It’s been another week, Francesca. Where have you been, Francesca.
On a first aid course, that’s where. Now I know what angina is, and why the recovery position is important (do not let your drunk friends fall asleep on their back or front if they haven’t puked yet). I’ve also been writing, which is more draining than I had remembered. I need a short nap every five hundred words.
Anyway. Remember this?
My order has arrived.
I’m not ready.
I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I first heard Welcome to the Black Parade.
There’s a flag in my bedroom and I might remove a wardrobe to make room for it.
I might have to put myself in the recovery position if the music hurts.
On Saturday I started a wonderful post about summer sunshine and light evenings and then… I went outside and enjoyed the summer sunshine and light evening, and forgot to write more than a few sentences. I think we all know I made the right decision for everyone involved.
So it’s someone’s birthday today…
I can’t believe I was listening to this thing when I was 13 and never even considered it to be a dark record… I just thought it had lovely imagery and was a lot of fun to dance to – don’t get me wrong I can still bop to ‘Thank You for the Venom’ with the best of them – but sometimes now I consider that there are songs like ‘Thank You for the Venom’ and wonder what life would have been like if I’d only listened to the Jonas Brothers.
Existential questions, eh. My gut feeling is that I’d probably have a desk job and far less understanding of why it’s important that men wear eyeliner. The whole album still as fresh, as the kids (might) say, as it was when I first got it circa 2008… funny, back then I felt like MCR’s stuff had been knocking around forever. I probably should admit that I still can’t remember the song titles properly – I tell anyone who’ll listen that my favourite band was clever enough to write a song called ‘It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Fucking Deathwish’ but I put the record on shuffle and have to check what’s playing. Not because the titles are overly long and theatrical but because I pretty much just let it melt into one and imagine I was separated from my significant other in a gun fight and made a deal with the devil to get back to them.
I don’t know if you guys share my morbid fascination with dates, but if you do then this is the post for you! It’s also the post for you if you like My Chemical Romance because it’s been two entire years since that day. There’s been some things I’ve wanted to talk about for a while, and now is as good a time as any. I’m going to use the five stages of grief because it was like getting dumped over the Internet the experiences of ending a relationship, bereavement and having your favourite band end are weirdly similar, and I think I can finally talk about My Chem (relatively) objectively, without wanting to cry or throw things.
After reading the announcement on the computer (the first hint I got was a lot of activity on my phone notifications) I think I wanted to puke for a couple of days, either from denial or shock. Then I read Gerard’s letter, cried a bit and I think I accepted it as reality. I am very aware that a lot of people on the Internet are still in denial – there was a spate of rumours last week, because the MCR website moved hosts and somehow streamed information about a Bruno Mars show. Then it was put on Tumblr and hey, MCR was back together! It made sense because it was near the second anniversary, and Gerard’s letter was very cryptic and they’ve attended each other’s shows recently and the breakup didn’t make sense and-
You get the drift. If anyone reading this is still at that stage, maybe because you didn’t get to attend a show or only got into them recently: I am very sorry that you missed out, but that doesn’t make you any less of a fan. It doesn’t invalidate your love of the music. It’s totally okaythat you’re only getting into MCR now. I’m late to the Monty Python party by about 30 years. It doesn’t mean I’m any less into the parrot sketch.
There’s only one aspect of the breakup that has really angered me over the past couple of years, and I’m still not sure if I’ve recovered, but I’m not angry at MCR because it wasn’t in any way their fault. A big part of something being over is that it gives you the freedom to talk about it in a way you couldn’t when it was still around. Just as you can discuss aspects of a person’s life after they’re gone that you wouldn’t bring up while they’re still living, the MCR guys can be honest about what being in MCR was like. It was almost harder to hear than the end of MCR.
When I was first getting into the band, there was five years’ worth of interviews, videos and media to pour over, and it was pretty clear that The Black Parade and its touring cycle was bleak. What had been a rock opera about life and death which pushed the boundaries of modern rock became bastardised, twisted by ignorance into something unrecognisable. MCR was ‘the voice of a generation’ but the generation either loved it or beat up kids for being part of it. MCR was a suicide cult, a bastion of rock, an expression of everything right/wrong with the 21st century… everyone was glad when it was over. I kept up with the news from about 2008, and as time went by we learnt that the next record MCR made wasn’t good enough for release so it was shelved, re-imagined and transformed into Danger Days, which was exactly what MCR wanted to be making. It was everything art should be: unapologetic, the opposite from what you’ve just made and incredibly polarizing.
Except it wasn’t.
