Don’t you just love some cold, hard, reality?! I never need to watch the news again. No one has to take a Business Studies GCSE again either.
I’m going to Stratford-upon-Avon for a couple of days tomorrow, so if my camera decides to work I’ll take some highly technical, visually brilliant pictures of Shakespeare’s hometown and probably a couple of Elizabeth asleep (because you all want to see that) and post them on here at some point before Christmas. Don’t hold your breath though, I have a long list of homework that, no matter how much I sit and stare at it, doesn’t get done…
For those of you that don’t know, today is my not-quite-sister Isobel’s birthday. So, in true almost-sisterly fashion, I’ve decided to embarrass the hell out of her with some photos and anecdotes I’ve accumulated over the past year.
The time she made me coffee for breakfast, forgot about the frother thingy on the machine and nearly killed us both with hot milk… I told her she was mad, she replied “I’m not, I’m making the best coffee you’ve ever had… Shit.” I believe the toaster had malfunctioned. That same day she announced she’s going to be a ‘barrister’ when she grows up. ‘Barista’, darling, but God help us either way.
Isobel and her BFF, her sleeping bag:
And, finally, what she thinks of me:
Happy birthday! Now I don’t need to buy you anything xx
It is the end, my friends. Well, the end of My Chem’s ten-year anniversary celebrations on Indifferent Ignorance, anyway. The year’s not quite over, I may yet pull something MCR-related out of my woolly hat later this year – but today is the final installment of ’10 Years, 10 Days’.
I read back everything I’ve posted just now, and I’m actually quite proud of what I’ve achieved. Any blogger (and I mean actual blogger, not Tumblr person) knows how hard it can be to write one post, let alone a handful, on an off-day. There are typos I’ve had to fix, I’ve had problems with WP loading pictures and videos and I’ve been running on caffeine and chocolate for most of the last few weeks… Not entirely unusual, but I was expecting to start the new school term with good habits. Instead, I’ve been typing until half ten, doing homework in the mornings and spending considerable amounts of the school day trying to work out how much coursework I can put off until this whole thing is over. There have been moments, when it’s almost midnight and I’ve still not completed the day’s post, that I’ve cursed myself for having the idea in the first place. Many a time I’ve decided that I never want to hear another My Chem song in my life – or at least for a few weeks – once I’ve wrapped it up.
And yet, virtually every time I’ve sat down to write I’ve been able to come up with something. That’s not down to my unlikely ability to string words together either, it’s down to you lot. The casual readers whom I’ve wanted to convince should listen to MCR for some reason. The Killjoys, whose art, humour and determination are the reasons I’ve been able to write ten substantial posts. You are the most crazy, inspiring, intelligent people out there. Thank you for letting me wave this in your faces for a fortnight. I promise, the next blog will have no relevance to the My Chemical Romance whatsoever – we can go back to discussing The Midnight Beast and Wierd Al. Thank you also to the band, whose work is the reason I’ve been able to do this in the first place. There’s a reason so many people draw hope and creativity from you, please never lose sight of that.
My aim, when I was working out the format of these blogs, was to capture the essence of My Chem in separate posts. To make people understand a little better why the fan base is so huge and dedicated, to remind fans of why they listen to the band in the first place; something that’s becoming more and more eclipsed by Internet bitchfits and cat fights between kids. I could discuss whether or not those kids are real fans all day (I actually did once) but ’10 Years’ hasn’t been about the negatives of the MCRmy. It’s been about the positives of MCR and why they’re going to be around for another ten years after this:
Great bands found loyal fan bases. Fan bases create communities which allow the bands and audiences to interact and grow. Communities don’t give up on one another or lose sight of their purpose, they will support one another through everything that gets thrown their way. The fans give the bands reason to continue, and so the cycle continues…. And My Chemical Romance aren’t a great band, they’re an exceptional one.
