Saturday, 12 July 2008

It's just a phase we're going through...

What with Autumn Rose putting an Iron Maiden video on her blog, I thought it was about time I shared my misspent youth with you. The Chamelelons are often referred to as "the best band nobody has ever heard of". They were doing their thing in N Manchester in the early 1980s and were a brilliant live act. Ah, happy days...The song here is "Monkeyland" and it still sends shivers down my spine. A tale about trying to cope with the "triviality of everydayness"...I'm still no better than I was as a teenager with "everydayness", it still feels like an optical illusion to me.

Listening again to all this did make some emotions come to the surface. What was so good about this band was their ordinaryness and blokeyness, they had no image and this is probably why they could never be a cash cow for a big record company, though some big names did try. Their songs were about the terror of being part of the machine (they were quite influenced by Pink Floyd) and back in the 1980s it was easy enough to relate to those fears. Those fears haven't gone away either. I did not try to find solace from it all in the cod philosophy of idiots like Morrissey and the Smiths. I just immersed myself in books and physics and walking for miles and miles round Manchester, trying to make sense of it all. I sometimes wonder if I was not far from some sort of breakdown, because I found solace in the buildings, the terracotta man leaning against the chimney stack with his axe, the carvings of animals and castles, the coloured tiles and marble, and the cast iron . These decaying Victorian warehouses spoke of a world where things did not have to be functional, where people did things because they could, to brighten up the dull and mundane. I'm still kicking against functionalism, I'm still kicking against the machine. Luckily I've grown to realise most people feel much the same, the isolation associated with being a teenager is horriffic and mercifully transitory. The anger about being fashioned into a working unit amongst other working units, the fear of becoming dehumanised; that is very real!


ukok said...

Crikey Rita, that could have been my theme song at the time...i was so churned up as a teenager, i was constanty of the belief that no one understood me and no one cared.

Irene said...

This is not nostalgia. Trying to make sense of the world is futile -- it does not make sense. The reason nostalgia is no help is that the world never did make sense.

I am much too old to know anything about these groups. But I do know about isolation and dehumanisation. There is nothing about them which is transitory -- if we think we have passed beyond, it is a delusion. They will return to haunt us at a later stage.

Our one hope is to immerse ourselves completely into unity with Jesus/God.

Rita said...


Maybe nostalgia is the wrong word as it is supposed to mean "sorrowful/regretful memory of past things". My reason for using the label is simple: a bit if an "in-joke" for anyone else who remembers this lot. I'm certainly not regretful about the past, though I walked some dangerous roads.

I know that the isolation I felt as a teenager was due solely to my separation from Christ and His Church. It has gone and can not return; that much has changed. As an adult, I have been bullied and marginalised at work (the union did their best to help me), but the depths those teenage feelings have not returned. Thanks be to God!

Irene said...

It's old, but events of the last 34 years show it was prophetic. Try:

Skrade, C. "God and the Grotesque", Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1974.

The author may be Lutheran, but that doesn't make him wrong on this topic.

Rita said...

Thanks Irene, I'll look out for that.