Burn Your Idols

I hate that something so horrific has urged me to write again – after such a long period of inactivity it’s a shame that I couldn’t be inspired (if that is even the right word) by something good.

Those of you who read my blog back when it was active, back when I was in hospital, or just recently released and still riding high on my mania will know of my love for the band Brand New. Those who know me well will know of my borderline obsession with this band. They are…. (were?) my favourite band of all time.

My relationship to this band and their music didn’t start well. I didn’t like them very much when I first encountered them. I found them kind of whiney… they were just another emo band, and I was soooo over that. Then my friend played the track Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ I was in love. While I’ve never come around to their debut album, the rest of their catalogue is probably the music I listened to most often. I just couldn’t get enough.

My love for this band came mostly from the lyrics to the songs, rather than the music… though I am not going to say that the music isn’t great too. Their third album, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me to their latest release Science Fiction have touched me in a way no other music has been able to. I identified with the themes of fighting a battle with yourself, regret, self loathing and the imperfect nature of the human condition. I applauded what I thought was mature lyrical content; songs touching on personal grief, the horrors of war and mental illness appealed to me more than any song written about love or heartbreak. This band was introspective and poetic in a way that few musicians are.

When I was in hospital it was this band that got me through. When it all started to get too much for me I would put on one of my favourite songs and the music in turn inspired me. It was a massive influence on everything I was writing at the time. I’m not going to lie, while I was ill I possibly over identified with this band. It was hard not to when the lyrics seemed to describe so perfectly my thoughts and feelings. They described what I had been feeling inside in a more beautiful way than I could ever express myself.

When their latest album Science Fiction was released earlier this year I was in love. The album seemed to be so much about living with mental health issues so similar to my own. I listened to it every chance I got and it made me feel better knowing that I was not suffering alone.

On Friday night allegations of sexual misconduct were raised against Jesse Lacey; front man of this band and the man who wrote many of those lyrics that I so heavily related to. On Saturday, in a public apology, Jesse Lacey did not admit to these specific allegations, though the lack of denial and nature of his statement leads me to the conclusion that they are true. Other women have come forward since the initial allegations came out and Brand New have “post-poned” their UK Tour.

My heart is breaking. For the victims of Jesse’s illegal and manipulative behaviour who have been left scarred by their experiences. Who for years no one listened to. Who were disbeleived by many because we’d rather our heroes remain heroes than face uncomfortable truths about the people we admire. Every time I listen to those words that used to bring so much comfort now I will be thinking about all of you. And while I am sad, while I feel like I’ve lost something which was important to me my feelings are nothing compared to what Jesse’s victims have been through. This isn’t my tragedy, it’s theirs.

This isn’t the first story of sexual misconduct and abuse of power that has come out this year, and it won’t be the last. To many of us these revelations are shocking but they shouldn’t be and I applaud anyone who speaks out about the abuse they have faced at the hands of others. I hope all victims have the support they need to heal and find peace. I hope they are believed. I hope that their bosses, their colleagues, their friends and family will stand beside them rather than look the other way or sweep the behaviour of abusers under the rug.

Ironically, Brand New’s lyrics are still describing almost perfectly how I feel about this situation.

“Feel the horror with no delay
We all see what once was beautiful has turned old and grey”

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2 Comments

  1. I understand that you wish to acknowledge the suffering of the victims of these acts, but I think that you yourself are also hurting because somebody you admired and whose work has had a massive impact on you, has been shown to be the perpetrator of some horrible acts. I identify because this has happened to me in the past, and also this weekend when it emerged that Louis CK has admitted to similar acts. I think you owe it to yourself to recognise what YOU are going through, and to see that this would not take away from the compassion that you feel towards the victims.

    Liked by 1 person

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