Friday, October 21, 2011

The Pursuit of Normalcy: Going Cold-Turkey on Coldplay and Killing My Love For The Killers

I am not the most normal person you will ever meet, not by a long shot. My life and my world revolves around my favourite bands; I live and breathe music and everything to do with it. When normal girls of my age are talking about men, clothes, shopping, and Real Life, I’ll be the girl who says “Have you seen the new Coldplay video? Those elephant suits are elephantastic!” cue odd stares all around, and not-so-well-concealed giggles from anyone in the vicinity. Thankfully, the topic will usually quickly turn back to whatever was being discussed before my little outburst. I’m also the girl who will fall dead silent, mid-sentence, and start grinning like an idiot because my favourite song has just come on. For a while now, I’ve wondered what it must be like to be like one of my friends: normal, socially accepted and able to carry out a decent conversation with anyone without fear of being judged. I’m not saying that no one likes me, I simply mean that I am slightly odd, and this does not go unnoticed. Perhaps it’s even an endearing quality, or maybe people find me entertaining, I don’t know, I’ve never asked. Anyway, there is a point here, and I’m getting to it.

Late last night, I decided that the only way I would gain social acceptance, and stop being a bit of a joke was to shake off, well, my oddness. I planned to do this by cutting out anything that was abnormal, in other words, anything my friends didn’t do. Translated, this meant that I had to cut everything music-related from my life. I figured that if I could do this for a week, maybe I’d achieve normalcy. It seemed like it could also be a rather interesting social experiment. The first thing I had to do was change my profile pictures and backgrounds: profile pictures were all me now, no concert pictures, and my desktop background changed to a kitten, instead of the rather lovely photo of Chris Martin which had come before it. Next, I banned myself from sites such as Twitter and, as well as fan communities such as the Victims, and Alright then, Facebook was up next. I decided that I was still allowed to use Facebook, as long as it was for interacting with friends only. No statuses involving song lyrics, no links to music videos or live performances, and no creeping of bands or events companies. No, just no. No keeping tabs on Big Concerts’ plans for next week’s Kings Of Leon concert, and indeed, no creeping band members to find out where they were. I was also not allowed to read any music-related news articles or reviews of albums. The biggest part, however, was that I was not allowed to make any music, song or band references to anyone. I was especially not allowed to bring up any favourite bands (cough, Coldplay, cough) or anything related to them in conversation. I did, perhaps, end up slightly quieter than usual, but almost certainly a lot less annoying. Another banned item was concert talk, unless someone else mentioned it first. Thus questions such as ‘Are you going to Kings Of Leon next weekend?’ were to be met with a curt ‘yes’ before the topic was swiftly changed.

And so it began: the One Week Challenge, as I began to call it, was in progress. At first it went very well, I managed to avoid anything music-related for about an hour and a half after waking up. Then came the walk to lectures, during which I allowed myself to listen to Kings Of Leon on my iPod. Music itself wasn’t banned, after all. During class, I restrained myself from writing ‘8 days to KOL’ on the top of my notes, this was the first time I’d broken the countdown since last term.

Later in the day, I impressed a friend by not protesting the fact that she had had the new David Guetta song on repeat for at least an hour. In fact, I did not request any of my music to be played once, that was against the rules of the plan. The difficult part came later, when I saw Lauren. “Isn’t the ‘Paradise’ video just the cutest thing ever?”. It is. I could have gone on about it for days, but instead I just smiled and said that I couldn’t say much as it was against the rules of the plan. My friends obviously wanted to know more about the plan, and dare I say they if I were them, I’d probably have begun to judge myself even more after I told them about it! They asked why I’d do something like this to myself: why was I depriving myself of everything that made me happy? Because I crave acceptance, that was the real answer. And if this is what it takes to make me normal, and to make people accept me, then so be it. But this is when my plan began to fall apart. We were listening to a song by a band that I like a lot, and soon I was emphatically throwing out words like “overproduced”, and before I knew it, I was analyzing the ‘Paradise’ music video in great detail. An hour later, a friend happened to use the phrase ‘I never’ three times in quick succession, and I was back in a mode that would probably make me end up on Irrational Killers Fans, when I grinned and said ‘You can stop singing Mr Brightside now’.

So the One Week Challenge failed miserably after only one day. I still crave acceptance, but I’m less willing to change to gain it. I’ll stop bringing my music obsessions up in conversations all the time, but never again will I go cold-turkey as I did today. What I do in my own free time is my own problem, and no one else’s. If all the normal people spend their free time eating, sleeping, drawing, cooking, reading, exercising or planning their futures, why shouldn’t I get to spend mine doing what I love most?  

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