For as long as I can remember, Blink 182 have been my all time, absolute, loyal-til-the-day-I-die favourite band. Quote a lyric to me and I can tell you the next line, the name of the song and the album it came from. Mark Hoppus was my first ever celebrity crush and to this day if anyone asks me who my famous crush is I still say him. I’m a loyal fan like that.
I was born in 1993 so I missed seeing them live the first time around, but when they reformed I got tickets and went to see them in Manchester. When they did an acoustic performance of ‘Wasting Time’ – a song that they hadn’t sang live in over 10 years and coincidentally is my favourite song of theirs – I cried like a baby, so much so that the alarmed man next to me asked if I needed help. When they were performing at Leeds Fest I went with my mum and we stood there in the rain, me an emotional, screaming wreck and her wondering what that awful smell was and why people thought it was socially acceptable to throw cups of urine across the crowd. One of my best friends doesn’t really know who they are and I try not to get an eye twitch whenever she reminds me of this. When people say ‘oh, they sing All The Small things, right?’ I smile and somehow manage to not scream ‘THAT’S JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG, IDIOT!’. I have never created a single road trip/party/break up playlist that hasn’t had one of their songs on. I would argue until I ran out of breath that some of their lyrics are the best lyrics known to mankind and that they are a thoroughly under appreciated band that we should be forever grateful for. What can I say, I am a truly loyal fan girl.
I don’t look like your typical Blink fan. If anything I look like the kind of girl whose favourite CD is a compilation album of the top music in 2005. I wish I could say I was the cool girl with the tattoos, the sly smile and ability to pull off Kat Von D’s craziest lip colours, but instead I am the 5 foot 4 shy girl who doesn’t own a pair of Vans or DCs, likes cutesy floral prints and has never dyed their hair a crazy colour peeping over everyone’s shoulders. But when Blink come on stage I sing along louder than the rest. Their music has been the soundtrack to some of the best and worst times in my life and is always there to hold my hand for the duration of the ride.
I suppose I have my brother to thank for my love for them. He’s older than me and he was the one who discovered them and thankfully brought their music into our home. For that I will forever be in his debt.
My brother and I have never been crazy close. He didn’t really want a sibling, and if he did then it had to be a baby brother. Unfortunately for him, I came along, crying constantly, demanding my parents attention and not able to play with all of his cool toys because I was so small. Before I came along, he was the only grandchild and the apple of everyone’s eye. I stole some of his limelight then demanded a little bit more. He probably looked at me as this roaring, red faced alien who had intruded into his life and stolen away the people who mattered to him the most. My parents often tell the story of how on one family holiday he once suggested swapping me for another baby he had seen. I guess that story kind of sums up how things always were between us.
By the time my younger sister came along, he was older and more understanding of the changes having a new sibling brought. He clicked with my sister more than he ever did with me. Their bond has always been stronger and quite honestly I’ve felt left out a lot of the time, but it never stopped me from trying to get to know him. I probably (definitely) annoyed the hell out of him, but I just wanted him to treat me the same way he did my little sister. He was this cool, unattainable person in my life who I looked up to more than he could imagine. I wanted to hang out with him and his friends, to play games like he did… I wanted him to notice me. Sometimes I didn’t go about this the right way and would lash out to make him give me attention, like the time I poured juice over myself and blamed him. Sometimes I was just an outright annoyance and couldn’t blame him for not wanting to be around me.
But then there were the times he would notice me by himself, the times where I didn’t have to do anything other than be myself for him to invite me into his life. Those were the best times. He’d let me sit in his room and watch him play on his Playstation with Blink 182 playing in the background. Sometimes I’d even get to be player 2 and battle him. I was useless at all the games because I just senselessly button bashed and he always, always won, but it didn’t matter because I was finally where he was. We didn’t speak much, but arguably those times where I was allowed to be in his space and appreciate the things he did too were some of the times I felt the closest to him in my life.
Sometimes he would shut me out, mostly when his friends came over or I’d said or done something annoying like all little sisters do. He would close the door on me and I used to sit on the floor outside of his room, listening to the sound of Blink 182 playing and his laughter. Even though the barrier was there and I was still most definitely on the other side of it, I still felt like I was connected to him. I could still hear the same beautiful music he could.
A few years ago when Blink 182 came to England, I went with my brother and his wife to watch them play in Leeds. We went for a drink together before the show. I stood on my tiptoes for a better view, he didn’t need to. I sang along and screamed like a hysterical school girl. He was cooler than that. But it was something we did together, something we will always share. Those words, those melodies, those songs will always bind us.
I love my brother more than I’d ever care to admit and I hope he loves me back that much too. Without knowing it, he has been one of the biggest influences in my life. When he is proud of me, I glow. Saying bye to him when I went travelling was one of my hardest goodbyes. I said goodbye to him and his wife quite coolly, a quick hug and a ‘hey it’s not goodbye, I’ll see you later’, but as soon as he was out of sight I was in tears. I brush off that he prefers my sister to me like it’s nothing, but sometimes it isn’t nothing. When they arrange to go to the cinema without me and my sister tries to explain it’s just because I might not like the film, I shrug it off and pretend it’s fine when deep down it still cuts a little. Deep down it’s just like having the door closed on your face.
But then I put my iPod on and realise that we might not have those cinema trips to see films that actually I probably wouldn’t like or call each other often or even message weekly, but we have Blink 182. We have those songs and all of the memories that come attached to them. Call me crazy, but for those three to four minutes that those songs last for I’m a kid again, sat on my brother’s bed playing Tony Hawk or SSX Tricky or Street Fighter, not a care in the world, feeling the closest I’ve ever felt to him.