I mentioned the Killjoys’ creative talent the other day, but it’s time to devote an entire post to it. Sadly, as with band interviews, there are far too many pieces of work on the Interwebz to name. So browse the band or SINGIfForJapan on DeviantART to your heart’s content for artwork. For fanfictions, I recommend hitting up Twitter’s @MCRmyUK, who does ‘Fanfic Friday’. Alternatively, go back to searching DeviantART or LiveJournal – but don’t say I didn’t warn you that you might need eye bleach afterwards (incidentally, Indifferent Ignorance takes no responsibility for any trauma resulting from clicking links I post. You chose to click and read, my friends).
AskPoison.tumblr.com What it says on the tin; someone draws Party Poison’s replies to fan questions on Tumblr. Mental and hilarious… Links are on there to the rest of the Killjoys’, including Show Pony’s.
Like most other MCR-related writing endeavours, when I was having trouble formulating words for this post I turned to Elizabeth, because she doesn’t talk shit. I asked her how she feels when people say ‘MCR saved my life’. Her reply: Truth be told whenever anyone goes on about how MCR ‘saved their life’ the first thing that comes into my head is ‘you whiny little emo-shitter, how weak a person must you be to stop wanting to commit suicide when you listen to a piece of music?’ Valid point… I have to admit, I’ve always been sceptical when I’ve read accounts of life-saving moments. Not because I don’t believe in them – I’ve had more epiphanies listening to My Chem than I have doing anything else – but because most fourteen-year-olds don’t know the meaning of the words ‘depressed’ or ‘suicidal’. Chances are, they’ve heard the backstory and thought “Finally, some people who are weird too.” Or they’re attention seeking. But not every kid who puts on headphones is going to think “Life is worth living” as soon as they hear two songs. I’ve touched this before in (I Want to) (Fuck) My Chemical Romance; an Essay on the MCRmy, by the way, if any of this feels familiar.
I’m not saying that MCR don’t endlessly inspire a lot of people. They always have, and always will, serve as a concrete reminder of what you can do with your life if you don’t give up. But the real ‘saving’ that the band does mostly isn’t in the huge, “Holy shit I was about to end my life when I heard Famous Last Words on the radio” moments. It’s in the small things. The fact that, through the MCRmy, so many of us have found friendship groups that have changed us. People are always saying “MCR fans are the best people. I always get along with them.” When Bob left the band, I was angry, because I was upset and – although at the time I didn’t realise it – scared. What was I going to do if my favourite band split up? I hadn’t even seen them live yet. Was three albums their limit? They could do so much more. Slowly, without me even realising, My Chem changed my life. I’ve become more confident. I’ve met Lizbeth. I’ve started writing stuff that I care about.
So maybe I did get saved. It’s nearly midnight where I am right now and I’m past rational thought…. This’ll probably be updated into English when I’ve slept. If this band’s music has meant something to you, has altered your life in any way, perhaps you have been saved. Or maybe you should stop using the word ‘saved’ and start using the word ‘changed’ because the saving, like Frank’s always said, is down to you.
There are millions more and as soon as I hit the publish button I’ll remember them. So do what I did in summer 2009 and spend your sick days on the Interwebz having a laugh at the Revenge haircuts.
Interviews are how the fans get to know the people in their favourite bands… They’re the best way to decide whether or not the dudes onstage are jerks or not. MCR aren’t jerks, but they are quite mad occasionally. Before I realised the enormity of the task, I set about sticking some videos into playlists on my YouTube channel. If you have any additions, link them in the comments section. Apologies for the crappy design, I haven’t gotten around to making it pretty.
Alternatively, you can Google Search/News interviews and have a laugh at magazine-English, which is different to English-English in every way because you’re never entirely sure what the hell the interviewer’s going on about and it’s easy to misinterpret what the guys say as well… The best bit is picturing whoever’s talking’s face in your head.
Have fun Interwebzing (that is definitely a word, by the way) and don’t forget to watch the interviews as well as reading the stupidly entertaining comments!
