Saturday, 15 September 2012

Music: Keep or Cull No.6: Ash - 1977 (1996)

When I was 15, I went on holiday for the first time without my family to Torquay with one of my best friends. My parents were staying with my aunt and uncle in Exeter, and so dropped me and my friend off in Torquay to stay for a week with their friends.

The couple were in their twenties, and were very relaxed in their attitudes to 15 year olds drinking in their house. They were a couple of stoners who had made a decision to leave their jobs, sell their house and move down to Torquay in order to sign on the dole and grow their own weed. Their house was as you’d probably expect from a mid-90s stoner couple: bongs were used as objet; the walls were decorated with large tie-dye throws with Ying-Yang symbols on them; they had all manner of ‘psychic’ paraphernalia, such as crystals and tarot cards; and they had lots of blue bottles and little wooden boxes dotted around on every free surface. To a 15 year old me, these were the coolest people in the world. Well almost, they didn’t have a problem sharing their harvest with my friend, but refused to let me partake as they knew my mum would have been pissed off with them.

The first few days of the holiday were great. Me and my friend spent them exploring Torquay and ogling women in bikinis. We got to watch Divine Comedy at a Radio 1 Road Show, and saw Charlene from Texas do a solo set of Marvin Gaye covers. As the week went on, my friend decided to remain in doors smoking weed. It was middle of summer and I decided I wasn’t sitting around in a semi-darkened room to watch other people get stoned and decided to grab my walkman and borrow a copy of Ash’s 1977. I wandered around the backstreets of Torquay for a while, enjoying the music and just taking in the surroundings. I came across a skip, and looking inside I found a skateboard. This wasn’t one of the new, double-ended skateboards that all the skater boys had at this time, this skateboard was old: it was thin, shaped like a fish and had wide wheels. I even recognized the make: Santa Cruz. I checked the board over and realised that it was in fine condition. Thus, the dynamic of my holiday changed for the better: I now skated around Torquay, with its wide promenades and numerous car parks, weaving around the tourists and enjoying the sounds of Ash and the Doors. ...

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