washed out - within and without

Teenage relationships are easy if your face doesn’t offend people and you have the appropriate social skills – a reciprocated glance at someone is often the step just before you get your mate to ask them out while you pretend to look busy from afar (pretty sure this was the inspiration for the band name And So I Watch You From Afar, but maybe it’s more of a stalkerish vibe).
Boyfriends and girlfriends come quite easy because no one at that age has a fucking clue who they are as a person, where their moral compass lies or what annoys them about other people. That’s why young love rarely lasts – teenagers are as disposable to each other as the latest iPhone.

As you get older and go through multiple heartbreaks and develop a repressive coping technique that involves getting shitfaced as frequently as is socially acceptable, you begin to learn that not everyone is compatible. Those naïve glances are now self-conscious cries for attention, and they’re usually met with an “I’ll shit on you if I have to” kind of stare.
It’s because people are aware of the shortcomings of others and can’t waste time on a risky, flirtatious moment – people need to know who someone is before taking a leap of faith and potentially wasting 10 years of their lives.

That’s where music taste comes in – that old bonding tool that can bring two people together in an instant and keep them up for hours in assiduous conversation with genuine passion. As a fan of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, A Silver Mt Zion, Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy You, it’s a shame that www.post-rocksingles.com isn’t a real website (although I am reliably informed there’s an app called Bristlr which allows people to search for others who have beards/are into beards, so maybe there’s still hope). If a member of the opposite sex enjoys post-apocalyptic monologues followed by melancholy guitar loops and 7 minutes of delayed double picking that ascends into cacophony stretched out over a further 10 minutes, I know we’re going to get along like a car on fire (if you get the reference, hmu).

Not that I go around refusing to talk to anyone who says anything other than F♯ A♯ ∞ is their favourite album, but it’s an indicator to me that this person appreciates a non-standard song structure, they’re patient and most importantly, they can find beauty and happiness in desolation and sadness. As a music journalist, it’s nigh on impossible to talk about anything other than music. You’ve chosen one specific topic to think/write/talk about for the rest of your life and it’s your raison d’etre. To decide whether or not you  get along with someone based on their taste isn’t pretentious, it’s meticulous. No one wants to waste what precious time they have left with anyone other than a kindred spirit, and music isn’t just sounds, it’s a whole bunch of semiotics and it’s representative of the individual.

Think about it: when do you see a punk who looks like the physical embodiment of Hepatitis-B wearing a Crass t shirt holding hands with someone who thinks Beyoncé created the Earth in 7 days? You don’t see that because with certain subcultures come certain ideals that usually discourage their members from socialising with other groups. In an age where someone can pretend to literally be anything they want (thanks, Internet), searching for a relationship with a like-minded individual is a way to weed out the potential time-wasters.

Obviously there’s way more to a relationship than music taste, but finding someone who also thinks Ernest Greene of Washed Out is the most adorable shaggy-haired musician ever to exist is like jumping down a green pipe on Super Mario Bros: you skip a good portion of the tiresome bullshit, get some gold and end up closer to sliding down a pole for points.

Nathan Butler

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