Friday, 24 October 2008

Undying Love and Adoration for Teenage Heroes

Everyone has people they look up to when they're growing up, whether it's their parents or Dave Benson-Phillips, but how many people actually meet their heroes? Something my mum always used to repeat every time I set off on a mission to meet a band I liked or speak to a particular person I looked up to was; "Never meet your heroes, they'll just end up being human." It sounds like a pretty ridiculous thing to say, but if I hadn't been warned, I might have quite legitimately believed that when I met Matthew Bellamy he'd be levitating a few inches off of the ground before me, completely iridescent and otherworldly. As it turns out he was stood on the same pavement as me, the exact same height as me, and a bit sweaty. This didn't really sit well with me. He wasn't an angel after all.

It's completely understandable why teenagers have idols and set themselves people to look up to. How else can you grow up? You need a role model to take image or ideology ideas from. When you get to roughly the age of 16, you start to believe you are fully independent, and all your ideas are your own. The truth is, most of them will be stolen or customised views of your favourite stars/people, and this is not a bad thing. The only time this could be a problem is if your role model suddenly changes his or her ideologies (or disappears from your life). It's very upsetting!

Personally, I set my goals towards becoming a person as intelligent, quick and talented as the lead singer of my favourite band, Million Dead. Their songs shouted clear crisp messages of political intelligence and the importance of knowing what's going on around you, as well as the importance of still retaining a sense of humour about yourself and not forcing your opinions on your poor long-suffering friends who couldn't really care less about Bolsheviks or capitalism's pitfalls or generally being angry about things you don't understand. I didn't necessarily agree with all of their ideals, but the fact that they were so eloquently putting their opinions across really struck a chord with me. When the band finally broke up in 2005 I was upset to say the least. Mostly what I was feeling was shock if I look back now. The voice and the noise I had been faithfully absorbing for over three years had suddenly decided it didn't believe what it was saying anymore, and wanted to quit. The person who I looked up to for knowing exactly what they believed didn't know what they thought about the world anymore. What was I meant to do now?

To make matters more difficult, the singer I looked up to embarked on a solo mission. I desperately wanted to give him all the support I could, but his songs were filled with dissolution and scorn for his old beliefs. I couldn't help it - I felt insulted. Had I been a fool to look up to a person who looked back on their passionate beliefs with embarrassment and distaste? After a year of constant support I left the warmth of the familiar voice and searched for other sources of inspiration.

It isn't that easy. Searching for words that speak to you as an adult doesn't seem to happen as easily as when you're growing up. I'm in no way suggesting that I'm an adult now, all grown up and self-sufficient, but finding that voice that seemed to speak to me was so much harder than before. I settled for music that entertained me, after all, isn't that music's primary job? And as much as I love Daft Punk, there isn't really a song I can name by them that has reached out and told me something I didn't know before. Sure, their songs can reach out and make me feel love, passion, excitement, happiness, but they don't make me think. Recently I returned to my old friend Frank, I bought his newest album when it came out and gave him another shot. He has made me happy. His songs aren't apologies for being so embarrassingly earnest anymore, they are every bit as enthusiastic as the old days. Yes, they are a totally different genre now, and yes, he's getting more and more famous by the day (much to my increasing jealousy - he's MY discovery! ha ha) but once again I'm being spoken to by someone who knows what I know about the world, and a bit more, so I can learn.

Frank Turner was my teenage hero, and he'll always have a place in my heart. (olol gay)

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