Can we take a moment to talk about Blink? Because they were so fucking good. I’m not sure I even know what to tell you, they were just one of these bands who were so wonderful and fun and not enough people knew about them. Well, I’m using the past tense but apparently they’re still around, apparently they moved from Ireland to the USA, but it’s not like they’re a household name. There’s hardly anything about them on the internet. They played these super jangly indie-pop songs with delightful lyrics. Fundamentally Lovable Creature was probably my favourite Blink song: “Someone somewhere/has got a lot of money/from making bags that people put their stuff into/when they’re leaving home like I’m leaving you.” But then there’s also the stream-of-consciousness rant in Everything Comes Everything Goes: “Anyway, how’re you? Hope you’re not still having unsafe sex with every second person you meet. Still smoking Silk Cut? It’s nearly Christmas, you know what that means? Yeah, The Wizard Of Oz.” Later, in my twenties, I bought their album twice because I was just happy to find it in second-hand music shops; I gave a copy to #96 who was pretty much a goth, because he needed to listen to some bright jangly pop music occasionally.
Unfortunately I have not made out with any members of Blink. Let’s get on with the story, then.
It was 14 February 1994 and Blink were playing at the students’ union in Belfast. It was the tiny bar, Speakeasy, and by now I had learned that you could avoid being ID’d if you were on the guest list. That’s pretty much why I got into music journalism, although the free stuff was obviously a bonus. Blink were supporting the Wishplants, only they actually played after them, after midnight, because they didn’t want to play on Valentine’s Day.
I got talking to a couple of students, #17 and his friend. The three of us danced when the Wishplants were on; we were the only people on the dancefloor. Amanda recognised #17 from a gig we’d been at in the Ulster Hall a couple of months before. He’d been making out with some girl during Cop Shoot Cop’s set, drunkenly falling over people, all but having sex in the moshpit.
Eventually, in between bands, #17 leaned over and kissed my neck, so we made out.
Meanwhile, Amanda had been talking to someone who turned out to be in a band that was supporting Afghan Whigs the following night. He talked her into going to the gig, and she talked me into coming along for moral support. I didn’t really know their music at that point – although I can now recommend it – and tickets cost £6, which seemed staggeringly expensive for a band I wasn’t familiar with. I called my contact at the local newspaper I was writing for. I’d just reviewed gigs two nights in a row, so it was a long shot to ask if she could get me in to Afghan Whigs as well. When she said she didn’t really have space for another review, I caved in and explained what it was really about. “The guys of our dreams,” I pronounced to her, very Americanly, as if I was acting out a girl-talk scene from Blossom. It was extremely cringey, and also a complete fabrication. I mean, Amanda’s boy seemed pretty cool, but #17 was no big deal at all.
I agreed to shell out and go with Amanda anyway. It was snowing. That was the best part of the whole episode, walking in Belfast in the snow at night. #17 met up with us briefly before we went in. I discovered that I couldn’t understand his accent at all. He was from Newry and I still don’t know what the problem was. He was also possibly wearing a football scarf, and a hat that I later wrote of as “sad”, though I no longer know what that means.
The following night, I went to meet up with him and he just didn’t show. I didn’t care, I wasn’t interested, but on the other hand it’s kind of tiresome to be stood up when you don’t know why you made an effort in the first place.
(PS. You know what? I really kind of hate this post. Let’s just ignore it and move on.)