I’ve got lots of reasons for choosing Mis-Shapes by Pulp to go on the Uborka Mix CD.
The first was the way that it changed the way that I thought about myself. Before I heard this song, I was a geek and ashamed of it. I wore nerdish spectacles and didn’t understand a single thing about how the world worked, apart from the fact that I was quite clearly going about it all wrong. I didn’t really have friends, but there were a few people who were less horrid to me than others. I spent my evenings lost in my own little fantasy world, where the story would invariably start with me doing something incredibly cool that suddenly made me likeable. What happened next would vary, but I generally ended up kissing a girl.
I wrote bad fiction, and drew maps of places that didn’t exist. Ah, I’m wasting my time. To explain just how incredibly sad I was would require megabytes, and I’m sure that you can all guess.
Time to go into the extended entry, methinks…
Hi, welcome back.
So, there I was, being totally useless. And then this song came along that told me that I was a human being too, and there might be people out there who had something in common with me. And what’s more, there was a guy out there who had been through it all and had emerged from it, albeit after a decade and a half, to be a rock God. Admittedly, a rather geeky one, but the kind that I aspired to be. The kind that I knew that I could be. Almost overnight, I developed self-confidence.
From the sleevenotes:
Please understand. We don’t want no trouble.
We just want the right to be different.
Incidentally, for a few weeks I was misreading those words, as meaning something along the lines of we just want the thing that is right to be different. Which makes no sense.
Brings me onto the second reason why I am nominating this song. The music. It made me want to write songs myself. As I listened to it, I realised that with due diligence and practice, I could one day be writing songs like that. I could write words like that, I could write music like that, and I could perform it to the same standard. And then, when I was a rock God too, I could kiss a girl.
To be honest, my intentions weren’t so shallow. I wanted to be creating music, something that I could be proud of myself for. I wanted to be able to have something to show for my evenings, beyond just stains.
My third reason for selecting this song is actually not down to the song, but the band. When forming a first impression of someone, their appreciation of Pulp can be a very significant factor. And this test has done me proud, and as a result of initial encounters over the sleeve of Different Class, or a comments box on a weblog post about Jarvis Cocker, or any of a multitude of other similar experiences, I have met the people who have become friends, bandmates, lovers, or a subset of the three.
And all these three reasons are inextricably tied back to the thing that comes closer to defining me as a person than anything else. It’s not always been at the front of my mind, but I’ve always known that my bass-playing fingers will belong in the band that I forged seven years ago from the kind of friendship that hitherto only existed in films. The guitar-playing dude that shares my wavelength so tightly, that on more than one occasion I got so carried away that I stuck my tongue down his throat. The guy whom I originally met when he charged into me from my blind side and knocked me over in the playground (which he later thanked me for, because he gained loads of respect from his classmates for knocking over a guy who was in the year above), but then later re-met when I peered over his shoulder on the bus and threatened to kill him for his copy of Different Class, as it was the one with the interchangable sleeves.
So I’m doing this for the music, for all the people who this song has drawn me to, and for my own self-esteem.
The future is still owned by you and me.