I’ve recently been feeling nostalgic in a way that I’m not fully comfortable with. A nostalgia that brings back a certain feeling I haven’t felt in a long time, and I seem to have been detaining deliberately. While I cannot discern what it is or find le most juste, it may have been rising to the surface by degrees for a time.
This feeling seemed to culminate after listening to Johnny Flynn’s newly released single Raising the Dead from his latest album Sillion, to be released on the 24th March. I was filled with a sense of ease by his familiar husky tone and seafaring ambience. Flynn’s ever-appealing resonator guitar and sombre resonance came forth to greet me like an old friend and I was in complete awe. From Raising the Dead I revisited A Larum, Been Listening and Country Mile. I felt as if my past was tangible, and I was reminded of half-abandoned moments in my life, of the people I shared them with, and I felt like I was going to explode.
For myself – as well as many others – Johnny Flynn played an incipient role in my maturation and the development of my musical appetite. Johnny Flynn introduced me to Laura Marling, who in turn introduced me to Mumford & Sons, who led me to Bear’s Den, Michael Kiwanuka, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ed Sharpe, Childish Gambino, Rachel Sermanni and (I’m incredibly ashamed to say) Captain Kick and the Cowboy Ramblers. Without these people I would never have had any of the friends that made me seem and feel like an actual functioning human being; albeit for a time. By returning to these artists and their music I am reminded of so much that I have been avoiding.
I’m reunited with Mark for the Tour of Two Halves. I’m getting adequately warm and tipsy at Communion events despite being considerably underage (I’m sorry, Maz). I’m in a tent with Erin, Maria & Ryan sharing a box of Summer Moon. I’m miraculously holding my bladder for a solid 9 hours at the Olympic Park in order to maintain my position at the barrier. I’m running halfway across London in an insane pair of heels whilst Alyssa listens to me breathlessly vaunt about the fact that Ezra Koenig must have smiled at me for a brief moment, or at least Rostam definitely did. I’m standing next to Pip as Tom Cowan tells her about his cat’s balding spots. I’m at Rough Trade and Este Haim is signing my boob.
I’m at the Brighton Dome for the Wilder Mind album release and it doesn’t feel like it used to. I’m not with my people, and Tom Hobden is in the wrong sodding band.
Were these my “glory days”? Is it just me that finds that term entirely absurd? I thought my “glory days” were supposed to be my early twenties, right before my father eventually sells me off to a wealthy financier – or at least to the highest bidder. I’m not sure if this entire realisation has been a waste of time since I can’t get back the past 3-4 years which are a complete haze, or if I’ve actually learned to appreciate things more and not resent those that made me feel better – or happy, even. But I’m aware, and I’m grateful.
I’m grateful for Stevie, who pretended to be an adult with me when we didn’t know what the fuck we were doing. I am grateful for Ryan, who went against everything he believed in and brought me a bottle of cava to a festival because I was a bougie 15 year old. I am grateful for Maria, who remains my favourite Swede and is generous beyond words. I am thankful for Alyssa, who is astute and continues to put up with me despite everyone else giving up. I am grateful for Cameron, who shared my love for LM and many other things. I am grateful for Michael, who will never read this and who sends me pics of his abs whenever necessary. I am grateful for Cecily, who, on my 17thbirthday, took me out in London and dared me to either kiss 17 guys or try to drink 17 tequila shots. I chose the latter. She then hosed me down in her tub like a beached whale. I am grateful for Pip, who was my absolute rock and experienced some of the most bizarre shit with me, like the aforementioned moment with Tom Cowan.
I am grateful for Aimee, Theresa, Hannah, Nessa, Ashish, Karen, Rhys, Ross, Josie, Jack, Kendall, Caitlin, Sofia, Amy and Keiran.
I miss you all. It just took Johnny Flynn to remind me of that – the bastard.