At times, the places we know best can feel like the last places we want to be. The familiarity can be suffocating. And this is weird, because at the end of the day nothing is physically tying us down, and whether by hook or by crook, we could simply up and leave, and never come back.

Wouldn’t that be great? I honestly don’t know.

There are times when damp, dreary, cracked pavements I’ve walked a thousand times seem like they are all there is to go by, and that can be a depressing thought. Then again, if the sun is out, then the same route is like a Mario Kart time trial; and with every step I can see myself and my friends and what we did ten or fourteen years ago, and those memories are a blessing.

Home can be a funny thing.

Right now, I’m in between; but not necessarily out of choice. As I mentioned in my last post, I was looking to emigrate to Philadelphia, USA. That has fallen through, and my endless falling back on to music leads me to something along the lines of:

Now they have to face
Their best plans have all gone up in flames

The simple fact is, this plan has: my story of moving on and getting out has been cut short. But I don’t want to be at this emotional vantage point, and in all honesty, I think I’m getting past it. I love my hometown, and I love my friends and my family, and – cliché – the countless memories we’ve made throughout many, many happy years here.

In 2009, I visited my uncle in Madrid. Laying back in a chair on a scorching, sun-draped balcony with some brand of beer in hand, he introduced me to an album called The Wanderer by OAR (Of A Revolution), which had been the soundtrack to a holiday – somewhere Spanish – with his (and my) friends years before. It was passed down from Louis’ brother. One song jumped out at me, because, in retrospect, I thought I had heard it before – in fact, if I remembered correctly, it was a cover by a band who were supporting the band cited above, but I still to this day have no idea if I’m right. Anyway, the song, ‘That Was a Crazy Game of Poker’, is bloody fantastic. But it’s not that song, or that album, that I have in mind now. It’s the final song from their follow up album, Soul’s Aflame. ‘I Feel Home’ opens with a lyric I have repeatedly returned to ever since I first heard it some five years ago:

There are few things pure in this world anymore
And home is one of the few 

In fact, it’s the second verse that sparks the sunrise inside me for the time being:

We got nothing to do but when I look at you
I see something that I know and love
And with a crack of a smile we all stay awhile
We know from home there ain’t nothing above
Well in the end we can all call a friend
Well that’s somethin’ that I know as true
And in a thousand years and a thousand tears
I come finding my original crew

 I used to listen to this song and miss all my friends who have moved abroad (my uncle’s friends, no less), and I wondered if I could ever live anywhere other than England. For the past six months I’ve been positive than I could, but who really knows. I am, as has been conceded, a very sentimental person. I love nostalgia. I am happier playing Sonic 2 and Streets of Rage than the new Call of Duty, or even a new Grand Theft Auto. So, who knows?

I wish I could write about my younger years and the places I know like Tim Armstrong does in ‘Roots Radicals’, or Bob Dylan does any and everywhere. Sometimes I wish I could turn my tales into something like a ‘Suburban Myth’. But when all is said and done, OAR’s Marc Roberge has it right:

‘Cause to me throughout eternity
There’s somewhere we are welcome to go
I said it’s something free that means a lot to me
When I’m with my friends I feel home

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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