"Dear reader, welcome...
Some Blogs just didn't get written at the time but they still make noises in my head. Here's one of them. From flipping ages ago".
Is there anything more powerful than music? Yes. The Hulk. But music definitely comes a close second. Music has the power to change the world and to unite us all, although it never has. In fact, generally music only divides us further and most bands want to make the world exactly the same as it was in 1974. I love my friends so dearly but I would rather murder them with my two bare knives than listen to their shitty taste in music. I have a friend who is funny, intelligent and sweet and every time I'm with her I think I'm lucky to have someone like her in my life and when we part I sincerely hope that a motorcycle courier ploughs her into the tarmac before she gets home and puts Ocean Colour Scene on. I mean, why would anyone do that to themselves? In 2014? They were a 90's mistake. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT. Anyway, she'd be equally appalled if I put my beloved Metallica on in front of her. In fact, most music I like is designed to make everyone but me sick. I love heavy metal. It's the single most perfect form of music. It's fun, exciting and it will never ever make you feel sad. Heavy metal is basically better than any person you've ever met. And heavy metal fans are happy, friendly, warm people. They're good people who have great music.
But that doesn't mean they should force it on us.
When I walk around listening to Megadeth, I have my earphones in and my iphone turned up full. I love it. But if I get on a train or a bus or an ambulance or go anywhere in public, that music gets turned way down. I've yet to get on a train carriage and have everyone all agree they'd love to hear some heavy metal right now so I keep it all to myself. And that is how it should be. Music should be shared, it shouldn't be mandatory. But how to deal with those who break that rule? How to deal with heavy metal fans insisting on playing the loudest music on the planet in a place it's not been invited to? Well...
A few months ago after a gig in Nottingham, myself and fellow music fan Bennett Arron (well, he has a Best Of Driving Anthems tape in his car) went out for a drink. It was late but I knew a bar that would still be open. I knew it because it's a heavy metal bar. I knew the heavy metal bar because I'm a heavy metal fan. I like it loud, loud and louder. Bennett?...not so much. But that's OK because this is a heavy metal bar and heavy metal people are the nicest people in the world. The bar has three rooms. One pretty loud room, one deafeningly loud room and...one pretty quiet room. See? They're thoughtful. I mean, you can still hear the music but it's definitely background music. You can easily have a relaxing conversation. I was happy. Bennett was happy. And the quiet room was empty except for us. Us and three heavy metal fans. Three heavy metal fans who got their phones out and started playing THEIR music loudly. Very 'eavy, not very 'umble.
This is completely alien territory for me. Rude heavy metal fans? I've never ever met any. In the '80's in my hometown of Newtownards, there was a heavy metal bar. It was dark and terrifying. NEVER EVER GO IN THERE was generally the plan for me and everyone I knew. Of course, now I look back and think that's nuts. Every other bar in town was run by paramilitaries and we decided that drinking with terrorists was safer than drinking with people who quite liked Dumpy's Rusty Nuts. When I finally went into that bar for the first time it was like I'd found home. Everyone was long haired, smelly and just lovely. I was welcomed with open, unwashed arms. I was bought a pint. And if I wanted to headbang to Judas Priest...well, no one here was going to stop me. How could anyone not like heavy metal fans. They're just adorable. So what the hell went wrong with these three?
Bennett and I ignored them. We hadn't been out together for quite a while and it was great to see him and just chat. Then they played another loud song on their phone. Bennett and I quietly laughed and rolled our eyes. These three dicks aren't going to spoil our night. Then they played another loud song on their phone. But we cared not. It was annoying but Bennett and I rose above it. Then they played another loud song on their phone.
"You know I'm going to have to deal with this, don't you?", I said to my friend.
Bennett closed his eyes, sighed and said "I know".
Thoughtlessly playing loud music in a bar is unforgivable and I was glad Bennett agreed. We'd heard four loud songs from a shitty, tinny phone speaker and, to quote Twisted Sister, we're not gonna take it anymore. They're loud people playing the loudest of music but I must defeat them. Somehow.
I got my phone out and scrolled through my music. Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax...all great loud bands. But I'm not just a heavy metal fan. I'm a MUSIC fan. On my phone I have Iron Maiden, The Smiths, The Clash, Faith No More, The Sex Pistols...and I have Girls Aloud.
I also have a better, louder phone. I pressed play on Sexy No No No and sat back to enjoy the disgust on the faces of the only three rude heavy metal fans in history. They turned their phone up. I turned mine louder. I can vaguely hear a guitar solo but it's hard to register it over the sound of Cheryl Cole's vocoder. They turned their phone up again. So I turned Britain's girl band pop sensations up to 11. AND we sang along.
The three heavy metal "fans" switched their phone off. They got up. They left. Such is the power of music.
I switched Girls Aloud off and Bennett and I continued our night in happiness. Just us in a heavy metal snug in Nottingham. And it made me think...music has the power to change the world and divide us all. Sometimes, that's not always a bad thing.
ps I will never come round to your house and shove a Metallica or Girls Aloud song into your ears. But, if you're interested, I'd go for Master of Puppets by Metallica and Miss You Bow Wow by Girls Aloud. Sharing music is a brilliant thing and I recommend you do that right now. Tell everyone what you're listening to right now on Twitter, recommend an album on Facebook for your friends to see. Just keep it down in public, please. Thanks.