I went to a Fall gig recently, the first one since The Time My Band Were The Support, three lineups ago. When I was younger, I used to wonder about the slightly milky milky older blokes you saw at Fall gigs and never saw anywhere else. The other week, I was one of them.
Despite never posting, I visit Livejournal pretty much every day, mainly to see how a few people I like and admire (who haven't moved on to Twitter) are doing. It's ironic that I used to post much more often when both I and the bulk of my 'friends' lived in Glasgow and I'd likely bump into a fair few of them in the pub or at a gig before they'd had a chance to read my latest nonsense. Now that I'm no longer a five-minute bus ride from the 13th Note, I should be leaning on the whole Global Village thing a lot more. Yet I don't. I tweet a fair bit, but that's not really talking to people, it's shouting in a crowded room full of other people shouting.
Part of my thorough disconnect with former acquaintances is down to a certain embarrassment at L and I having a major relationship malfunction the last time we visited the old country together, which is why my rare recent trips north of the border have been cloak and dagger affairs, my imminent presence being made known only to a select few. But mostly, it's just a natural evolution. I'm a different bloke now.
Before I moved, my life revolved around music – gigging, recording (band and solo), watching live bands. Not so any more - these days, I often don't hear new stuff by my favourite artists until months after the fact; I go to as many gigs in a year as I used to in a week; I've all but given up on my 'Frankie Boyle fronts the Pet Shop Boys' recording endeavours. Formerly a mildly pretentious indie/electronica type, my favourite live experiences last year were a doom metal band and an aged Italian prog rock outfit.
I used to spend a lot of time arguing on the internet – purely for its own sake (like all internet arguing). I had my own messageboard, where I could be king of the castle and use moderator privileges to get rid of anyone grinding my gears. Now I love nothing more than finding a blog where the standard of debate in the comment threads is far enough above my head that I wouldn't dare throw in my tuppence worth, far less engage in slanging matches.
I've experienced that moment where you realise that your 'day job' is actually your 'job'. I've held down my current position for over twice as long as any previous one, which is a big change. It could be related to my arriving early in the morning most days, rather than staggering in at 9:58 as I used to.
My relationship dynamics have changed as well. Back in the day, it was my girlfriend who was the older, wiser, disengaged one with a mortgage and I was the hotheaded younger one trying to make a name for myself. With C and I, it's exactly the reverse and I'm comfortable with that. I used to know loads of people – maybe not all that well in most cases, but certainly enough to make me a minor ace face in certain quarters. Now I'm perfectly comfortable with anonymity, both online and off. Someone asked me recently about my “social circle” - the fact is, I don't have one. There's C, obviously, and the people I work with (who're pleasant enough), and that's enough. In short, I've gone from someone who wanted to be noticed to someone who doesn't want to be noticed.
There are other things: I drink a lot less, I've started to get into Formula 1 (surely the most Dad-ish of all sport), I no longer consider a bag of pasta and a block of cheese to be a complete food inventory. I've finally admitted that the sitcom about the miserable bloke who sold rotten fruit and veg from a van was a product of my imagination (that was hard). I even genuinely considered joining a gym the other day, after straining the muscles around my rib cage turning over in bed (lack of fitness never bothered me before, but when it's causing me injuries in my sleep, I start to worry).
On the other hand, some things haven't changed: I still smoke like a priest, I'm still a raging Commie (albeit in a 'have actually read books about it' kinda way, rather than in a generalised 'down with the system' manner), I still spend too much time in front of a PC.
Anyway, that's, to use a hideous bit of management speak, where I am. Writing this has not the effect on my insomnia that I was after, so I'm off to read some more and smoke more fags. G'night all.