In the flurry of press that’s accompanied Hesitant Alien, G has talked a lot about how the band did not enjoy the recording nor the touring process, that the concept was very intense and the effort forced. It hurt to hear, partly because it always hurts to hear that someone you love who you thought was having a good time was not having a good time… and it hurt because during Danger Days I had the best time. I went to shows with my friends (and from our side of the stage it was a fucking party), I dressed up in stupid clothes, I absorbed all things Danger Days and decided that artistically, that was how I would work. Now I am an artist (well, I work in the arts) and I try to stick to those values. So learning, years later, that for MCR Danger Days was the opposite of what it taught me to be pissed me off. I don’t love the music any less, but I really, really wish I’d known when I was 15 that everything was not as it was portrayed in Kerrang!.
Can’t think why I’m reluctant to go into journalism.
I do not know if this is something I’ve experienced, but I think other people might have. I’m not interested in offering up my soul, or money, to get the band back together. I don’t want to hear MCR songs played by the guys on solo tours, because that’s not MCR. I do not want to listen to a band that’s trying to be MCR, whether copycat or tribute. MCR only worked because it was those guys on that stage playing those songs. Anyone else, as far as I’m concerned, can fuck off.
Reluctance to get the band back together may in part be to the guys’ willingness to be open and generous with their time – Gerard’s Twitters, Frank’s insistence that he’ll meet everyone at a show, their continued kindness to the MCRmy. The end of MCR was not easy for anybody involved with it and they’ve been generous enough to make it easier. The guys who formed MCR are alive and continuing to make excellent music. The music itself is not going anywhere and I am grateful beyond words that it exists. The MCRmy is the same group of smart, friendly misfits it was when I first found it. I dunno about Tumblr, but I’ll take that over an actual death any day.
I must say I had a big problem with music magazines for a lot of 2013. I didn’t really go in music shops or watch music channels, and I couldn’t listen to live recordings because the hardest part to come to terms with was that there will never be another show. Then I went to #revenge10 and I don’t know if it was an inadvertent equivalent of a support group, but they had live recordings playing all day and it felt really normal. I suspect that’s because I was hanging out with other MCR fans and reaffirming my belief that we are the nicest group of people on the planet – plus that weekend I read Tom Bryant’s book, and reading MCR’s history from an objective viewpoint helped get some perspective and, I guess, closure.
MCR is done. Completely. I will never go to another show or spend an evening on a YouTube listening party. I’ll never have heart palpitations ordering show tickets again. I don’t think I want to, for two reasons. The first is that if you love someone, you want them to be happy. As hard as relationships are to end, or death is to cope with, if it means you aren’t in a bad relationship or someone you love isn’t in pain, it’s the right thing. Plus now we have solo albums to rock out to alongside MCR albums.
The second reason is that most bands get back together a few years down the line, either to top up their bank account or to assuage the onset of middle age with a trip down memory lane. MCR is not most bands. It has a start date and an end date and during those 12 years it was exactly what the world needed. Time will tell if the music stays relevant and in my incredibly not humble opinion I think it will, because good music is like good wine and there will always be people who need to hear those records and interviews and recordings. They’ll just hear them in the context of their time and circumstances.
Maybe they guys will play together again as friends – I have a daydream they’ll be in a blues and jazz band together in New Jersey when they’re 65 – but My Chemical Romance is finished.
I think I’m okay with that. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go rock out to my favourite band and send my friends pictures of us at the shows we went to.
Happy International Women’s Day! I spent ages looking for a GIF of Mary Elizabeth from Perks of Being a Wallflower saying “thanks for the crumb” but I couldn’t find one, so I’ve decided to not be too cynical… apart from to say “thanks for the crumb, we’ll go back to not existing for the next 364 days!”
Wait, I’ve changed my mind. I just glanced through the #HappyWomensDay tag on Twitter and Christ almighty, there are things to say.
I almost wrote a blog yesterday about Selma and MLK’s I Have a Dream speech, but it felt contrived partly because I hadn’t done a lot of research but mostly because I haven’t been on the receiving end of racism to the point where I feel qualified to write about it. And that feels weird, because if, as a women, I read an article by a man which thoughtfully and carefully discussed women’s rights and sexism, I’d be delighted.
