This weekend has been one of nostalgia, dear readers. Usually I am wont to tell nostalgia, politely as I can, to fuck right off. Nostalgia at it’s root means to long for something you can’t return to and I’m not down with that futile shit, yo. But now and again, nostalgia can be a pleasant, warm ride.
I’m not okaaaaaaa-aaaaaaa-aaaaa-*Cough*
Last Friday I was mildly surprised to hear that the band that haunted my adolescence more than any other was splitting up. This was strange for me, as I was under the impression that My Chemical Romance broke up in 2008. Alas no, they have plodded on since the early days of 2006, which is when the first contagion of the emo craze was spotted in secondary schools across Dublin. I was there, man. I remember it. Those little bug eyed cartoons drawn on schoolbags in sharpie marker. The elaborately decorated Nightmare Before Christmas wallets. And the music. Oh God, the music.
I think I am completely qualified to talk about the emo craze because not only was I there, I desperately wanted to be one of them. A younger BHT wanted so much to have a side fringe, a piercing in the cartilage of her ear and one of those chains you put your wallet on one end of and clip to your belt. I wanted the Chuck Taylor sneakers and the dyed black hair, the gloomy outlook of a misfit child happily counterpointed with impossibly hysterical, chirpy melodramatic music and an aesthetic picked up from a children’s animated musical made in 1993. But I didn’t manage to make the emo transformation for the following reasons:
1: I was too fat for skinny jeans.
2: My mam wouldn’t let me get piercings1
3: All of those accessories were so expensive
4: Razor blades make BHT so awfully nervous. Poor 14 year old BHT saw one set of earring studs shaped like razor blades and she was outta there.
But ultimately I never really ‘got’ how to be an emo. Young BHT did make a very ill advised decision to cut a side fringe over the Christmas of 2006 and spent the next eight months going around convinced it was the cat’s pyjamas. My Chemical Romance existed on the side fringe of my teenage years: I was never really a true fan, but they were everywhere around me. Slowly they soaked into my subconscious and made a damp little nest there. BHT for one will mourn their passing as a band. I will remember them fondly during my more melodramatic moments, where I am fond of screaming ‘I’m not okaaaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaaaay’ in the style of Gerard Way.
I feel like the whole emo brand has come full circle on me. Last week, I bought my first ever pair of Skinny Jeans. Maybe there’s hope for me yet. But anyway the whole MCR breakup was in my head for a few weeks while I encountered other nostalgic fare.
Is nobody else still excited about the TGV except me?
I caught the last ten minutes of the 1996 boom fiesta Mission: Impossible on Friday night and it triggered yet another wave of nostalgia. The climax of MI is possibly the most 90s thing put to film along with that scene in Baz Lurhmans Romeo + Juliet where Leo DiCaprio sits on a beach in California looking meaningful and young while Radiohead play on the soundtrack. In Mission: Impossible, between product placement for the (at the time newly opened) TGV high speed train and Tom Cruise running away from things (as is his wont in every movie ever) we are treated to copious shots of mid 90s mobile phones, laptops and internet woes. Then a freaking helicopter gets dragged into the channel tunnel as the train rockets through the English countryside. Tom Cruise, why are you running everywhere? How is this CGI so hilariously dated? Tom Cruise, how did you survive that explosion? How are you not deaf?! Why does the English bad guy look like the current prime minister of Australia? Questions for the ages…
I felt a strange pang of nostalgia while watching this scene. I can just about remember 1997, back when a mother fucking high speed train that goes through a tunnel under the freaking sea was pretty much the best humanity had. The boundless optimism of the booming 90s, the clunky technology proudly flaunted as cutting edge. The pre twitter, pre-wifi pre smart phone world is a quaint one indeed but it’s also the one little BHT was convinced she would inhabit one day. I imagined myself sitting on my high speed train under the sea, tapping away on a ten pound slab of a laptop, while wearing a big hat.
