Things my 17-year-old self should know

12 Nov

On Saturday night I went with One of the Best People Ever to see the Carter USM, the – I should say The – indie band of my late teens.  The stark differences in my circumstances between when I last saw them, at the Tonbridge Angel Centre, in 199* (my age needs to remain mid-thirties, so no more details will be forthcoming on that final figure) have not passed me by.

An indicator of the above is the fact that when Carter played Brixton last, November 2007, I had tickets, but was unable to go because my nearly-four-month-old son was refusing to take the bottle, so my presence at home rather than moshing in Brixton was, naturally, required.

This time there was no moshing; frankly I don’t think that was the reason such neurosurgical skill was brought to bear on my lower spine, so best left alone. In related news, both my partner in gigs and I disappointed our daughters by choosing trainers rather than heels as gig footwear of choice.

But regardless of all these caveats we had a cracking time; my ears are ringing, retinas seared and feet ache (in a good, non-spinal-nerve-pressure way – hurrah!). How much fun is it sometimes just to have fun: plain, simple, ‘not thinking about anything else’ fun? I’d kind of forgotten, and we’re going to do it a bit more often in the future, I hope.

It did get me thinking though, if I could go back to the first Carter gig, the one I attended ‘just a few years ago’ (ahem), and inspired by the inverse of the wonderful eels song ‘things the grandchildren should know’, what would I tell my 17-year-old self that doesn’t qualify as a ‘spoiler alert’, but might make things a bit easier in those strange, vibrant, difficult, unforgettable late teen years?

1)      You’ll still like Carter when you’re skidding towards 40, so age doesn’t decay your excellent musical taste (woo hoo)
2)      The guy you’re with at the moment, turns out he isn’t the one, so don’t worry about trying to fix everything, just relax and have fun – because he is lovely and you still remember the relationship very fondly, decades on
3)      You realise it’s better to be strong and determined and get to be proficient at it – don’t sweat it, it will come
4)      Contrary to appearances, you do get to travel, although don’t hold your breath for travelling in style – you’ve never been SFU, well not to date, anyway…
5)      You do get what you need in your A-levels, just not quite in the way everyone’s expecting – but that works out for the best so just keep going, slow and steady will do it
6)      There’s a smoking ban in 2007 so no-one accuses you of having a cigarette every time you go out after that – and actually that stops when you leave home anyway

That would probably do.


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