When I was seventeen (which, as it happens, was seventeen years ago) my letters to Amelia Fletcher and Matt Haynes were filled with really moving stories about how lonely it felt to be an indiepop kid in Athens. So maybe I was hoping they would feel sorry for me and send me some free records but mostly I was being honest. It was a loneliness in numbers because there were quite a few of us - but we felt isolated and everything was happening so far away that by the time any news reached us, they were already old and we were struggling to understand what was going on at the other side of Europe. Flyers reprinted in our fanzines always belonged to the past and we were feeling nostalgic about things we'd never lived.
Now of course there is the internet and Indietracks and I've got a bit more money and the fun never stops. I do pop things and pop things happen to me that I never imagined when I was seventeen. And when me and mr honeypop decided to go to New York for this year's Popfest, it felt like an amazing indiepop adventure and I was peeing in my pants with excitement because I was going to see all those bands and get to walk around a city I only knew from the movies. Nothing could go wrong, the plan was perfect. But I hadn't quite understood just how perfect it was: I went to New York and on the first day of the Popfest I went downstairs at the Cakeshop, stood in front of the stage and a boy I'd never seen in my life before turned and smiled at me and I waved at him. It was Roque! We got to talk and do a group-hug with Kip half an hour later but at that moment it dawned on me just how far we'd come in creating a group of friends from all over the world and how important that was. And as I spent the rest of the popfest sitting around and chatting to wonderful people and getting post-popshow hugs from strangers, I just couldn't believe my luck. I mean, look at us: London, Miami, Stockholm, New York, Chicago, Stoke, Montreal, San Francisco, Glasgow... It didn't feel like a long way to travel to find so much warmth and understanding. The glow on people's faces on Sunday afternoon, I'll just never forget. A patio full of the most awesome talent, the stripiest T-shirts, the brightest smiles and the happiest conversations about pop and nothing at all.
The populist paradox
1 day ago