I’m a Daphne in the street and a Roz Doyle in the Bed
The 90s were a good decade for Seattle- There was sleeping in Seattle, a little known music movement you might have heard of called ‘grunge’ which would eventually spawn the emo monolith discussed above, and then there was that spin off from Cheers set in the rainy north west city that nobody has given a shit about shit (literally nothing else has ever happened in Seattle except for Jimi Hendrix and Boeing).
There is something supremely comforting about the 1990s high-brow sitcom Frasier. Because the series focuses generally on the lives and problems of well educated, gainfully employed people of means, it’s a very safe show. Nobody is going to be left destitute, evicted or oppressed. That’s not to say it’s a bad show. A modern comedy of manners with what is to me a wonderfully welcome early 90s trip. The big hair, the baggy suits, the PHONES again, posh people bitching at each other and inevitably being zinged perfectly by the down to earth working class characters.
If given the chance then, would I wish myself back to the golden days of 1994? Or perhaps to 2006 to relive the emo glory days in the skinny jeans I could probably fit into now? I think not. Nostalgia is tempting but in the end, all one really remembers are the highlighted high points and moments of quality; with respect, if all I can remember of the emo craze are the ‘good parts’, I’m fine with staying here. As for the early 90s, I actually can’t imagine life anymore without constant remote access to twitter.
Niamh ‘That being said, I think I’d go back just for the big hats’ Keoghan
Recently I’ve heard a lot of people speak about their non-belief in god, and how they feel a bit sad they’ve lost their faith. They observe those of faith with a kind of longing. ‘I wish I could believe.’ they’ll fret. ‘I wish I could believe the way they do.’ I seem to hear this a lot around Christmas time, with all the cribs, the mulled wine, the carols and the family feeling. It’s easier at this time than any other to feel like you’re missing out by not believing in God or religion. I’m not one of these people. I LOL’d so hard at the news that the Pope had joined twitter that I ruptured something.
Now, let me say outright I’m not getting at anybody for their religious beliefs- as sacred as sacraments are to some, so is their freedom to believe in what they like to me. I know good Christians, good Muslims, good Unitarians and a load of good wishy-washy non-denominational people with a spiritual bent. I’m cool with religious people. It just really isn’t for me. It isn’t for me for the following simple reasons- when I was religious, I wasn’t very good at it. I’m bad at Catholicism, full stop. Here are the list of things that made me a bad Catholic.
I’m not good at being told what to do.
I don’t like the taste of communion host.
Incense makes me sneezey
I used to try and take the baby Jesus out of the crib and use him in my dolly’s games
I have masturbated many times a week since 2008
I love eating chicken on a Friday.
I was a practicing-ish Catholic until 2010. I went to Mass pretty often. I believed that generally, God had my back. Even as I drifted from Catholicism, I had my own personal relationship with god. I had a firm faith in the afterlife.
You can trace my split with the Catholic church back to the early days of 2000, when I had a massive nervous breakdown in Second class. When I was in second class I made my first Holy communion and so we were taught by Sr.Dympna, a nun who was a very cool old lady but also very firm. She was old school in a nice way; big on handwriting, sums, nature and common sense. Being as I was bold as brass, completely disorganized, scruffy and unfocused she had a lot to work on. In fairness to her, she saw my potential, which many of my later teachers didn’t. We once had a class inspection by a Christian Brother.
When I was seven I was very sensitive to bad smells. And that day, the classroom stank of a vegetable stench. It was everywhere- it was sort of like raw onion. I still remember the feel of it in my nostrils, choking me. It was the most horrible thing I’d ever smelled. Even now 13 years later when I get a hint of that smell I gag. It was in my throat and up my nose and giving me a migraine. I could hardly breathe.
Of course, when you’re seven and you can’t cope with something, you naturally have a little freak out. I didn’t know where that smell was coming from- I actually think it might have been an onion bulb that the class had in a jar of water, growing the roots- but my tearful cries of ‘the smell! It’s such a bad smell!’ were interpreted by Sr.D as the seven year old saying ‘the christian brother is smelly!’ My mother was spoken to sternly outside the door when she picked me up early for a dentist’s appointment- the nun was disgusted that I would insult a christian brother by calling him smelly, or indeed calling the room he was in smelly!
That’s where it began.