There are actually some valid comments, considering the commenters’ ignorance. To the casual listener – and the rest of us, actually – some songs are overplayed. There is a large emphasis on death in the earlier work – just not in a negative way, an observant one. They did used to wear an awful lot of black, and it isn’t the happiest colour around. The guys didn’t set out to be rockstars, but this doesn’t mean they’re ungrateful, it just means they aren’t tabloid whores in it for the money.
This is my favourite part of an answer:
…and finally they are completely about the look, just think if my chemical romance got a tan, a non emo hair cut, and started wearing a t-shirt and jeans do you think any of their fans would buy one of their cd’s or go see them in concert…
I salute your reasoning and respect your opinion. Your ignorance makes you wrong, and your lack of grammar makes you inarticulate, but I hear you.
It’s my birthday today, so I thought I’d take a moment and talk about myself. Well, more specifically, how I came to know My Chem. Since you all, obviously, really want to know.
I was eleven, and studying for entrance exams for the school I’m at now. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I got into the habit of listening to a radio show called Music Control on Essex FM while I studied. Most of the stuff they played was pure pop, but because it was broadcast from seven until ten, and the target audience was students and twenty-somethings, they often played new releases weeks or months before the rest of the radio. So usually they’d play a track in July and by September when the rest of the word was rocking out and overplaying it, I thought it was the worst fucking thing anyone had ever written.
Anyway, they started playing this song around September or October, and I thought it was pretty cool because the structure meant that the entire song had to be broadcast, they couldn’t miss out a repeated chorus at the end if they were running short on time. There was this piano part that caught my attention at the beginning, it was really dramatic and dark, and then there was this huge noise of guitars and yelling (I think the lyrics “Defiant to the end” struck a chord) and eventually the song petered out with some nice drumming. Around the same time, autumn 2006, I was getting into the world of music television. We had two channels back then, I think. I kept catching the end of a video where it looked like the world had exploded. Oh look, it’s got that drum ending. Very tuneful.
Slowly, over the next few months, I kept catching glimpses of this strange band. Never an entire video or a name – that’d be way too easy – always snippets as I flicked. Oh look, now everything’s on fire. Hey, his hair’s turned black. Why are they falling out of clouds?
Music Control used to do an ‘[insert artist here] night’ every so often. They’d interview the band, play a few songs, maybe do an acoustic set. One evening, they had an interview with a guy from a band whose name I didn’t know because it was always said too fast for me to catch it. It was ‘Mychemicalromance’ or something, I don’t know. This guy from this unnameable band had the weirdest voice I had ever heard. I’d heard Americans in films and stuff, but never this accent (I guess there aren’t many New Jersey actors in children’s films). It was also the way he spoke; really quickly but confidently. Like he knew stuff the rest of us dreamt of learning. The interviewer goes “Where do you get your inspiration from, real life?” He said something along the lines of “Nah, I people watch and take it from there.” I’d been packing my books up or something, but I distinctly remember thinking “Thank God it’s not just me that does that!” I used to have a thing for making up strangers’ lives.
Then they played the piano song.
Around that time, my uncle was in the process of doing me a mixtape – okay, CD – of ‘rock music’. I’d mentioned liking The Killers so got their albums for Christmas, in the spring he did me a compilation. In amongst American Idiot, You Give Love a Bad Name, Last Train Home and Dance, Dance, there was a song called Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. Holy shit! It’s the piano song! Google Search time. Or was it YouTube?
I saw Helena and was like, that’s not My Chemical Romance. They’ve had a lineup change. Wait… No… he has the same tattoo on his neck as the other guy. Oh, hang on, same hair. The bassist’s different for sure. Can’t tell about the drummer. Woa, that’s the frontman in the Parade video! Same face. Definitely him. I think.
