Posts Tagged Depeche Mode

Those summer nights

Do you remember those summer nights, each of them holding a secret call, a whisper floating at the atomic level or just surrounding everything in an invisible pulsating halo? For me, those were the nights of my late childhood and teenage years. There was always something out there in air, something untouchable and yet so close, like an imperceptible flutter of wings.
No wonder I ended up a night person, a strange kind of a night bird, with the bad habits of roaming the internet and sometimes just looking at the ceiling and my mind drifting away. Less now, oh, the age… (laziness is what’s killing me, I could do so much better with reading when I’m in my night mood, actually).

What made me go back to those crazy nights was Depeche Mode and all the rest of the music in my early-middle 90’s. Or maybe it’s just the rain that poured down today which made me crave for summer.
1991 was one of the best years I’ve ever had. The group of friends I had back in my parents’ village became a brotherhood, we were almost never apart (except for school days lol) and nobody was dating another in the gang. Years before, we used to get together a big bunch of kids, sometimes even 20 of us, and play hide and seek at sunset until it got dark and our parents were shouting at us to get home alright or else. It was much more fun when nobody could really see whom they were seeking and they’d more or less have to guess. To make it even harder, we used to swap our jumpers or cardigans so that the seeker couldn’t tell us apart. If they made a mistake, they just had to seek again. Quite a harsh task, when we were more than 15 playing they would for sure be the seeker for the night, no chance to pass it to another.

But then we grew up a little, we started dating among the gang, there was even this one guy who dated all of the girls and later on, in the coming years, we’d just sit down for a chat in a lazy hot summer afternoon and have a laugh about how it was when he first invited one us to dance or the first kiss. No, it wasn’t just us girls chatting, it was with him as well. He turned, from early Don Juan, into the charming best friend (I know you can hardly believe it possible, I wouldn’t either).
In 1991 I was studying to pass the admission exam into High School. I did study hard, but I did have lots of fun as well. Saturday and Sunday afternoons were for the brotherhood, and in that year the local pubs weren’t so popular yet, I can hardly remember if any was really open, and yes, I know we were under 18, but it was acceptable back then and we did used to hang out, a year later, in the pub which was also the local disco.

The afternoons in that golden year would just catch us chatting and always doing something silly funny. I remember one rainy Sunday we sheltered under the roof of one house in the street were we usually gathered, the Maths teacher and his wife, Geography teacher, lived there, and she came out to feed the geese which were roaming in the street as well, and she saw us. She laughed, saying “are you soaking wet or is the roof helping at all?”, and then adding she could hear us earlier, she didn’t mind, it just amused her. Well, truth is nobody ever chased us away.
The summer came. That blessed summer when my dad made for us a table for playing tennis, and it filled half of the yard between the main house and the small summer kitchen, sheltered by clinging vines which kept a cooling shadow over. We used to play for hours and the recorder in the hallway fed us all our favourite music. Two bands distinctively stood out: Depeche Mode and Roxette.

It was that year that I had my first coffee sickness as well, this is such a silly story. My mum asked us all if we fancied coffee, we were like 10 kids in the yard, I mean 14-16 years old at the time, and we did all wanted a cup. Thing is most of us didn’t finish their coffees. Me and a friend, O., had a brilliant idea: why don’t we finish it for them? Genius! 20 minutes later, who was having strong heart bits, headache and felt the ground running from under their feet? Me and O. Mum took us inside and made us lay down for half an hour or so, the heroes of the day.

When my dad brought the first video player we watched all the worse action movies of the 90’s, Van Damme was our favourite, we all loved karate action and the good universal soldier hero. There was only one rule: we had to be nice and quiet whilst inside. We all crammed into that small lounge, some on the sofas, some of us on the floor, watched the movie, and then went out quietly.
Every now and then there would be visitors in my parents’ house, either for my father, who’s the priest in the village, or for my mother, who studied alternative medicine practice in the early 90’s and people would come for advice and Chinese massage treatment. In order to get out of the small lounge we had to pass through another room, where my parents would usually sit down with their visitors. They would ask if we’re the priest’s and his wife’s children, and my parents would say yes, we are. One, two… four, five. When it got to six the people couldn’t usually hold their amazement anymore, spared by my mum’s or dad’s explanation: the whole gang was their soul children.

