THE BEGINNING

Phil Burt remembers a simpler time, when her favourite bands were less po faced

Phil Burt remembers a simpler time, when her favourite bands were less po faced

Last week I was invited to a friend’s frat party. Now, for anyone who fell for the adolescent charms of Stifler, Garth Algar or Ted Theodore Logan, these two words need no further explanation, but for all who apparently slept through the 1990s, frat party reads: an excuse to drink copious amounts of suspicious looking punch, crowd surf in a kitchen while dressed up as a quarter back and listen to nothing but shameless teenage American rock. We’re talking about the pure, unadulterated high-five inducing tracks of Blink 182, Sum 41, Lit. And while listening to the repeated, dorky “uh huh, uh huhs” of ‘Pretty Fly for a White Guy’, I found myself regressing to a happier time.

Between discovering music with the pelvic thrusts of MJ and spending more recent nights comparing hairstyles at the Old Blue Last, there was a period of my life when the biggest problems were whether I’d get the lead in the school play or a snog at the next house party was. Innocent, childish and fun, the perfect soundtrack to these teenage hopes was offered up with American accents and fake tattoos.

Let’s face facts, since first squeezing ourselves into tight, black jeans and sculpting our hair into Faris-esque nests, we’ve lost the ability to let go and have fun – east London is certainly no place for such behaviour. Sure, it’s where to go to hear new music; a place to pose; a place to see and be seen; but it’s not really the kind of place that invites you to let your hair down and wear your happiness on your face. Any attempt to do this – whether it’s pulling a dodgy looking dance move or getting over emotional at the camaraderie of your closest buds – is sure to be met with disdainful looks and remarks of how Hoxton “really is letting in any old riff raff nowadays”.

Watching bands, we’re expected to stand resolutely still, simply nodding along in time. It is in reaction to this jaded, critical stance taken by the Shoreditch masses that has led Speak & the Spells to don outfits resembling giant tampons – their words, not ours – and chuck themselves onto the floor showing their audience how to have a good time.

It’s not just east London though – the mannequins in Topshop seem to look at happy shoppers with extra disdain these days; V Festival is about maintaining that Kate Moss look, which is impossible if crease-inducing dancing is to be had.

Blink 182 are today a bunch of late 30-year-old douches still singing about making prank phone calls and ditching classes they’ve not been cursed by in two decades. There’s no escaping that, but have a look at Mark Hoppus’ twitter page. With updates such as ‘Today = blink-182 rehearsal, interview with Tony Hawk, photo shoot, motion city soundtrack, and dinner with friends’ you’ll soon realise he’s having a lot more fun than your average seri-arse muso who thought ‘R O M A N C E were sick tonight’.

And that’s the beauty of this music. It’s about hanging out with your mates and getting the boys or girls, not trying to ‘outcool’ the guy next to you, because you don’t even know that guy, or his sour-puss. And while it’s perfectly natural to grow up, mature and become more serious, you still need to let go. I recommend travelling back to when your biggest fear was that your first shag was going to be with one of your Mum’s home baked pies. Party on!

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