Being out of tune is one of those things I’ve always liked of my character. Being out of tune is a state of mind: it means living in a sort of cultural isolation and following your own path, no matter what. It’s an attitude which makes me feel utterly alone, most of the time, but by this time it’s become part of me. Being out of tune also means being the right person in the wrong place/wrong moment (it’s happened to me lots of times) and doing things most people don’t do. I remember I spent the summer of 1999, for example, reading vampire novels only: the temperatures were sizzling hot, but I thought the best way not to surrender to dog days was to focus on dark atmospheres. I read ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, Dracula by Bram Stoker and an indefinite number of Vampirella comic books. I still think that was one of my best summers ever, because I knew I was following a personal cultural path which made me feel good. I knew I was out of tune with the rest of my family and friends, but I honestly didn’t give a damn. Being out of tune also means thinking contrasts is what makes life better and more interesting: in 1997 I dyed my hair blue but kept on dressing like Millie Kentner most of the time, so the result was quite confusing. The same happens when I wear something fancy and elegant and have my tattoos visible: people think there’s something wrong and they’re probably right.
I have this attitude when it comes to music, too. Summer is usually the graveyard of music: obsessive rhythms and heavy rotation of pop songs on the radio is generally what you get during this season. Being out of tune means listening to Alice in Chains and Joy Division from May to September (and all through the rest of the year, by the way): it’s retreating in a hidden inner place where you can feel comforted by the words of people who suffered, who knew what it means to feel sad, or alone, or misjudged. Summer is not a happy season for me, so listening to happy or festive music would be a contradiction. Wanna try my musical cure for summer, retreat in your inner cave until next fall and think about the self-destruction of capitalism as we know it? Here is my list of ten songs:
1. Got Me Wrong by Alice in Chains, from the ep Sap, released in 1992. “Show your belly like you want me to” is one of the best lyrics ever.
2. Am I Inside, from Sap. “Black is all I feel, so this is how it feels to be free”: no need to say more.
3. Rooster, from the album Dirt, released in 1992. This is heart-breaking.
4. Down in a Hole, from Dirt. The lyrics are desperate and wonderful at the same time.
5. No Excuses, from Jar of Flies, released in 1994. I know it’s a predictable choice, but this song has always had a special place in my heart.
6. A Means to an End by Joy Division, from Closer, released in 1980. This is magic.
7. New Dawn Fades, from Unknown Pleasures, released in 1979. “It was me, waiting for me, hoping for something more, me, seeing me this time, hoping for something else”: a masterpiece.
8. No Love Lost, from the ep An Ideal for Living, released in 1978. The intro is epic.
9. Shadowplay, from Unknown Pleasures. I couldn’t leave it out.
10. She’s Lost Control, from Unknown Pleasures. Another masterpiece, probably one of my favourite songs by Joy Division.
Two more songs that are worth listening to are Whale and Wasp by Alice in Chains, from Jar of Flies (in my twisted mind this is the perfect song for a funeral), and Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, which was released as a single in 1980. I know it’s the most famous song by Joy Division: it’s totally predictable, but it’s just flawless, especially the intro.
One could assume all this simply points that I’m a poser, who likes pretending to be different (no, I’m not). Others could assume I’m just a loser and a social reject, who listens to depressing music because I’ve got no social life and nowhere to go to (yes, I am). Oh, well, whatever. These are dark times, there’s nothing to be happy about in summer, life pretty sucks, school’s out and I’m starting to feel useless, I don’t know what will happen to me next September, I want to shave my head like now (but I’ve got to wait until next week) and I still have no swimsuit for my holidays. If this is not enough to listen to what I listen to, I don’t know what it is.