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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thirty Days of Music- Part VI


The Skibunny Club upstairs in Auntie Annies was, for many years*, a time-honoured tradition. Small, dank, mahogany-encased, and magical. Spending your Saturday nights dancing, smoking inside and drinking £1.50 bottles of Stella or shots of Schnapps was a rite of passage into an assemblage of people who seemed exceptional and unique. You could walk down the streets of Belfast and recognise somebody that you'd only ever see in a dimly lit, shadowy corner of the club; they'd have an instantaneous mystique. Skibunny engendered minor celebrities, epic, inebriated romances, heartache and friendships. It didn't matter whether or not it was false, or superficial, or never left the confines of the pub; Skibunny was a wondrous microcosm of the real world. At an age when every experience I was having was formative to my character, Skibunny introduced me to music the likes of which I'd never heard before. It was diverse; Wu Tang Clan sat comfortably beside Otis Redding, and it was good. I've heard some of the most fantastic, affecting songs in that club and years afterwards, I still don't know what they were.

My description sounds rose-tinted. It absolutely is. I have romanticised my Saturday night sanctuary beyond comprehension. I had stopped going long before the last club night, after spides**, presumably from the Wetherspoons across the road, infiltrated the place and it lost that feeling of exclusivity that made you feel like you were a part of something special. But for a couple of years, there wasn't anything else like Skibunny, and I had some of the greatest nights of my teenage life there.

Today is a song that reminds you of somewhere.




I'll never forget standing at the bar, tipsy, pink-eyeshadowed, red and white polkadotted, looking like a prepubescent cross-dressing boy, feeling like I wasn't quite cool enough to be there, and then hearing this song. Everything about it permeated my body; the modulated synths, the gut-wrench of the bassline, the cowbell. It was one of the first songs I'd heard that truly excited me, or as Jamie Fox would put it, gave me a 'musical boner'***. What a glorious (and slightly elitist) coming of age tale.

* Ten years and ten months, to be exact
** Belfastian colloquialism for a "knacker", or "chav"
*** Ludicrously uncouth, but we all know how thoroughly apt this phrase is

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