Sometimes I just can’t listen to The Smashing Pumpkins. Sometimes I want to drown myself in them as I did when I was 23, in my final undergraduate year of uni. Liking them too late. Late for everything, as always. I started that habit the day I was born.
The Smashing Pumpkins; riding the crest of their wave 10 years before I was listening to them. How I, as a child in the grunge era, managed to avoid hearing The Smashing Pumpkins while my best friend was busy going to see them is an eternal mystery to me. “You liked Oasis back then,” she informed me dully.
“Why didn’t you set me straight?” I asked her.
“Well, it just wasn’t your thing then.” Rarely one to make an effort; I love her dearly.
So it was down to someone else, 10 years later, to show me the light. It happened in the darkness of winter, sharing bottles of red wine and joints in his attic room. I always think of that time as green and sparkly and Bohemian, back in 2006. I wore floaty dresses over baggy trousers; I lined my eyes with black kohl and green glitter. I wrote angry stories and edited them when I was high, before handing them in to have them marked with ‘A’s. That was the time, the crest of my wave with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness providing the soundtrack.
Sometimes, in the devastating months after the wave crashed and broke, I tried to remember myself in 1996; standing at the tram stop on the promenade, my short, silky skirt flapping in the ever present breeze of Blackpool. I imagined myself in a world where The Smashing Pumpkins were releasing Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; I wondered how my life would have been different if I had actually paid any attention to the skateboarders soaring from the top of the bandstand behind me. But 1996 was not the time to notice them; nor was it the time to hear The Smashing Pumpkins.
The green, hazy, first half of 2006 was the time to listen to them and notice him. The time to live in attics in the old, pretty city; the time to get lost in books, watch Dylan Moran and write unbelievable stories that were stranger than fiction. 2006; the crest of my wave, broken and washed away forever.