I retrieved this memory vividly at a pilot of Rohan Candappa’s new performance piece on 31 October 2017:
What Listening To 10,000 Love Songs Has taught Me About Love. It’s an exploration of love, and music, and how the two intertwine. it’s also about how our lives have a soundtrack.”
Somewhat unexpectedly, Rohan used (I Married A) Monster From Outer Space by John Cooper Clarke as one of his examples. If you have never heard a recording of it, here is a vid with an unexpurgated version:
It was Paul Deacon who introduced me to the recording (the expurgated version as it happens), in April 1982. I know these exact details because I still have the track listing from the relevant cassette, beautifully typed by Paul as part of the gift:
In October 1982, that cassette would have still been in the recent section of my cassette cases and was still getting plenty of play.
Now turn your mind to Freshers’ Week on the 1982/83 year; my third. Thus spake my diary:
That’s not a bad few days.
I saw The Beat at the Freshers’ Ball on the Wednesday. I’m pretty sure I liked them a lot before I saw them live. But once I’d seen them live I liked them even more. They were a terrific live act. I especially remember the Keele audience going wild for Ranking Full Stop and of course Stand Down Margaret, but pretty much all of the gig was superb as I remember it:
Writing in October 2017, I only wish that someone would write something with similar sentiments about our current prime minister. I mean, where’s Simon Jacobs when you need him?…
…ah, there he is. Thank you, Simon. But I digress.
Two nights later, with just one evening between gigs for me to recover (by “getting quite intoxicated”, apparently) it was Culture Club. That gig was eagerly awaited. They had been unknowns when booked, but were Number Two in the charts come Freshers’ Week, with the clever money suggesting that they would be Number One by the time the next chart came out – which they were.
Lisa was at that gig with Ashley Fletcher and a few others of that Hawthornes Hall crowd. Lisa wasn’t a Keele student; she had just enrolled on an art school type course at North Staffs Poly as it then was. Lisa lived in The Sneyd Arms; she was landlord Geoff O’Connor’s daughter.
I remember being underwhelmed by the Culture Club gig. To be fair, their rise (and therefore the increase in expectations) had been stratospheric – in truth they were still a fairly inexperienced band who would have seemed “better than most” if people hadn’t been expecting overnight superstars. I remember them playing “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” at least twice. I think it was just twice. Fairly short set, though.
Weird vid, but if you want to see/hear the song:
Anyway, Lisa and I went on to the Postgraduate Bar – KRA afterwards – I have a feeling that Ashley and the rest went on somewhere else. Then one thing led to another with Lisa.
I was over the moon, I took her back to my place…and we ended up going out for the rest of that academic year, basically.
I vaguely associate the start of my relationship with Lisa with Culture Club. Very vaguely. Until I looked at the diary to prepare this piece, I had completely forgotten that Lisa and I got started the night of that gig.
But when Rohan spoke about (I Married A) Monster From Outer Space I had a strong memory flash about it. For a start, I realised that I always associate that record with starting out with Lisa.
I cannot swear that the following interaction took place that very first evening/night…I’d rather like to think it was…but I clearly remember Lisa rummaging through my cassettes, finding the above one and yelping with joy that I had “I Married A Monster”, which she loved.
It was one of those joyous things; the shared pleasure in a rather obscure, let’s face it, weird, recording. It helped to cement Lisa’s and my relationship in those early days. We knew that we must have plenty in common, because we both really liked that John Cooper Clarke record. What additional evidence could you possibly need?
In Rohan’s show, he didn’t really explore the business of how we use the discovery of shared taste in songs to help cement our relationships. But I think that happens often and is quite a central part of why music is so important to us, whether we are seeking, starting, in or ending relationships.
But thanks, Rohan, for helping me to recover this memory through “Monster”. And thanks Paul Deacon, for all you did to help me and Lisa, without ever knowing it, until now.
By the way, Rohan’s favourite line from “Monster” is:
…and it’s bad enough with another race, but f*ck me, a monster from outer space.
That might be my favourite line too. But Lisa’s favourite line was:
…she lives in 1999, with her new boyfriend, a blob of slime.
Perhaps that was Lisa’s way of trying to keep me on my toes; “you’re not the only pebble on the beach…if you keep on like that I might prefer to date a blob of slime…”.
I’m done, but you might enjoy this ranting poetry version of I Married A Monster: