Aliens Exist

When I was a teenager, we were still discovering music the old fashioned way. We relied on Kerrang! reviews, word of mouth and CDs "borrowed" from our friends' older siblings. When I started waitressing and my wages rose to £4.10 an hour, I was suddenly a millionaire. Almost all of my pay packet was spent in the Dundee branch of FOPP as I sped through the back catalogues of Blondie, Nirvana, Funeral for a Friend and Linkin Park.

I was late to the blink-182 party. They had just released their self-titled album and it was this I bought in one of my weekend hauls. I was like the Star Wars fan who'd seen The Phantom Menace before The Empire Strikes Back. And I loved it.

Artwork by Mary Harvey - click the picture to see her other work!

Artwork by Mary Harvey - click the picture to see her other work!

I cried to "Feeling This" after my first experience of a boy feeling me up at a party and never speaking to me again. Like everyone else, I made fun of Tom's vocals on "I miss you" and felt secretly thrilled to see two girls making out in the video. "Always" would be the anthem for every breakup I had for the next 10 years.

When the band split, it was how it happened rather than the fact of it that devastated me. Mark and Tom started out just the two of them, playing acoustic guitar in their bedrooms. When they started playing gigs, they could barely cover the gas to drive to the next town. In the film The Urethra Chronicles Part II, they talked about how they have to speak to each other every day or "it's just not the same day". One day, Tom left a message with their manager to say he wasn't doing it any more and that was it.


Artwork by Jay Roeder. Click the image to see his other work on Flickr

Artwork by Jay Roeder. Click the image to see his other work on Flickr

My high school friendships had been tough for me; Everyone in my friend group was thinner and cleverer and "together". I was chubby and scruffy and vulgar. Tom and Mark were my Frida Kahlo, the person out there just as strange as me. If they couldn't make it as friends, it didn't bode well for me as I left school to meet new people.

It turns out, I had nothing to worry about in the friendship department. Wonderful women came into my life and I danced in my room to the blink-182 back catalogues and accepted Angels and Airwaves and (+44) as well as I could. The band reformed at the Grammy Awards but it was never the same. They made one album together (with the only blink song I can say I HATE so thanks for coming back to give me "Love is Dangerous", Tom). 

Being a fan of a band or musician is a different kind of fandom. It's unlikely you've ever read a book or watched a film that has cut you down to the bone as quickly as a piece of music has. Only music can have me doing snottery tears in public; film or literature never will.

Blink-182 as we know it has come to an end and Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio takes over (for now). I sometimes feel like I own blink-182. I want to bang on Tom's door and ask where it all went wrong or have Mark explain what makes him soldier on without his best friend. We've given them their MTV Cribs houses with ticket sales and merchandise and in return, they've given me a time machine back to my teen years with the sound of a few guitar chords. I am the sixteen-year-old in FOPP with my wages in my pocket. I am the girl who doesn't understand why a guy touching her the night before won't make eye contact in the morning. I'm the ex girlfriend wanting to cling on for dear life.


Tell me about the band you love. x

Lauren Aitchison