You know who I love? British people. I’ve encountered many in my various lines of work and all this bollocks about them being mopey and rough and whatnot is just that. Today’s post is dedicated to my very first personal trainer (I lasted 2 sessions) Ian, who was a classic raver and used to run with a whole lot of football hooligans before he cleaned up and became the guy who teaches women how to lose that excess fat around their thighs. Ian lived with his wife about three hours away from our gym, which means he spent alot of time driving every day. And the only thing in his car was Madchester music; Happy Mondays, Orbit, Hacienda club mixes and two very worn out Stone Roses albums. When he gave me his copy of their self-titled, 20 year old debut opus, Ian looked at me very seriously and said ‘If you lose this, I will break both your legs in three places.’ I believed him.
The second thing I love are Brits talking about their favourite band. I saw it in Thailand when my newly acquired friend Nick went raving about The Arctic Monkeys, or when my workmate Sarah lost her mind over the news that Blur were temporarily reforming. Because they come from such a dreary country (not always, just 10 months a year or something), Brits get really into their music, and achieve the kind of transcendental, fanatical fan presence that you really don’t find here in Australia unless it’s for an emo band or a pop artist. Every time Ian Brown and company came up in conversation (usually my way of getting out of doing another repetition of squats), Ian’s eyes lit up and it was like 1989 had never ended. He spent lots of time trying to decode all those local references in the music so that I too could understand just what it was like to be young, fucked up and utterly carefree. Naturally, as he had previously threatened to break my legs, I didn’t tell him that I was pretty sure I knew what that feeling was, being both young and somewhat stupid myself. Also, I just liked the music. The Stone Roses, rocking as they were, had a really groovy funk element to their sound, one that you can hear specifically in the guitar and bass lines of today’s song. The correct term for this sort of elastic movement is ‘limber’. But as a number have females have pointed out to me recently, I have a huge arsenal of words that I only vaguely know the meaning of. In advance, then, I apologise if what I meant was ‘voracious’ or something entirely unrelated.
Stone Roses vocalist and head monkey man Ian Brown came to Australia for a festival about 6 months after trainer Ian left my gym forever, and sure enough, there was a pilgrimage to his stage not seen since the colonisation of Africa. Whether they wanted to be reminded of a time when ecstasy was both cheap and good quality, or simply to worship the ground the man walked on, I don’t know. But he did bust out a rendition of ‘Fool’s Gold’, which was pretty much the high everyone had been waiting for. Apparently the guys in this band all hate each other, which is about as quintessentially UK as it gets, really. But as long as there are expats near a jukebox in this country, The Stone Roses will always get a look-in. Understandably so, I say, even though I’m committing a certain form of treason by revealing that I like their second (and final) record better than the seminal first.
Just don’t tell Ian; it’d break his heart and my legs.
The Stone Roses – ‘Fool’s Gold’
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