My First Ex Boyfriend And A Band Called Bloc Party
I was not going to go and see Bloc Party at Festival Hall. I was 25 and it would have hurt too much. It would have hurt too much? Was that the reason or was it money? It was money and it was the memories that seeing such a band, would bring back all at once. The force would be unbearable. I was convinced that seeing the band he and I had discovered together, the band that we had drunkenly danced to at The Rochester Castle time and time again, would be too much. Bloc Party is a London band fronted by sexy man Kele Okereke who can sing and play guitar like he is caressing your upper arm and whispering suggestively into your ear. Their music had been on high rotation throughout my relationship, with the 6ft 2 dark haired and blue eyes melancholy stoner boy. Not only had we danced to it, we also had made love to it and texted lyrics from certain songs to each other. One song in particular was wrapped up completely and utterly by him.
That is the danger of sharing and experiencing music with lovers. They can make it as if the songs entire existence belongs to them. You can be minding your own business and doing something as simple as wandering around a clothing store aimlessly and a song can come on and you are no longer simply wandering aimlessly around a clothing store, you are reeling as if bludgeoned over the head with a brick that is the memory of him reaching out for you in the middle of the night and cuddling you as he whispers into your hair: ”I don’t know what I would do if i lost you.” A intro guitar riff played at a party can make you start blabbering to a stranger as you spill a drink that you certainly should not be having as its your 5th and you are built like a 12 year old.
I had never been dumped before and dealing with it was a learning curve. So, i was not going to see Bloc Party until my sisters new boyfriend said he knew a security guard who worked at the venue. ”He would let you and a friend in for free.” I was told. I was given a number and warned that the guy was a bit of a sleaze. I call him up with my friend Amy who has agreed to go with me. ”Sure, you girls can come and afterwards we can party together.” He says. He sounds gruff and old. Like 45 or even 50. His connection to my sister’s boyfriend is odd. ”Sure. Yes, if my friend does not have to work the next day. ” I say and we agree to a time outside the venue to meet.
Bloc Party’s most recent Album for this tour was called Intimacy and it was quite the break up album, it had come out around the time Josh and I broke up. He even said that one of the songs on the album made him think of him and I. Its song 8 on the album and the title is: Zephyrus. He got out his ipod at one of our disasterous catch ups and made me listen to it as he sat across from me at an el fresco table of cafe at night. He watched me as the music played in my ear and i fought back tears as Kele sang the words ”Baby Im ashamed of the things I put you through. Baby I’m ashamed of the man, I was for you.”
The whole bloody album made me think of him and I. But it was not this album that I was scared of hearing live. It was just the song called Sunday that filled me with fear at the thought of hearing it live and without josh to hug and hold me as it was performed. I figured they would not play it It was not one of the many dance floor anthems and sluzzy guitar they were known for. It was slower and less driven. They would be more interested in playing their new album, I figured.
Everything would be fine and nothing was going to hurt. The band just had to respect my tender and precarious emotional state. My friend Amy and I got ready together at her apartment in Fitzroy. ”You cant let one guy’s opinion blot out all the great opinions that your friends have when it comes to you.” She was telling me as I pulled on my black leather jacket. ”You are leaving your phone here incase he texts you and ruins your night.” I nod and throw my phone on her bed.
Festival Hall is not the best live music venue. It has no soul and is like a large and lack lustre cave. A cave with an overpriced bar. The security guy was fat and creepy and seemed very interested in what we were doing later. We smiled and nodded and once he had let us in and he had to go back outside and be security, Amy turned to me and said ”OK, so we may have to leave the gig a little early to avoid that guy.” I agreed. We made our way to the bar and got drinks. I got two Smirnoff Ices as I am mega serious about having an excellent time and not thinking about anybody who shall remain nameless. Did I mention I am 25? No? I am 25 and fucking stupid with it. I gulp one plastic cup full of the over sweet and overly alcoholic beverages and throw the empty cup on the ground with all the other discarded cups. I sip daintily from my second cup. The support act are that Van She band an local band with a song called Kelly that s annoying the ears of any right thinking person at the time of its release. I know I am drunk because I am bopping my head to the live version of Kelly as I talk to my friend. I finish my second drink and we decide we have time to go and get more and still keep our front and centre positions at the barriers. I was getting super excited at the prospect of seeing one of my favourite bands. I loved them and no amount of shared history could take that away from me, dammit.
