We didBilly Liar as part of Drama GCSE. It was one of my favourites.
I was never very good at drama, but I loved the idea of it. Plus, in my all-girls school, drama was the only subject that had boys (bussed in from the ‘brother school’ twice a week for lessons). It helped that said group of boys included my disproportionately-adored on/off teenage boyfriend. I looked forward to drama all week and applied insane amounts of lip gloss accordingly.
My drama teacher – who I am still friends with and is wonderful – was incredibly kind to me. She knew the extent of my out-of-control schoolgirl crush and, although she would occasionally take me aside for bemused head-shaking ‘he’s really not worth it’ little chats, she would often take pity on me and pair me up with the object of my affection for duologues and the like.
When Billy Liar came along, this kind of completed the circle. It seems now even more apt than it was at the time, and I could kind of see it even then.
He was such a Billy Liar back then, and I desperately wanted to be Liz. I had forgotten how much until I happened to read this great piece this morning.
I don’t know exactly what happened to that boy – we’re not in touch beyond the occasional Facebook comment. But I know he’s not a Billy any more; at least, I don’t think so. He got away, lives on the other side of the world and still does all the things he loved doing back then. Same for me, really.
I’m so happy we both turned out to be a couple of Lizzes, in the end.
It’s no secret that I love Brian Molko of Placebo, the goth-lite band that I adored beyond all reasonable measure from approximately the age of 14 onwards. It’s also even less of a secret that I am a total grammar geek.
Make of these what you will, but the two facts unexpectedly collided in the Venn diagram that is my heart recently. I was listening to Julien (a song I have heard so many times before), and as Brian miaowed: ‘Julien – find a friend, in whom you can confide’ and my heart did a little jump, it occurred to me that grammar may be one of the reasons why I have always loved Brian.
He’s a surprisingly literary pop star, and surely this had some effect upon my sensibilities at an impressionable age. It was thanks to a Placebo song (Our Lady of the Flowers) that I ordered a copy of Jean Genet’s novel from my local bookshop when I was 15. I also looked up several Placebo-favourite words in the dictionary so that I could use them myself: attrition, benediction. And so on – Molko loves to load on the rhyming couplets.
But as soon as I noticed it, I realised that appropriately using ‘whom’ inspired a whole new level of love. It’s like that time I went on a date with someone I didn’t really fancy because he used a semi-colon in a text message. HOT.
Similarly, my own personal god Leonard Cohen likes the occasional use of an Olde English affectation, of which I thoroughly approve. ‘Thee’ is always a nice moment.
So, bands, if you want teenage girls to be obsessed with you, the key is clearly in knowing ‘who’ from ‘whom’. Right?