There were no virgins at my senior school. Everyone had ‘done it’ with various girls too many times to count. “You a virgin?” was the question everyone dreaded back then, and woe betide you if you didn’t have a decent answer. My story was that I’d had it away with a girl I met in Tenerife, something along those lines at any rate. You’d be surprised how many of the boys in my class had done the deed with untraceable girls. We must have known almost all of us were lying. Peer pressure and all that I suppose.
Rewind to the summer of ’88, my then girlfriend Emma, had graciously offered to rid the fifteen year-old me of the weight I was carrying. It’d been decided the day before, no spur of the moment romantic gestures here. Her mum was out and wouldn’t be back until later that afternoon, so we had our window of opportunity.
With beating heart I made my way over to her narrow house. She led me up the badly decorated stairs, past the bathroom, past her mum’s room and into her bedroom. Truth be told I don’t remember much about the whole thing. What I do remember is that was the summer I’d decided to stop wearing socks, the reason behind that decision is lost to the sands of time, but the result was that my feet smelt awful. All of which meant that when we made the beast with two backs I kept my trainers on. Youth and romance very rarely walk hand in hand.
Anyway before getting it on Emma pressed play on her tiny white plastic cassette player and the room filled with the opening piano riff to Changes. By Kooks it was all over. Emma disappeared off to the bathroom leaving me to lie back on her bed, my head white hot with everything that had just happened.
That’s when I heard Quicksand for the first time. It made an instant impression, the lyrics sounded like gibberish at first, but like Dylan, were sung with enough conviction to make me realise that there was something more going on, some sort of message, a puzzle to be solved. One I’ve been trying to decipher ever since.