In that way that they do, dreams often tell me how much I miss going to see live music. I often have dreams set in dingy back of bar music venues, with sticky old worn out carpet floors, with some unlikely looking oiks pranging away on guitars, playing unknown indie whatever.
Last night, the Arctic Monkeys were playing in such a venue. I came to them so embarrassingly late. They really are extraordinarily good. They remind me of that visceral, exciting feeling you have as a teenager, when you find a band that speaks to YOU, and people like you, and you travel miles to see them, coming home with celebratory bruises that prove your joyful love, pogoing like an idiot at the front because you can't not do that. A passionate level of involvement that is sometihng akin to the passion you feel in an actual love affair, simply, and wonderfully because music speaks to the very centre of your being, and live music... well that really is something else.
For me, the usual collection of some absolutely brilliant bands, and some that in retrospect, you think "How the hell was I so in love with 'That Petrol Emotion'?" To be fair, the aforementioned did do a cracking version of "In a Rut"*. But I truly loved Blur, and it's to my great regret that I couldn't bring myself to go and see them when they briefly transformed in to Duran Duran, and did stadium gigs filled with screaming young ladies (I had first hand knowledge of what a tit Damon Albarn was during this era so wasn't particularly interested in man-worship). So I went straight from seeing them in the back room of a pub for the pre-release gig for "Modern Life is Rubbish" (bloody hell, what a fucking great gig that was, with many post-gig amusing memories based around going backstage with my then friend, a music journalist who hung out with that crowd, having flirted briefly with going out with Brett Anderson) to the greatest hits tour at Wembley Arena! (still a bloody wonderful, joyful, late twenties pogoing event in itself).
Pixies were the other legendary band that I would have followed to the end of the earth, that history has looked kindly upon. I've got a DVD of a live gig of theirs that I went to, and it's a curiously empty experience looking at it in retrospect. At the time, I remember the Town and Country Kentish Town being so overpacked that people were almost hanging from the roof. The entire floor of the venue was pogoing; every single person in the room knew every lyric, and the energy, the pure joy threatened to Zorn-like beam out of me like a burning torch. Like everyone else. There weere a few people at college who loved them as much as I did, including a lad called "Fuzzy" who I had an on-off 'thing' with (classically, he and I privately were great together, but he was absolutely mortified at the idea of being seen to be intimate with me in front of his friends. I was seriously uncool / put up with by people in some senses). Anyway, so there in the middle of the melle was Fuzz. We exchanged a brief shouted hello, both grinning from ear to ear, before losing each other again, diving in to the passionate mass of arms and legs.
Why am I rambling on about bands... oh yes! the dream. the dream was tangentially about music, but it had a great side element which was about modern gaming. Sony, through the PS had invented a platform on which people could create their own games, on a network which spread them like wildfire. They were everywhere, and formed part of the culture based around the youthful passion of music. Bands created games and embedded music in them that you couldn't hear anywhere else, and the games themselves of course formed immersive environments where you spent time within the culture of the band and the music. Yer man from The Arctic Monkeys had just released a game in to the network - the impression I got was that it was free to create, and there so there was a huge mass of the bizarre, the immersive and the quick-and-funky available. It was all very punk, with games ripped on the fly - no record company bullshit in the way.
The amusing part of the dream was that I took a look at some kids playing the latest on their handhelds, listening to music, and that's where my game-oriented creative imagination lets me down. I just don't play games really. Much. It was based on classic Space Invaders!