As I’ve said before, or at least inferred it, I don’t change over the years. I just take how I used to be and add to it as I go along. My life is one big collection of everything I’ve ever been in to.
One of these things are The Proclaimers. Charlie and Craig Reid. I can’t tell them apart, and I didn’t hear much of their music, but the music I did hear, I knew and I loved. Lots.
I was maybe twelve when I really knew 500 Miles. And whilst it wasn’t one of my “Oh My God – Head Buzzing!” songs, it was up there. It’s one of those songs where you’re either lame for knowing all the words to, or you’re really awesome, and I’ve been both.
The second song I got to know was, naturally, Letter from America. My dad would go on about the random ill-fitting rhyming of America with Canada. I disagreed, I thought it was done quite well. I didn’t even know there was a political meaning to it until three years ago!
The third and fourth songs come hand in hand because of the little story that accompanies it. I’m On My Way and Don’t Turn Out Like Your Mother. I don’t know whether I already knew of the songs or not, but I don’t think i’d have had any way of knowing about these songs if it weren’t for I’m On My Way being on the Shrek soundtrack. So I’m guessing it was the constant play on the radio that caught my attention. From there, I had to listen to it all the time and 500 Miles, and Letter from America altogether and I used the Yahoo music video service to watch it. It was never something to depend on but it was great for the purpose at the time. Sometimes the next video was something unrelated, sometimes it was related by sounds-like bands, sometimes it was another song by the same band that you’d already listened to.
One day when I was listening to I’m On My Way, the next track started with a very low voice saying “I’m a grown man, I’m over 21. I’ve got an ugly face but I have a lot of fun”. It wasn’t The Proclaimers, which was made very obvious when the voice cut out, there was a suspended chord for a few seconds to fill the air and then BAM, heavy death metal bursting into my earphones. I still to this day don’t really know what that was about, other than a heavy death metal cover of Don’t Turn Out Like Your Mother.
I didn’t think about it for a while, but I had to Google it eventually because those two lines about being ugly stuck with me. Low and behold, I found The Proclaimer’s did a song with those lyrics.
Recently, thanks to Spotify, I’m able to listen to any and all available songs by The Proclaimers whilst I save up the funds to buy all of their albums. The songs remind me of when I first listened to them, other times I listened to them, special times I listened to them, how I felt, how they cheered me up, where I was and why and how I came to listen to them.
They’re very underrated. They’re very political, which I didn’t even realise until a while ago when I read about it all. But you know what? Come rain or shine, these guys have music for all occasions. They’re perfect for post-midnight blues, too.
I would love to see these guys live. It would be a dream come true. And hopefully saying that won’t jinx them in any way, because the last time I said that about a band, they broke up a week later. (Sorry, The Calling!)
So, thank you, Charlie and Craig for existing and giving us all this amazing music. I may have been too young when you first released your biggest hits, but I’ve been on board for 10 years now. That’s got to count for something!