Paranoid Polaroids

"Why are you dancing when you could be alone?"

It's not their fault. Ladytron were only doing what bands are supposed to do. They released a single, 'Seventeen', which I promptly fell in love with, and an album, 'Light and Magic', which I rushed out to the shops to buy on its release date. Why, their tour even came near me, at a venue I knew well and at a time when I had the money to attend. It's only natural that I would go.

I didn't though. I've been wondering why.

My camera knows why, I think. Lately I've had the pathetic idea that I can make up for the empty mess that constitutes my life by, well, taking pictures. I've snapped everything, all in digital clarity, unless I've forgotten to adjust the setting in which case the world around me comes back out as an abstract curtain of fuzzy, magic colour - something much better than its 3-D actuality. But there's only so much of your environment that you can snap before it starts failing to replace a social life. And this problem becomes somewhat more bleak if you happen to be staying at a shitty little village in the North West of England, rather than, say, a bohemian playground and/or teeming cultural center.

Something somebody once told me keeps coming back to me too. "You're going to be very lonely one day." And my response."That's the point."

So Ladytron appear and this is where the whole thing starts to spiral into an irrational surge of anxiety. Like, hey, what a great opportunity this would be take pictures! And then I could e-mail them to loads of people, and arrange them on my desktop, and, and, and... Except I started worrying about the practicalities of the venture. Would I get knocked about down the front? Did people dance at a Ladytron gig? Would I be out of place? What if I wanted to dance about a bit, where would I put my camera? Not, you'll note, the pre-gig fan 'worries' of what songs they were gonna play, or what I would wear. Instead I was driving myself insane by worrying about what my urge to see the thing as a photo-opportunity meant.

I know what it's all about really. We're talking the sad end of the postmodern spectrum, where a record of an event replaces the event itself. I would've used the photos as an excuse, an apology, an explanation, a diversion. "Look, I have a life - I was at this gig! 'I-Was-Here'". It's the sort of thing Guy Debord would be having fits about, if he wasn't dead and all. But the fact I got so worried about it, even to the extent of purposely spending what money I had so I couldn't afford the train fare or the gig ticket, was what pisses me off and saddens me more than fucking words can say. The nearest I've read to anything similar was Kristen Hersh's assertion that when she had ideas for songs or lyrics, she needed to get them out of her and into music as soon as possible, otherwise she started suffering semi-or actual-psychotic episodes. If only I hadn't read about the gig until, like, a day or so before, when I wouldn't have had the time to piss about with meaningless worries. But I didn't, and so an opportunity appeared for me to sabotage once more my shambles of a life.

My camera remains inert on my desk, unfeeling and unknowing about the hassle it's caused me. 'Light and Magic' plays out repeatedly in my head, over and over and over. I still love it to death. I just wish I had something to do of a Friday night.

© 2002 Dee Dee