’t make the effort and all that. But sometimes I can’t help feeling it’s other people too. It’s about them making the effort.

So sometimes I say: fuck everyone.

If they can’t be bothered, then neither can I. If they can’t be arsed to get to know and find out how I feel or what I think, then fuck them.

But you know what the biggest and scariest realisation is? That I’ve become like my father. I lose my temper and get angry far more frequently than I used to (that’s linked to spots btw). I lose my friends. I’m getting more controlling. I smile less. I’m more uptight. I get upset quicker etc. etc.

Or maybe I'm just getting older.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but this is what I’m thinking and feeling. It was all going to come out - but my birthday has made me think about myself a lot. I’ll work it out. It just could get a bit messy.

Is it a downward spiral then?