One year later, at the beginning of summer, I got my first boyfriend whom I was in a relation with for four years and the whole brotherhood broke. Not because of me, come on, I wasn’t the only one getting steady. My neighbour became my best friend again (she was never part of the gang), I used to hang out a lot with her when 12, and her cousin was now that steady boyfriend of mine.
It’s fun now to remember all these. Listening to some Euro dance music from that decade, I don’t really remember all my romantic butterflies and projections and plans to get married to my one and only true love (oh, well, I went to college and he turned out not to be the love of my life after all). It just gives me that feeling of utter silliness, of just sticking my nose out in the real world of grown-ups and thinking that having one or two glasses of alcohol and smoking at every Saturday night disco was sooooo cool.
All the silly dreams, pains and suffering of the teenage years seem like sweet madness, the haze of a light and curious heart, and the restlessness of an idealistic mind meeting the world of grown-ups pragmatism.

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

The Not Awarded ones

 

One morning recently, heading home from work, I heard Depeche Mode again on the radio after a long time. It was “Everything counts”, on one of our favourite radio stations, Jack FM. On this station I’ve heard the best joke since I came to the UK: “How many bankers does it take to screw a light bulb? None, they’re too busy screwing us all”. But I’m diverting.

Depeche Mode has been the first band I fell in love with. Ok, when I say fell in love I don’t mean like I fancied one of the guys, none of them really ever seemed my type, physically at least, although I liked the rebel look of Dave Gahan when he came to be more of a leather jacket guy. But I fell for their music, it was the most familiar tune to sound in my head all throughout my teenage years. I remember this afternoon when I took a nap in my old bedroom, in my parents’ house, and I played the “World in my eyes” album throughout my sleep, which I didn’t use to do, as I could only fall asleep back then if the surroundings were very quiet.

 

We could say no wonder they stuck to my ears, as there was such a lot of bad music, to put it nicely, in the ‘90s, all that Euro dance, starting with Haddaway and DJ Bobo and carrying on with the bands, Fun Factory, Ace of Bace and 2 Unlimited. I do have something to say in defending it all, it was fun, really unpretentious fun, just for the joy of it and just to keep the rhythm going.  Remember “Rhythm of the Night”?

 

But Depeche Mode was different, and they stayed different. They made “music for the masses”, and they became the biggest electro band ever. I kind of always knew they were, even before checking this on the internet.
According to EMI, the New Wave boys sold over 100 million albums around the world. Also, Q magazine called them “the most popular electronic band the world has ever known”. Despite this, they never got any award for their achievement at this level, until 2013, when they refused to be part of the BRIT Awards. To tell you the truth, I kind of understand them. It’s been more than 20 years since they started having this mad success and became an icon for the electro stage, still it took so long for the people giving out the awards to acknowledge it. On top of that, the award offered to them would have been called something like Most Influential Band In The Last 20 Years. No, not Lifetime Achievement Award, like it wasn’t their lifetime work and success. They refused and Dave was quite pissed off with BRITs, they wouldn’t be featured in the award broadcast when handed out the award. As such, there was no award for lifetime achievement this year. It seems a bit weird, doesn’t it?

 

What’s with “Everything counts” and why did it bring me to writing this post? It’s not the best of their songs, the lyrics are ok-ish, but they don’t strike as their finest, they kind of loose me with being insincere in Korea, poor rhyme.  But “Everything counts” was one of the DM first songs about society, with good criticism towards consumerism.

 I can say without blinking that “People are people” really set the standard for Depeche Mode socially involved lyrics, on a topic still so hot in the UK and just all around the world today. And that’s exactly what I meant to talk about today (or rather tonight, as it seems). What still keeps me love Depeche Mode is the way they packed everything together: electro music for the masses, good dance rhythm, some romantic intensity and some social message. They managed to do this in the 80’s and early 90’s, to criticize racism and ferocious materialism in a decade when the UK has known prosperity and there wasn’t so much to complain of as nowadays, as it seems.

 

 

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: