School reunions rarely rock. Or so I’m told. But I head in to my first reunion proper this weekend – some 16 years after kissing some of the best days of my life goodbye –wondering whether I’m the last of a dying breed.
Back then there was a hardcore group of 20 or so committed rockers of which I’m proud to say I was one.
We spent our pocket money on vinyl and gigs, jammed together from time to time, spent hours rifling through the racks at Volume Records and given enough courage we could even be seen fraternising on the fringes of the Old Eldon Square set.
Now school rules dictated I couldn’t grow my hair long. So as a teenage rocker I looked more like Jason Donovan than Jason Newstead with a cute blond bob parted neatly down the centre.
It was suitably roughed up for those front row battles at Whitley Bay Ice Rink but it never sat well with the studded denim jacket or the AC/DC sweatband. I was into hair metal. Only without the hair.
Of course image isn’t everything. And the people that really mattered – my rock loving pals – knew that beneath the yellow trimmed blazer and choirboy-style (if only it had been Quireboys-style) hair lay a professional rocker.
My A4 lever arch files were plastered front and back with Maiden logos, Leppard lyrics carefully hewn from Smash Hits Mags and pictures of Lita Ford gyrating behind a Flying V.
I remember the raised eyebrows from my favourite history teachers, Messrs Henry and Park, as they clapped eyes upon the musical influences shaping the character of a kid they were carefully crafting into Blyth’s foremost expert on the Tudors.
And I remember the look of horror on the faces of the It Girls as they realised why they never fancied me in the first place. And why they never would.
But there were also glances of admiration. And looks of envy. But most certainly nods of appreciation from those fellow students who understood the value of Motley Crue, Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure and an embroidered Yngwie J Malmsteen jacket.
So come Saturday will I be the only one extoling the virtues of Black Ice, Songs From The Sparkle Lounge, Death Magnetic and Chinese Democracy (probably)?
Will I be alone in looking forward to the December double header of Black Stone Cherry and Slipknot?
And will anybody want to chew the fat on the changing face of Headbangers’ Ball, the sad passing of Tommy Vance or the time I spent 30 minutes with Alice Cooper on his tour bus?
I’m not holding out much hope. But then there are other things I can talk about with confidence. Like Planet Rock Radio, Classic Rock Magazine, Dirty Rock And Roll and basically anything with rocks in it. Now where’s Mr Glover when you need him…