PTL 10th Anniversary – Emily Strange/Optimum Impact

Darklove – How it all began:

Some time in May 2003, I was on holiday with the inlaws in deepest Wales. On one of those days, I was in a car between Aberystwyth and the back of beyond listening to Radio 1. Colin Murray was on, and he was talking about some band called The Darkness. ‘Funny name for a non-goth band’ I mused, listening to him enthuse about them, and the album launch party he’d been to. Dressed as pirates? Definitely not goths… The party sounded like good fun, and the band a set of nutters, so I listened with more than my usual  Radio 1 quota of attention.  A divine version of ‘Street Spirit’ ripped through the air. I knew that song inside out already, so I can say that it really was something else. It was a purer yet dirtier sounding version, soaring vocals that Thom Yorker never managed, somehow tinged with an innocence and simplicity that the original never had. My attention was caught. ‘Hmm… Will keep an eye out for them’ I thought.

The weeks after that were filled with the most boring exams related to Pensions and Finance that you could ever imagine. I missed the actual release of Permission To Land, which was on my 35th birthday. That year from then on was filled with one stressful and life changing event after another, but I found time to potter round the music channels. Ohh… Look, there’s that band. Excalibur guitars? Marshalls? WTF pink catsuit? And lo… another video, with stripes and crowds and a pink satin shirt.  I was definitely smiling and humming. Magazine articles appeared under my radar. And then… The video that captured everyone’s attention. I Believe In A Thing Called Love. I was entertained before, but never had I been so ensnared by a video’s silliness, charm, riffs and purple towelsmonster. THAT really was IT. I was a FAN.

One night, I had a dream that bizarrely involved the band standing by the canal in a Venice that looked suspiciously like Liverpool. The next day was spent googling for photos, and I came across the official website. And a forum. I joined. My first post was advising some girl that Justin’s teeth were perfectly ok as they were, and no, he did not need them fixed just because some Americans were obsessed with perfection… As I remember she was insinuating that he’d never make it over there because of them. Pfft. From then on, I haven’t failed to be a member of a Darkness related forum or community of some kind.

I didn’t get the album until the end of October – not my own copy, anyway. I’d heard it. I’d been singing it, and I have been ever since. My car had its own copy. I never have had a favourite track because they all have different ideas, injokes, reactions and emotions attached to them. When they’re played live, the sound, the crowd and the stage action all bring their own nuances to each track. They are changed and redefined in my experience of them, and become something more organic. There isn’t a single track I don’t love in some way. The joyous IBIATCL, the growling of Black Shuck, defiance of Stuck In A Rut and Givin Up. Anger, love, laughter, desperation, sadness and a great big two fingers up to whomever it may concern. I just loved it. The Darkness were clever, rock , funny and really didn’t give a shit. What’s not to like? Maybe quite possibly a certain bottom had a tiny part to play, but I wasn’t so smitten by it that I couldn’t see the brains and talent behind the marrying of word and note.

Permission To Land has changed my life. That sounds bloody stupid. It has! Here I am, ten years later, celebrating this anniversary. Nine years of that has been spent with this fanzine in my life, which led to other TD related projects and sites during the Darkless Ages. I’ve made friends and enemies, and had fun to last a few more lifetimes. I’ve even put my skirt on upside down in the back of a French taxi for the cause. Without The Darkness, I’d be truly still stuck in the rut I was in.

Thank you to them, to Colin Murray, and to all Darklings, everywhere.

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