Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On good friends, penpals and Weezer songs


During my younger years I was quite shy and found making new friends a bit scary, but I loved writing and had quite a lot of penpals I wrote to over the years. Reading this post recently by Bee, who recently rekindled a friendship with a penpal she used to write to, made me think about the penpals I had over the years. They included a Welsh girl named Vanessa (met via the penpals page on Ceefax of all things), a Friends-obsessed boy named James (who I met up with once to see Alanis Morrisette!), an Irish girl called Karen who made me the most amazing mixtape (where i first heard Radiohead, heh). This was all in pre-internet days, and I still love to write letters to this day.

In the early days of the internet, around 1999 (hello AOL messenger!) I made three new friends, through a shared love of the same bands - namely Blur and Weezer! At the time I was on a Blur email-list, and it was through this that I first met Caroline and Gerdien, who I still consider good friends to this day.

Ooh look! ..Caroline on a trip to London

The first time I met Caroline we had arranged to meet and interview DJ Steve Lamacq, back in his Radio 1 days, for a slot we did on Kic FM (which stood for errr, 'kids in communication'!) It was a really fun day which kick-started a good friendship (and numerous trips to see Idlewild together..)

Me & Gerdien in Hyde Park, July '09

Gerdien lives in Holland and when she came over to London one summer I got the train down to meet her and her friend, and we had a fun day going around Camden Market and picking out records. I have been to stay with her and her boyfriend a couple of times now, and Gerdien also came over to see Blur play in Hyde Park a few years ago which was really fun!

Liz, Adam and me in Hamley's in London, 2005

Finally, I met my American friend Adam via a shared love of Weezer, and we used to swap letters and mix cd's which introduced me to lots of new music, from Of Montreal to the Postal Service. Tom and I visited Adam and his lovely wife Liz in their Chicago home a couple of years ago and had a great time exploring the city.

I am so grateful for all these friendships - which often bloomed through a love of music. Did you have any penpals when you were younger? Or meet any gig-going friends through a mutual love of Weezer?!
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4 comments

  1. This is such a lovely post, and that snow globe is precious!

    I met my first penpal in 1998 - through Ceefax, too! I've never met her in real life, though. We were meant to see the Manic Street Preachers together in Cardiff on NYE 1999, but I couldn't make it. I still have the ticket. We're friends on Facebook, so I'm glad we're still in touch. Through her (and the exchange of "friendship books") I met a few other Manics fans (spent a weekend with one in Birmingham, one came to stay with me, and another I met for a day in Cardiff) but haven't managed to track them down online.

    A lot of my "real life" friends now are people I met through the Muse message board in 2001. I've met up and travelled all over the UK with them - and also been to Italy, Holland, Ireland and Germany. Most of us aren't that into Muse anymore, so it's nice to know we had more to bond us than a band.

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    1. Ceefax seems quite popular for penpals it seems!

      So nice that you are still friends with people you met back in 2001! Music is such a great way to bond people.x

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  2. I feel like we're part of such a special generation where meeting people via ceefax, penpal exchanges, the back of Kerrang!, message boards before the internet got so murky... It makes me a little nostalgic but happy to have been a part of it, as I've met so many incredible people.
    I love this post and am very chuffed I inspired it!

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    1. I agree Bee! And thanks for inspiring me x

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