I heard this song for the first time the other day by AJR. See, this bitch is totally down with the kids. Although my 11 year old did tell me that my “tennis ball” curved peak baseball cap needs to be straight. I am not allowed to wear it backwards, as I am ancient, and calling someone a “crazy cat” is just embarrassing!!!! Well it was good enough for Hendrix!
But I side track. The point is I heard this song and I fell back into the no mans land that was my early 20s. I was alone in London, in a high fought after job (I was a Denim / Menswear Fashion buyer; well assistant), poorly paid, and renting with strangers, who were usually crazy, most certainly not “friends”. But Martin, if you are are reading this, or James or Helen, you were good friends, and I love you all for protecting me during some of this destructive time.
As the song states, “No I ain’t happy yet? But, I’m way less sad.”
That was my life. I bounced from work, to pub, to party, to a strangers bed on occasion. I drank too much, I fell over often, as my slightly starved body was not a great consumer of alcohol. I occasionally dabbled in narcotics, to keep up with the big kids. Inside I was so so empty, solitary and sad. The social friends, the parties, the drugs, the alcohol as the song goes did not make happy now, but they did make me “way less sad.” It felt like I was drifting unconsciously through a sea of noise. Cruising through London, searching with a dim light. Searching for some connection, for my soul to be lit and to let it flourish. The dirty city was bright, pulsating and alive, I fed off its energy for years and then I fizzled out. My job was going nowhere, no man wanting anything past my outward appearance, once they got my lanky legs wrapped around them and the morning sun rose, they disappeared. Or if they found out my inside was a cavern of honest emotion, compared to the superficial shell of my 23 year old body, they floated on by.
I continued, I lived, I had some awesome fun in those hedonistic nights of dancing, loud music, dark bars and city sunrises. Yes for brief moments I felt like I was on fire, my brain and body glowed from the energy of the throng. “I was way less sad” …….. “And I’m not dead yet, so I guess I’ll be alright”! Then daylight, the hangover, the loss, the sickly London morning, shone a grey tinge on my dingy room. As I lay staring at the ceiling, hollow, aching and distraught.
The song makes me cry, it brings back the ache of a lost child in a crowded city. It reminds me of my stuck youth languishing, caught on its hedonistic rollercoaster.
Then one night a boy walked into a pub. I was caught in its clutches, swallowed by a sea of people. He walked in, with his floppy hair, big grin, and kind heart, he scooped up my soul and blew life back in. “Joy” had finally arrived.
“Yes, I feel happy now.”