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Songs: Before I Was Cool

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I met an old friend in Paris
She laughed to see the change in me
Through years of beards and waistcoats, lennon specs and pubs
I changed my attitude and the way i looked, but

She knew me then, when we were at school
She knew me before i was cool

We talked of festivals and bands
Record contracts, reefers and a conference in France
But all she saw was a boy sat reading quietly on his own
Humming the tuneful ZX Spectrum loading tone, because

She knew me then, when we were at school
She knew me before i was cool

But does it matter anyway?
What matters is the man i am today
Not the boy that i was then
I may not be a superstar
I don't even know how to drive a car
But at least i have got friends

So i will put away the past
Because i can look back now and laugh
And though nostalgia trips with old friends are allowed
The best times of your life are the times you're living now, and though

I knew her then, when we were at school
I know her now, and that is cool

Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

This is a song I wrote when I was about 25, about how much I'd changed since I was 18... which makes it a bit weird to me, sitting here in the distant future of 2005 and looking back at a me looking back at a slightly younger version, and smiling with the WISDOM of AGE. This was originally on my cassette "A Church Hall Of Sound" and is one of MANY songs I wrote about how I felt I'd changed in recent years. I used to be a right miserable sod, which could well be why I didn't have many friends and didn't get to talk to girls very often, and so when I moved into my own flat in Leicester in 1994 I sat down with myself and had a good old THINK for a week or two. Now, if you hear me talk about this in the PUB, I will dramatise it as a MONTH spent MEDITATING in the ATTIC, reordering and retuning my BRANE and seeking COSMIC WISDOM, and though it wasn't quite like that (I went out to the pub occasionally), it really WAS a time of INNER CHANGE for me, as I decided that I'd try being happy instead, and see if I liked it.

Funnily enough, I did. Around this time, as mentioned in WORK'S ALL RIGHT (IF IT'S A PROPER JOB), I got to travel around a bit to conferences and things with my job. One conference was taking place just outside Paris - sounds EXCITING, I know, but in actuality it involved sitting in a classroom at 8am on a Sunday, hungover, to spend nine hours listening to people talking, in English as a second or third language, about MATHS. It was no fun, HOWEVER it did mean I got to meet up with an old friend of mine from School who had gone to live in Paris. We had a good old chat pretty much precisely as described in the song, although as you can probably guess I did make a bit of a nit of myself trying to show off.

Some things haven't changed... still, as with so many of these other songs, it's a bit odd looking back and seeing what a poor lonely little soul I was then. Talking to GIRLS was still quite a big deal to me, and I was still revelling in the fact that I had Actual Friends these days, as I'd felt that I'd not really had any whilst I was at school. Oh dear!

One small thing that always seems odd to me when hearing this song is that I changed some of the words whilst I was singing it - this actually happens quite often, as my mind WANDERS OFF and thinks about what the song's ABOUT, rather than the lyrics as written down, so in this case instead of singing "all she saw was a boy sat reading quietly on his own humming the tuneful ZX Spectrum loading tone" I should have sung "all she saw was a boy sat reading COMICS on his own quietly humming the tuneful ZX Spectrum loading tone" which sounds a bit better, I reckon. I didn't go back and do it because I was still a bit nervous being in the studio on my own, as I was when I recorded this version, but I wish I had.

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