Tuesday, January 16, 2018


I’m learning that waking up can be a not that pleasant experience. In fact, it can be quite painful.

My morning routine is one of languor. The alarm goes off at six a.m. I’m normally half-awake five minutes before this. Once I shut off the alarm, I turn on the television and listen to the news – or more to the point, the Today Show on Channel Nine, the palatable face of right-wing Australia. I like to be agitated out of bed gently.

This morning, the news came that Dolores O’Riordan had passed away, aged 46.

Dolores O’Riordan? Never heard of her?

Well, she was the voice of a generation. My generation. Generation X.

The news took me back to 1994. This was instantaneous and complete.

Here I was, 25-years-old and in a pub in London, England. I’m wearing high-waisted jeans and a shirt, which has not been tucked in, On my feet, Doc Marten eight hole boots bought down Camden Market the day a bomb went off in a bin down the Camden High Street. My hair is flowing down my back. I have a pint of “wife-beater and lime” in my hand (Stella Artois topped with lime cordial, still a drink of choice).

I have just started work at a merchant bank in the City, finally making proper money. Double breasted suits and stiletto heels surround me on a daily basis.

Nelson Mandela is about to be made President of South Africa. Lady Diana is making news for the right and wrong reasons. The Channel Tunnel has just opened. Fred and Rosemary West become a household name. Rwanda is imploding. Barings Bank is still a bank not just the carcass left by Nick Leeson.

Life feels a lot simpler back then.

But I am standing in a pub with a pint in my hand, just realising that I have fallen in love, quite badly, and there is nothing that I can do about it. Nothing at all.

I’m surrounded by my drama mates after a class. It was a great drama class.

We eat jalepeno poppers, the likes I have never had again. This the after drama pint. We'll all make the last train home. I live in West Hampstead, sharing a flat with an odd flatmate above a sharehouse of Australian and Kiwi expats, with most of whom I am still in contact.

This pub isn’t there any more.

But we are here in this pub, with my pint and some jalepeno poppers and this comes on over the pub's speakers.

And everything makes sense.

Every time I hear this song, I am taken back to this place. I'm taken back to this person. Somebody I really don't need to be thinking about.

Little did I know the feelings would linger for over twenty years.

Vale Dolores O’Riordan, the voice of Generation X. You will never linger. You'll always be the voice of my generation.

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