Sunday, June 05, 2005

You Know The Words!

You Know The Words!

You know the headache you get when you've been crying? The one the exists right at the front of your forehead as a dull thud rather than a pumping, lights flashing extravaganza? I like to call it a 'Titanic headache', given that despite the fact that I have seen that film a million times and I am not 12 I still cry for the last hour and twenty minutes of it*. Yes, that's right, I cry for eighty minutes worth of that film. Not all at the same level I would add, there are peaks such as when Rose first gets put into the lifeboat and the camera cuts between her and Jack with the music playing loudly in the background. Or when you see the Irish woman put her children to bed telling them a story, knowing that they're going to die. Or the old couple embracing on the bed as water gushes in. Or when you realise that there's nothing Rose can do, and however many times you watch this film the ending is not going to change and Jack is still dead. Don't let go, Rose! Rose! Nooooooooo. Where's the bloody tissues?

But anyway, the Titanic headache. That's what I have now. Not because I've been crying due to the captain going down with the ship or the fact that lovely Irish Tommy just got shot, I'd hasten to add. Or even because I've been crying. Just because I have so much fluid in my head at the moment that it cannot get out quickly enough and hence seems to be congregating somewhere behind my eyes. Personally, I think I preferred the phlegm. At least I knew where I was with that. And it didn't actually hurt. Bring back the phlegm I'm telling you.

But the odd thing about the Titanic headache is that it's making me feel as if i've been crying, as if I've been sobbing my heart out about the the fact that the band are still playing. They're still playing. They're going to die. And they're still playing. I really need to get that out of my system don't I?

So my body is telling me that I'm feeling emotional and I get all warm and fuzzy remembering those pictures that I posted yesterday. And then, because I'm getting ready to start writing The Four Right Chords in earnest tomorrow, I've been working through all of my Griffin stuff to try and remind me of emotions and events that I might want to steal. So, amongst other stuff, I realise that I've got to read A Year In The Army*. I start reading and within a sentence I realise that I've got to read this properly. Because I haven't for such a long time and, listen to my ego rattling, I find I'm laughing at things that I've written. I'm also seeing where I need to edit and change things too if that helps deminish the ego a little bit. But most of all I'm getting thrills of emotions that I haven't felt for such a long time, that I'd almost forgotten. The first time I saw Al on stage suddenly came back into my head. How wonderfully innocent and exciting that moment was. I felt the thrill.

As I read on I felt more thrills from that time, a point which now seems like another lifetime. The whole experience of being a fan, of supporting someone to the extent that I've supported Griffin is more jaded now. I see the bad stuff as well as the good stuff. I'm less naive. I enjoy it as much as I ever have but it has lost its innocence. And in reading back I felt I touched that innocence again in a way that I will never be able to in real life, even if I wanted to. Unlike Gatsby*** I don't want to go back, but it's important that I always remember what it felt like that first day in Boro, as Griffin waded his way through the orchestra, wearing a Boro scarf and clutching a copy of Brian Clough's autobiography. And I have to remember this when writing The Four Right Chords. That innocence of emotion deserves its place in there. Because it's honest.

Equally re-reading A Year made me realise just how much I have to finish it. I'll never have another year quite like that one and it needs its record. I need to write it just as much as I need to write The Four Right Chords. Maybe they both need each other.

When I'd finished stewing in A Year, I chanced across of a file of Griffin quotes that we'd haphazzardly collected and I'd stored away with all the reports I'd written of my Griffin adventures in order to fuel A Year. At once, as the words evoked memories, I started smiling. I laughed. I got surges of sheer happiness. And a couple of embarrassed disbelief. But it was the ones that I'd forgotten entirely that in my Titanic headache state knocked me most off kilter. Two in particular made me pause for reflection. Both undoubtedly entirely selfish quotes but ones which touched something as I sit here, knowing what I know now. The first is marked by the innocence of those early days coming as it does from album release day in Newcastle:
Me: Can you remember my name?
Griffin: Of course, you're the clever one.
It wasn't the first or the last time that Griffin used that phrase in my direction but somehow that one time, in retrospect, moved me. Maybe it was because I genuinely thought that he might not know my name. That, having forgotten that the exchange took place, the emotion came on me again.

The second quote struck me as rather wistful, being as it is from Griffin's last UMTV single signing:
"I'm sorry about not being able to spell it. People expect me to be able to remember Anne with an 'e' or Lynda with a 'y'...You're my only Corinne".
Maybe because it shows exactly how the situation with Griffin has changed since that original day in Boro. At one point the 'us' following Griffin was small and Griffin undoubtedly gave us more of his time than he probably should have. Now the peripheral fans that made up those seemingly endless signing queues have dissapeared but the returning hardcore is bigger than it's ever been. There isn't time. And Griffin can't be expected to do what he once did. But I will always have the memories of those early months. And maybe that quote, for me, possibly more even than the Troilus and Cressida mid-gig banter, sums that up.

If my overly emotional Titanic Headache has achieved anything other than making me wish for the good old days of the phlegm then it's that I've processed why I have to write The Four Right Chords a lot quicker than I processed why I had to write SSoB****. Because whilst I'll twist and turn the material, spread it about, generally to quote Griffin "use my imagination because that's what writers do", my emotional starting point really is the Griffin experience. And I'd be foolish not to acknowledge that, however it turns out, at its heart it's going to be a tribute to both Griffin and those who walked the journey with me.

*It could be the Saving Private Ryan Headache as I cried so much in the cinema when I went to see that that I was in desperate need of a paper bag. However, I've only allowed myself to watch that film a couple of times because of my paper-bag tendencies, so the Titanic label stuck.

**If you're using firefox, as I discovered today, that link won't work. I'm going to move A Year over the next week or so though, so if you're that interested you can come back then!

***Sorry to any non-Gatsby fanatics.

****So are we going for Chords? Four Chords? TFRC doesn't work as well as SSoB, sadly.


Keris Stainton said...

Ah, the Titanic headache. I know it well. Although I think of it as the Ghost headache. Goes with the achy throat from trying not to sob in a cinema.

Anyway, just to let you know, that link doesn't work on my Mac either. And I'm very upset, because I'm now dying to read it!

Corinne said...

Awww, Ghost, that's another one that always gets me. I can't use the word "ditto" without thinking of it!

I suspected that there might be a problem with macs too, I'm going to have to get myself into gear and move it!