Here’s the second excerpt from my crowdfunding novel. Hope you enjoy it. If you like what you’re reading, now’s the time to support the book, by pre-ordering/pledging via the link underneath. Thanks!
The first famous person I saw here was Ian Curtis. He wasn’t just the first famous person I saw here; he was the first person I saw who I’d previously known in any capacity whatsoever. Via some curious twist of fate, nobody that I’ve ever known personally has died. My parents are both still alive, as are my aunts, uncles, brother and all my friends. I wasn’t old enough to remember any of my grandparents, so I’ve never bothered to look them up. The only funeral I ever attended was my own, and whether I even went to that is open to metaphysical debate. I spent my whole life thinking I was so lucky that no one close to me had died, and now I spend much of my time thinking the precise opposite.
So, consequently, of all people: Ian Curtis.
It was the first time Felix invited me to the Afterparty; out of pity probably, for I was still moping around like a wounded donkey although I’d been here a good eighteen months. Felix said to come and hang out backstage, but I didn’t feel like socialising so I just showed up at 4pm when I knew Curtis was scheduled to play. He’d assembled quite a good little band for himself – Hole’s Kristen Pfaff on bass and the guy from Lush on drums – and as you can imagine there was a pretty big crowd even for an afternoon slot. But fuck, it was weird. So many weird things about it, I didn’t even know where or how to begin. I had about three panic attacks just getting into the site. We’re not supposed to get panic attacks, but of course I get them anyway. I’d stopped off at a Social on the way there and downed a whole bottle of wine to calm my nerves, but I was practically sober again by the time Curtis started. I got a brief grip on myself and managed to weave my way to the front, but then he came on – and I froze. I suppose I was expecting him to look like the dude who played him in the Anton Corbijn film, but, well, he didn’t. He didn’t even look like Ian Curtis. He looked like Ian Curtis after living in Los Angeles for ten years. Tanned, vivacious, prosperous, muscular… healthy. Albeit with a cigarette in his mouth. He sported that odd pentagonal guitar from the ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ video and greeted the audience with an exuberant ‘Good afternoon, zone T109!’ All wrong. Then they started to play, and when I realised it was ‘Dead Souls’ I just couldn’t handle it. I felt like I was going to be instantly sick, although as I’ve found out many times, there’s never anything to be sick with. I had to leave. I turned and started to push my way out again before he’d even started singing. And when he did, everyone around me – smiling, pretty, perfect young faces with their unfeasibly spotless indie uniforms – shouted out the lyrics with him (‘They keep calling me!’) as if he were playing a Bon Jovi song. I had a harder time getting out than in, but people were so enthralled by what they were watching that no one noticed the desperate, heavy-breathing twat trying to make a run for it. Halfway out I started yelling at people. ‘Why’s everyone so fucking cheerful?’ ‘This is so fucked up, does no one realise?’ ‘This is not a happy song! Why is everyone roaring it out like a football chant?’ – that kind of thing. At one point I was so deranged, I thought I saw Saff standing far away in another part of the crowd. I screamed out her name and then piled over to try and talk to her. When I got there of course it wasn’t her at all, just someone who looked vaguely sort of nothing like her whatsoever. I finally broke free from the mob, ran all the way back to my house and lay on my lounge floor crying for about a week.
But I got over it.
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