Some Short Notes on Lessons I have Learnt by Listening to Motörhead

Someone pointed out to me a while ago that it’s unusual that I love Motörhead so much, and have done so for such a prolonged period of time. It apparently sits in contradiction to my wider reputation as something of a pansy. I can understand their point. I’m currently listening to the most recent Weezer album and not fast forwarding the crappy ballads, my last zine was about Tintin, I didn’t start drinking till I was 27, my friends routinely make fun of my fetish for cycling and my band mates still mock me for wearing shorts on stage when we played at the Big Day Out. One of my ex-girlfriends once told me I had perfected the nerd ‘chic’ look but also clarified that I obviously didn’t know I was doing it. While I was waiting for Motörhead to start playing at Thebarton theatre I was looking at the rest of the crowd and, whilst the support band was mocking feminists and university students, it occurred to me that I’d never been in such a large group of people with whom I had so little in common.

Yet, in retrospect Motörhead has, alongside my PhD and my love for my bikes, been one of the great fixations of my twenties, moving beyond the level of a random interest and becoming one of those core anchor points one builds their identity around. My copy of Lemmy’s awe inspiring autobiography ‘White Line Fever’ sits next to my copies of the memoirs of renowned effeminate gay icon Quentin Crisp. Both of them taught me valuable life lessons: about the nameless glories of heavy metal on the one hand, and the benefits of possibly ironic forays into celibacy on the other. This perhaps explains my bewildered gender performance, supposed ‘nerd’ status and the general fog of confusion I find myself in at virtually all times.

On the upside, I was in Wollongong a while ago, laying on wet grass at two AM watching feral rabbits and talking to a friend of mine. We’d been down the beach drinking champagne and conducting running races. At the time, the evening had seemed largely normal. It reminded me of a point earlier in the year when I’d led about twenty people over a barbed wire fence at two AM so we could all enjoy a leisurely moonlight dip in the superb pool of the private school near my house. Similarly, the week before I went to Wollongong I’d been involved in a drunken Tuesday night make-out session in a graveyard.

After I got back from Wollongong I was riding around late at night, watching the flicker of the televisions through the windows of the various houses I passed. Occasionally I’d encounter some dead-eyed motorist staring blankly at the world around them. And it occurred to me that, some people never conduct drunken running races, pool break-ins or make out in grave yards. Indeed, whatever the reputed shortcomings of my social persona, my penchant for wearing lycra and playing major festivals whilst wearing shorts, I live a fucking great life.

It was sort of an epiphany, sort of like when David byrne finds himself asking “How did I get here?” in that Talking Heads song. For all my nerdy whinging about how bored and mopey I am, my life is, to quote Bill and Ted, “totally excellent”.

So, having been an adult for a full ten years, I’ve been surveying the things that have led me to this point, and Motörhead is an obvious feature.

Excerpted from a split issue of You and Westside Angst kanbara@senet.com.au


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