Sunday, January 11, 2004

Black Dove: The Teenage Years

After another fun-packed day at work de-lousing homeless alcoholics, I am re-living my teenage years here and am having a little glass of vino (natch) and listening to some punk and goth-rock classics of my hey-day. Of course I am too young to actually remember punk, but I recreated my own punk-era circa age 15. In Newcastle in those days, all the "misfit" teenagers (the hippies, goths, metallers, punks and the like) all used to hang around in this park / peace garden thing called Old Eldon Square (known as "The Green" to its' friends). I guess I had always had "unusual" taste in music, compared to other kids my age.. for instance, I was really into Bon Jovi and Fuzzbox (god, remember them?!) at the age of 9, when all my friends at school liked Bros and Rick Astley (you know who you are!).

When I was 13, I started off by listening to The Beatles and the Doors, and wearing Indian clothes, lots of black eyeliner and long purple skirts, around age 14. I dyed my hair black, and wore black nail varnish. This then progressed on to listening to Metallica (14 year old staple), Faith No More and Slayer (another teenage necessity)...the clothes got a bit more 'way-out' as my mother would say, I got more ear-piercings, wore more eyeliner and drank a lot more alcohol. Next phase: the death-metal / punk stage: required listening was Paradise Lost (I saw them live in what used to be the Riverside club in Newcastle, sadly one silly girlie who insisted on dancing in the mosh-pit with all the big blokies got kicked in the face by a stage-diver.. nice), Napalm Death (what were they singing / shouting about??), and little-known punk bands such as the 4-skins (there were four of them, they were all skinheads... geddit?!) and Oi Polloi. I shaved the sides of my hair off (my mother actually cried!), wore knee-high lace-up steel toecap boots, and wore 1950s cocktail dresses with them (with classy donkey jacket over the top!). Ahem. Fortunately there exists no photographic evidence with which anyone can blackmail me in the future.

Warning! Here comes the serious bit... I suppose it was all a "rebellion" thing... especially since I was going to a ram-religion-down-your-throat all-girls' private school at the time. But in some ways I used to "hide" behind my seemingly confident and unusual appearance... when I stopped dressing this way (at around age 17) all my eating problems began to come out more.. I guess that I always felt different to everyone else, and when I was wearing the 'different' clothes and stuff I was showing how I felt. But then when I couldn't hide behind the clothes, I turned to another thing to focus on how different I was to everyone else (or so I thought), and that was food. Or the lack of it in those days. When I kicked the eating disorder that was my major feeling: I don't have an identity anymore. I am not a "punk / hippy / goth / whatever", I am not "bulimic / anorexic / a dysfunctional eater" ... so what am I? I would say this is what has taken the longest to come back after it all... the eating was back to normal way before I figured out what I was all about (and I'm not saying that I know that totally even now).

God, who'd have thought a bit of The Buzzcocks and Siouxsie would have brought all that out? No wonder people say goths are miserable! I'm off to listen to a bit of Kurt... that'll really cheer me up!


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