The ‘start’ of My Chemical Romance has always been 11th September 2001. Unless you think it though, anyway, and then it’s more “sometime between 9/11 and 23rd July 2002 when their first album came out” (9/11 was the catalyst but I kind of think that it took five people making noise to properly get it going, and I’m seriously uncomfortable with people mistaking terrorism for a cause for celebration). This year is the first that we’ve had an ‘end’ of MCR. Actually, this is debatable too, since the announcement was March 2013 but Gerard’s end was May 2012…
Let’s let the historians argue over that.
I’m not fussed about dates, to be honest. Putting a date to something means you have a designated day to feel the emotion(s) you think you ought to feel. Unfortunately, since it’s 9/11/my birthday week, my brain has done what it usually does and started thinking about things – MCR, life, the usual big questions… what’s stood out the most is the fact that this is my first 911/birthday week without MCR in seven years. The first that I’ve known about MCR and its history, anyway (technically it’s my first since I was five, but that makes me feel old). It’s strange. I try very hard not to be superstitious, but part of me has always liked the fact that, probably, on my birthday Gerard was having an existential crisis (on the off-chance Gerard’s reading this: sorry). It was the only upside of my birthday, really, because 12th September has kind of become one of those days that the world woke up and was palpably different.
There’s a pre-9/11 world and a post-9/11 world in the same way that there was 5th August 1945 and 7th August 1945 and during that middle day, everything changed. Not visibly – most people probably had no idea of the long-term effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – but the world was different. Historians had a date with which they could split their textbooks, and 9/11 is another of those dates.
One of today’s many Twitter trends has been #NeverForget. As a Government and Politics student, it’s getting to the point where any mention of the American government makes me want to throw my massive textbook at a poster of George W. Bush, because Afghanistan was a complete waste of time, money, human life, etcetera, and what kind of fuckin’ idiot talks about crusading against Islam anyway?! But that’s not the point, at least for today. The point is that one Tuesday lot of people died horribly, and then lots more died horribly because of the first instance of horrible deaths. Twelve years later and every time I switch on the news I think that today might be another ‘defining date’. Syria, Egypt, the Eurozone crisis, the motherfucking EDL and soldiers who’re decapitated while going for a walk wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt, because someone’s fighting on behalf of a version of god that arguably doesn’t exist anyway.
I think the real reason I don’t want to go to university to study Politics and RS is that the frequent rises in blood pressure would probably kill me before the first Christmas break. But here’s the deal:
Quite a large part of me is splitting the world into pre-22nd March 2013 and post-22nd March 2013. Most days I’m somewhere between okay and completely fine about the end of MCR. The band is still alive and happy and MCR-the-legacy is doing pretty well for itself; the MCRmy’s not going anywhere and neither is the music. So it’s fine, you know, most days.
Some days are harder. I nearly cried in Starbucks the other day, for example, when I read the interview Frank did with Kerrang! Magazine. I went to Wembley Stadium in April and I didn’t realise why I was so down until I realised that we were walking past the Arena, which is where my second-and-last show was in 2011. Watching Live At the Apollo feels odd because the Hammersmith Apollo is the other venue I saw the band live.
That’s coming up for three years ago, and I’m getting worried that I’m going to forget in the same way America seems terrified of forgetting. Forget what it’s like to be in a room with a group of people whom I’ve never previously met and possibly wouldn’t like but love at that very moment because we’re all in the room together. It’s the closest feeling I’ve experienced to Charlie’s infinite moment, and I miss it. There are no cool tunnels where I live either, so that’s out (well there is a tunnel and a bridge, but they scream “CONGESTION CHARGE!!!!”).
There’s a picture somewhere on MCRmy.com of MCR with the caption “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. And let’s face it, compared to what the families of 9/11 victims went though during its aftermath, 23rd March 2013 was a party. Compared to what Syrians are facing right now, it was My Super Sweet Sixteen with extra tantrum-obtained sparkles. At its worst, it was like a funeral for someone who lived a long and happy life then died peacefully with no trace of dementia or terminal illness.
Except comparing bad events and weighing them against one another is what’s got the world running in circles over the last few decades. 3000 people die on American soil and the middle east gets turned upside down. A Fusilier’s killed in the street and minor racist pressure groups suddenly have the right idea when it comes to non-British/white/Christian people’s treatment. 800,000 people are systematically murdered over one hundred days in Rwanda and it’s like, “they aren’t geopolitically important so we can ignore it until the general public notices that it’s not cool to see dead Africans on the six o’clock news.”
We’re all from Africa, people. Get your fucking act together and don’t forget any of it.