I’m moving to south London for the summer. I’m currently in Southampton which, if you’ve never been, is bollocks. I’ll be going in a couple weeks and I won’t miss this city at all. Will I? No. Maybe. No, definitely not. OK, just a little.
As a farewell, I thought I’d look back on the best and worst of the last two decades. Let’s start with the best; I’ll put up the worst tomorrow as really long blog posts freak me out.
I’ll even add a bit of colour. That is just how mad I am.
Even though I have no recollection of my birth, this still counts. I was (newly) alive and in Southampton. Clearly, my birth is the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Being alive is neat.
New Found Glory
I was all about Ashanti and Ja Rule as a young teenager. Then I went from shit to shitter by becoming all about the punk rock (via nu metal, unfortunately). At gigs, I’d most about in my boy-jeans and studded belt fuelled by cider my friends and I had managed to buy from some dodgy shop en route. One of my favourite memories was at a New Found Glory gig at Southampton Guildhall.
What was I thinking?
My mum had flown off to Scotland for a few days so I’d invited a couple friends round for alcopops and pizza. We donned our most angsty-looking outfit and headed out, battered our way to the front and shouted along with the band. Once over, we milled around outside for a bit only to be met with some guy from the support act deciding to usher us through to the WILD ROCKIN’ AMERICAN ROCK STAR AFTER PARTY. We only managed to get there because he wanted to bang one of my friends and, looking back, it was actually a bit lame. We were offered beer as everyone partied around us but we were too shy to say anything. The New Found Glory members were really quiet and messing about editing new material on a laptop; we were soon told to naff off when the manager shit a brick wondering why a bunch of, clearly, underage kids were giggling like retards in the corner.
Power in the Park
I’ll tell you something for nothing; this was amazing. Every summer, the local radio station (then Power FM) would put on a free, open air pop concert in Southampton Common. It was The Nuts. I’d be pissing my pants every day for weeks before in excitement; I’d wake up on the day at 4am and get down there for 7am. It started around six hours later but I had to be at the front. In the middle. With my banner. And my whistle. All the big names were there. I’m talking 5ive, I’m talking Blue, I’m talking S Club 7 and I’m talking Will Willy Young. A. Maze. Ing.
I had a friend at school who threw the mother of all house parties. There are just no words to describe those beasts. I went to them from when I was about 14-18 and I’ve only been to one party that has topped them since (natch, that was my own party which included a 6ft4 man in tears on the kitchen floor, a midget, two police vans, someone on our roof performing an acoustic set of songs about ‘cunts’ and lots of Polaroids of willies found scattered around).
This is a famous little venue that is just ace. A little pub and gig venue where anyone from school kids with a My First Guitar starter pack can play to bigger names like Blur (yay) and Oasis (boo) through to Jarvis, CSS and Hot Chip. I don’t know if anyone recalls Test Icicles from a few years ago or is a fan of Lightspeed Champion, but one of my greatest moments was when Dev Hynes bought me a drink and drew a cock on my arm. Rock. And. Roll. It wouldn’t scrub off for a week and I was Smug Magee. One the flip side, one of my lowest moments there was, at 15, being turned down by Donny Tourette (I know, I know) and puking up all over my feet. Rock. And. Roll!