There was a boy waiting in the line at the bar, behind me. I turn and grin up at his handsome face. ”Hi.” I say. ”Heard the new album?”
He nods and smiles. ”Yes and I love it.”
”Me too!” I exclaim, but then I got to experience it through a break up. It really speaks to feelings of rejection, don’t you think?” The handsome young man smiles, ”I wish i could have a girlfriend so i could break up with her and listen to the album.” He says.
”It could happen.” I say. ”You seem like it would be easy to break up with you.”
I turn my back on him and go up to order. I hear him laughing behind me. He is amused and not offended. Bloc Party fans are awesome. My friend and I make our way back to the front of the stage and it is slightly more crowded than before. Due to shortness we are allowed to get to the front with ease. Van She have finished thier set. I feel a bit bad as nobody paid them any attention. There is an electric thrill running through the crowd and connecting us all together as we wait with breathless anticipation, for Kele and his band mates: bassist Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong, to take the stage. When they do it is enthusiastic bedlem. Kele was a beautiful vision in a red baseball cap, grey hoodie and a white t shirt that soaked within minutes as the band launched into the driven and beat heavy opener from their most recent album: Mercury’s beat and lyrics were so familiar to me that I leapt up in a little jump and started yelling the lyrics as loud as I could. This was what music was meant to do, take you outside yourself and connect to a sense of infinity.
The crowd around me swelled and heaved and pulsated with the sheer thrill and exuberance of the music. Things were off to a flying start and when the band launched into Positive Tension from Silent Alarm, it was like we all moved as one giant and sweaty entity. The drummer must have felt it as well. He whipped his shirt off in one fluid movement. I was dancing and jumping and shaking it all out of me. I shouted the lyric witheveryone else: ‘SO FUCKING USELESS.”
I was at the front but not getting pushed or stepped on. I was free t dance and jump with no fear of being crushed. I had no need for a 6ft 2 boy barrier to protect me. I was a mother fucking independent woman who needed nobody. It was euphoric to have such an epiphany. With the rave and brit pop inspired music of this band, I was being reborn from heartbreak and introduced to a world not so scary and lonely. They played a bunch of songs and i knew them all. Then it happened. The familiar drum beat started and stopped my bouncing in its tracks. It was no use, the armour that had been constructed over the last 45 minutes, disintergrated to dust at my feet. I was undone and cut free from the strings of solice.
There were people sitting on the shoulders of friends and lovers. There was people all around me and I could barely stay standing as the song played. I felt betrayed. The tears flowed freely and the sobs erupted like hot springs. I sat in hot springs with him in New Zealand! He promised, dammit. I THOUGHT NOTHING COULD DISSUADE HIS AFFECTIONS. The memories came thick and fast as I crouched down in a leap from position, a forest of legs throbbing around me. He used to watch me sleeping. I cried at the thoughts. I stayed down untill someone wanted to see if I was OK. It was my friend. I wiped my eyes and stood up. I smiled at her and waited for her to turn her attention back to the stage. Once she had there I stood, a 4ft 8 girl in black jeans and a black leather jacket, crying with tragic gusto. He was there when i got measured for my custom made leather jacket. He was watching to see if the old italian man lingered longer than he should have when using the tape measure to measure my chest. i tried to calm the tears but the lyrics Kele sang tipped back over the edge of blubbering. ”Because our love, is louder than words.” I would never sit on the couch with him and try and do the crossword at the back of NME. All I managed to remember were good and cute things. The bad things got overlooked for a while, years even. I am not resilient with issues of the heart.
When the band finish thier encore by saying Price Of Gasoline would be the last song, my friend turned to me and grabbed my arm. It was time to go. We went to Pony and I ended up going home with a punk called Nigel. He had full tattoo sleeves and was in a band called High Tension. Id never heard of them and I told him so.
A few years later i get a message from my first ever ex boyfriend.
Josh: just listened to Silent Alarm for the first time in what must be about 4 years… made me feel sick with nostalgia.
Music is my real boyfriend. XOXO JESS HEARTS MUSIC FOR EVA.