Stories from 1996. Chapter 26. A Britpop Journal.

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August 21st 1996

Back to Cardiff with Ella, Maisie and Erin in tow. We had such a ball up North; V96, shopping in Liverpool. We analysed all events in detail on the train journey home, in between sharing music (Mansun – me, Jamiroquai – Maisie, Pete Oakenfold – Ella and The Beatles – Erin).

Still it was great to return to the warm welcome of Cardiff. It’s amazing how much it feels like home even though I don’t really have a home here. Just a borrowed spare room with an airbed that I now have to share with my cousin. Home is where you love and who you love.

This morning I decided to show Erin some of the sights of my adopted hometown. We breakfasted in Ramones, cholesterol full yet empty inside due to the absence of students. We shopped in the Arcades, trying on various stripper heels in Eccentrix, bought some new and old music in Spillers and gorged on retro Adidas in Roberts’ Emporium. We then had a lazy picnic in Bute Park, sitting in the sun watching the joggers go round and round and round.

Tonight, myself, Maisie, Harry and Ella are giving Erin a taste of Wales and taking her to see a Welsh language band in the Student Union. One of our favourite Welsh bands that we have followed since the late 80s are playing a one-off gig and we can’t wait to reminisce about drinking alcopops, wearing DMs and the dodgy cop offs (usually from Caernarfon) in various venues across North Wales.

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The gig was surprisingly full so we jostled drunkenly to the front and waited for our trip down memory lane. The band did not disappoint and they belted out one classic tune after another. The wriggly hipped, afro haired singer was as entertaining as always, a cross between Jimi Hendrix and Iggy Pop and we enjoyed every second of his performance, feeling like giggly teenagers again. The guitarist was stood directly ahead of us, a less flamboyant character, oozing charm rather than sex appeal. He was really cute though, and several times I caught his eye and was the grateful recipient of a cheeky smile. Encouraged by his non-verbal flirting I gestured him a Marlboro Light which he reached down to take from my lips, after stroking my cheek.

I have such a weakness for a man with a guitar, I was melting inside. The girls around me were giving me ‘you ar in there’ signals as the emotional electricity between us was becoming obvious. It was getting hotter and hotter as their set progressed. I was enjoying myself so much and did not want the music or the charged atmosphere to ever end.

Disappointedly, after the final song the band disappeared and left the crowd shouting for an encore but,as the seconds became minutes it seemed less and less likely. Boo – what an anticlimax.

But then, as quick as they vanished, they were back. Rock star poses struck, fresh cigarettes lit and as the drummer began his intro, my Welsh guitar man bent down and kissed me on the lips. Result. The crowd went wild and my heart leapt out of my chest.

The night did not end up as it should. We went backstage with them, the phrase ‘extra curricular activities’ was uttered by the bolshy singer and my fantasy of being swept off my feet by my rock star dude evaporated. Instead I faced the reality of being a conquest for a group wellpast their prime. Not cool. As the band rolled spliffs, we scarpered through the nearest exit.  Guess I’m not groupie material after all. Gave us all a good laugh on the way home though.

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