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Skint & Demoralised - Sex, Depression And MDMA

By NME Blog

Posted on 03 Mar 09


The phone calls, text messages and e-mail alerts that act as a sporadic alarm clock on days at home weren't present this morning, although it wasn't down to a lack of activity. The phone that would usually be there to wake me from my post-tour slumber is in Southampton, and consequently 232 miles away from being within earshot.

Nevertheless, it's the release date for the second single, and so I've shifted downstairs and slapped the kettle on by midday. There are quite a few e-mails to respond to, which not only distracts me from Jeremy Kyle and 'Loose Women', but also starts the day in a work mindset, which is always a good thing despite my seemingly nonchalant approach to the 'business' side of things.

The reason for my phone being in Southampton? Some characteristically reckless behaviour on the last night of our tour which saw me leave my phone at the final venue. Fortunately, it should arrive in the post tomorrow morning. Waking up in London yesterday, I dragged my suitcase out of the hotel and then paused for a second. I suddenly realised how vulnerable and insecure I felt without my phone - it sounds pathetic, but it actually feels like losing a limb. As if it wasn't hard enough without my laptop!

So, the tour is over and for the time-being, all eyes are on the single release. It's a non-chart release, but it's available from the likes of iTunes and should be stocked in most good record stores around the country (as well as some rubbish ones here and there).

Resisting the temptation to go into HMV and see my single on the shelves for the first time depends on how busy I'm kept this afternoon. Fingers crossed for a hectic day. The single is called 'This Song Is Definitely Not About You', and whether it's down to social stereotype or even a keen assumption based on the accompanying tracks in the Skint & Demoralised repertoire, most people think that it's about a girl. More specifically, they assume that it's about an ex-girlfriend.

I can fully understand why they would...like I said, most of the songs on the album tell tales of lovers lost and catastrophes unfolding. The occasional butterfly moment occurs in order to brighten the mood, but either way they're mostly dictated by female interaction. This song in particular, however, may not be. The first port of call when attempting to decipher it's subject matter would be the lyrics.

Then there's the short blurb that I've written about the song. I then expanded this into a short story - an extensive explanation on the origin of the song and why I was inspired to write it in the first place. Nowhere in any of these pieces does it mention gender. It mentions a relationship, but never insinuates romance. The widespread assumption that it's about a female has nothing to do with anything that I've written whatsoever.

Not that I'm saying it's about a bloke, of course. I'm just encouraging you to perhaps think outside the box. Put it this way - it's definitely someone that NME readers are familiar with. They might not be for much longer, but they certainly have been in the last few years.

Anyways, enough about the single, let's talk about something else. So far, I've talked about my love for John Cooper Clarke, Chet Baker, The Smiths and Leeds United FC. Before delving into literature and film, I'm going to talk about one more musician: Mr Mojo Risin' himself, Jim Morrison. The enigmatic frontman who now firmly holds a position as cult hero and rock icon.

He fronted American psychedelic rock outfit The Doors from 1965 until his death in Paris on 3rd July 1971. His tomb at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in the city that he perished in is one of the most infamous landmarks in musical history and is still visited by hundreds and thousands of people on a daily basis. The curious thing about The Doors, or so I'm told, is that they weren't actually that big when they were around.

In a similar fashion to the continuing rise in cult status of bands such as The Smiths, they appear to have slowly grown since ceasing to exist and are careering into the twenty-first century as one of the most loved and indeed most influential bands of all-time. I think I told you in one of my earlier blogs that the first vinyl I ever bought was the 'Greatest Hits' from The Doors at a record store in Lower East Side, New York City. There's a particular reason why I love The Doors, in fact there are a few, but I'll have to resist going into too much detail in this case. More of that to come in the future.

Most of the music that I truly love is down to the fact that I can relate to the lyrics so easily. The storytellers that I constantly rave-on about such as Arctic Monkeys, Squeeze and The Jam. I've said it before and I'll say it again: when you listen to their records, it feels like a mate is telling you a story down the pub. This is what really inspires me to write myself, and a lack of this sense of realism is often what prevents me from liking other artists.

However, with The Doors, the attraction couldn't be any more different. For me,their music has a haunting power to trigger the desperate craving for escapism in my body, and takes me somewhere completely different. Dropping the needle and hearing the intro to 'Light My Fire' burst out of the speakers feels like taking a dab of MDMA at a music festival.

The psychedelic genius in their music and the overwhelming power of Morrison as a frontman takes me somewhere that no other band has ever even ventured towards. I don't know what it is about Morrison - a combination of his voice, his looks, his mysterious persona and the way that he is on stage...all manner of things. It's a furious concoction of sexual attraction and musical genius that makes for one of the most iconic people of all-time.

I can't deny that I find the man sexy - as far as I'm concerned, it'd be impossible not to. He just has an incredible aura that oozes through the tracks. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that he was off his face, but that doesn't matter - I certainly don't see Pete Doherty attractive in any way, shape or form, so we can't base it entirely on substance abuse.

I can remember the first time that I ever properly listened to The Doors. I only had a basic knowledge of their catalogue, and the vast majority of the tracks on the 'Best Of...' album that we had in the house were new to me. I remember this like it was yesterday.

It was August 2007, and I was lying in bed with the lights out and my headphones in at around 2am. I thought I'd listen to The Doors before drifting-off to sleep - the psychedelic and almost hypnotic nature of their songs seemed to suit the mood. I hummed away to 'Light My Fire' and 'Break On Through' and instantly fell in love with 'People Are Strange' upon hearing it for the first time.

The track that well-and-truly blew my mind was 'Riders on the Storm'. The way that it started with the noise of the thunder and rain - the slow and deeply atmospheric bass introduction. Everything about it. I was completely transfixed. From that moment on, The Doors had a place in my heart. They always will do.

They have an uncanny ability that spurs the creative juices in my brain. Staying up all night, drinking vodka and writing all manner of things...remaining hopelessly in love with a certain young lady that introduced me to The Doors in the first place and finding a morbid glamour amongst drunkeness and depression. It's probably me being a pretentious wanker, but I fucking love it. Until next time...


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