My memory’s a bit hazy now – I’m getting on a bit – but I think in that first YouTube session I heard Vampires, Not Okay and Ghost as well. Over the course of about a year, My Chem kept cropping up. My friend’s brother had a Revenge t-shirt. It was awesome. Gerard Way was in Sugar magazine’s Ladmag. He’d formed the band after seeing 9/11. Hey, I remember that! It’s the day before my birthday that makes me feel really guilty for celebrating being alive. He used to have a drug problem. Oh, he’s better now, that’s nice. They’re a happy looking band, aren’t they?
I used my twelfth birthday money to buy Parade, and it was the most depressing thing I’d ever heard. Over the next year, my CDs went into a box because we were decorating, and My Chem more or less went on the back burner. My friends at the time were into Disney shit, the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato and whatnot – so I was too. Around year eight it emerged some of my friends’ friends were into MCR, and I started to remember them. They’d gone into hibernation, apparently, but their new album would be out soon (would it, my arse). In June of year eight, in 2009, I was sitting on a coach on the way back from a school trip to Germany where we’d gone a bit mental and dressed as the Black Parade – I was Gerard, if I remember correctly, and my LynZ (Ruby) divorced me because I wouldn’t go to the tourist information bureau with her. I thought “You know what, admit it. This is your favourite band.” Some time along the way I’d picked up Revenge, and the band I’d coveted since the age of eight, McFly, weren’t doing much for me anymore.
Before I knew it, I owned all three albums, Parade is Dead! and Murder Scene, unicorns made me think of Mikey Way being called Frank wasn’t an insult. Incidently, Ruby first called me that because in Germany I bought a Trilby. She looked down at me, said “You look like a man again. You look like Frank. I’ll call you Frank now.” and turned away. The name stuck. I started Indifferent Ignorance in late 2009 and quickly realised how easy it was to write about My Chem – the music they made was often what I was trying to say. The rest, as they say, is history.
Over the last year or so, I’ve come to appreciate what My Chem’s done for me. I was never about to slip into a pill-induced coma when Venom came on my iPod… The band didn’t save my life. But in a strange way, it did kickstart it. I get along best with people who are MCR fans. There’s never a lack of conversation, let’s face it. Via searching the band and finding to other stuff by association, I’ve come to find and appreciate almost everything I hold dear; my friends, most of my writing, a large chunk of possessions and, most of all, the feeling that someone’s got my back. The MCRmy is a group of people who will never judge me for who I am, even though they’ve never met me – more than I can say for a lot of people I actually know. Since listening I’ve become even more defiant and determined (something I didn’t think was possible).
What My Chem says and does makes sense. Simple as. I never heard Famous Last Words and thought “Oh, he’s right.” I thought “Well, yeah, he’s right.” Of course he is. Why don’t more people say what needs to be said? This idea also explains why I’m a Mindless fan and have a blog.
Yesterday the band played a reworked version of their first song, Skylines and Turnstiles. I’m almost never moved by music, but I was touched… I think my vision might have got a bit blurry. I talked about 9/11 making me feel bad for celebrating… When I was about nine, it the enormity of the event occurred to me. How can this day be happy for me when for so many others it was the beginning of the rest of their lives? I made a habit of writing about MCR this time of year and always listened to Turnstiles. At some point it hit me that people die very day. Yes, it’s sad, but brilliant things can emerge from terrible ones (see yesterday’s post). The 12th September sixteen years ago was the beginning of the rest of my life – and I nearly didn’t make it at all, thanks to shit timing, pre-eclampsia and a collapsed lung. When I was eight or so I decided to stop thanking God and start thanking the doctors that paid attention in medical school. Life is fragile and could break at any time. 9/11 clouded that judgement for a while – but My Chem has reminded me of that, and will continue to remind me, as long as there’s life in my stereo.
So I’d like to thank them for that. I’d also like to thank everyone who’s put up with me over the last sixteen years, and who got me presents. I yell a lot, but I like you really. See? I’m smiling.
NB: I realised the guy on the radio was Gerard about three years after I heard him talk.