It occurred to me this week that it's been 30 years since I've been to Peterborough. I only realized this because I'd read that it was 30 years ago this week that The Smiths "the Queen is Dead" album was released.
That week, we must have been finished school already, or had a day off in our exam schedule, we got into the car with my mom and dad, probably the green Buick Century, and took a little road trip together. I know we drove through Havelock, to Peterborough (to see the lift locks!) and eventually ended up in Oshawa. The Oshawa part is important. We went to the mall, the Oshawa Centre probably. My dad and my brother went to a movie and my mum and I shopped.
I don't remember much about what else I bought or looked at but I can recall, very clearly, clutching a copy of "The Queen Is Dead" in my hands for the drive home, anxiously, almost breathlessly, waiting to run to my room and put it on the turntable. That's right kids, this was 1986. Your choices at the store at that time were vinyl or cassette. I always chose vinyl for a couple of reasons. First of all, the artwork was always better and secondly, I had a turntable. I also could make a tape copy of the LP and listen to it on my walkman. How many times I listened to that album, hundreds probably. I loved the Smiths, so much, still do.
They really spoke to me and a year later, when I got my first apartment, the first poster I hung up in the living room of my brand new apartment was of them (I also had posters of Bruce Cockburn and the Communards in the bathroom but that's another post).
Everything about their lyrics resonated with me and there were only a couple of people amongst my wide circle of friends who even knew who they were, much less loved them like I did. I remember my mum telling me to "turn that down! he can't sing!!" - that always made me laugh. You could like his voice or not but the words were poetry, no argument. I spent a lot of time and probably too much money tracking down 12" singles and imported versions of albums I already had. There was no such thing as too much Morrissey and Marr for me. Even now, all these years later, I still keep The Smiths, and solo stuff by Morrissey and Johnny Marr in regular rotation. I never grow bored of them.
Admittedly, this week has been pretty rough for me, I'm feeling a lot better about things today and listening to Big Mouth Strikes Again, surprisingly, is helping.