I recently stopped calling gay rights ‘LGBT rights’ and started saying ‘civil rights’ instead, because civil rights are people rights, and we are all people… right? At the risk of sounding like Tumblr, we all have something that makes us less-than citizens in the eyes of the law and society – unless we’re incredibly wealthy, straight, white men who have been highly educated. But that doesn’t mean wealthy, straight, white men who are highly educated can’t be just as passionate about civil rights as everyone else. Maybe they have a direct link with a minority group through their family or friends, or maybe they just have the capacity for empathy. Some of my favourite civil rights rants and gestures have been by the MCR guys – remember Frank’s homophobia is gay t-shirt? Or when Gerard did that Q&A and talked about gender fluidity?
I’ll probably end up writing something about MLK or Selma, but not until I’ve got the time to make it a decent piece of work. I’ll still get really nervous, though, that black people are will say “fucking white girl has no idea what she’s on about and just made things worse.” I don’t want to step on toes, I want to show that we are all people who deserve the exact same rights and treatment regardless of the characteristics we can’t control.
I’m going to stop talking before I ramble my way into a hole. Does any of this make sense to you guys? I mean, I’m definitely more eloquent than those people on Twitter, but it wasn’t hard…
Despite the plethora of wonderful ideas you all had for how I could celebrate Indifferent Ignorance turning five, I have come up with my own celebration. It’s called Five-ish Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Blogging and is coming to an Internet-connected device near you between now and November!
I say five-ish things because I’m not completely sure if a couple of them will come to fruition or when, so check back regularly to see which number we’re on.
The first thing is on Tumblr now, because I thought it would be funny if my first blog celebration was held on my scrubbly little non-blog (I don’t get out much). Plus I need to post it before I go to Greece. It hurts my heart to part with MCR possessions, but it turns out that a couple of the magazines were spares anyway, and those posters deserve to be put up somewhere, hence the giveaway.
The next four or so things will be revealed in good time, ie when I’ve put them together. Right, I’m off to drink some coffee and celebrate entering my last year of teenage-dom. I’m kind of bummed that I’ve only got a year to change the lyrics of Teenagers to “we” instead of “they”, and only a year to use “I’m a teenager” as an excuse for being rude to people, but so far 19 is looking peaceful and productive.
Probably because I’ve done little but write copy for zoos and look at MCR merch.
If I’m being totally honest, I’m at a point in my life where the first thing I think of when someone mentions World War II – specifically D Day – is this gem of a music video. Then I think of Saving Private Ryan and then I think of my grandmother, who remembers seeing troops come back. Yeah okay let’s not discuss my priorities… the thing is, I know my priorities are a lot better than the Internet’s. Tumblr is celebrating National Donut Day and apart from on actual news websites, I’ve seen relatively little coverage (of D Day in 1944, not Donut Day in mildly obese 2014).
Given that only a few countries were involved directly in D Day, it’s understandable that social media isn’t making a huge flap – especially since it’s commemorative of a time when loads of people were getting bombed or shot, and when most of Europe was a totally shit place to live. But – and this could be Politics revision stress showing itself – I kind of feel like it’s being ignored a bit by the public as a whole. If you think about it, every anniversary of 9/11 gets splashed across every news outlet available. When Osama bin Laden was killed, logging onto Twitter was like seeing the American flag dance. I’m not begrudging the American people their right to celebrate or commemorate events as they see fit (although celebrating with fireworks the death of one dude who was one part of an organisation which almost definitely isn’t as big as the US government made out does seem from a reasonably neutral standpoint to be slightly disproportionate given by that time the impact of the War on Terror on middle eastern states). I’m actually pretty jealous of Veteran’s Day, which let’s face it all countries should have, and hey, Doggles.
But how often do we hear about the German casualties of the Blitz? Or the non-Western families torn apart by the War on Terror? Fun revision fact: between 80 and 90% of terrorism victims in 2012 were from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As part of learning about humanitarian intervention in Politics we looked how 1971 Pakistan was called West Pakistan and East Pakistan – all the way across India but the same state – wanted independence to be Bangladesh. The East Pakistani government sponsored a genocide which killed between one and three million people in West Pakistan over a little less than a year. This is why a lot of Bangladeshi people moved to the UK around then. As someone with amazingly racist family members, it’s quite useful to know that those people weren’t benefit scrounging immigrants. But the thing is, would so many people be racist if they knew about the genocide? Quite a few probably would and we must console ourselves by hoping that they one day owe their lives to non-British-born doctors, or failing that fall in a puddle of mud somewhere public… I digress from D Day.
My point is, the bittersweet fuzzy feeling I get when I read stories about this guy should occur way more often because I should be seeing way more stories about people who fought for their freedom, and the freedom of others, to celebrate National fucking Donut Day, as started by – I presume, since every other nation knows biscuits are better – the good people of the USA.