Can I just say that I met my hero this evening.
After having possibly the greatest weekend ever at Glastonbury 2013, watching my favourite band headline the first night was such a big deal for me. Overall, the festival was out of control, absolutely amazing, but I’ll always be grateful to say that I was there for that gig. Only my 6th time seeing the band live and hopefully plenty more to come (EARLS COURT!).
Then I got official confirmation from a producer (who I interned for) saying that I can come and help out on Arctic Monkeys’ new video (take a guess, it’s obviously from AM). Working with and around them today was just ridiculous for me. I still can’t get my head around it now.
I’ve seen so many photos go up on tumblr of various fans with Turner himself, and I’m so fucking glad I can finally have one of my own. The sole inspiration for why I picked up the guitar, the guitars I choose to get, and the whole reason why music is up there with my passion for film.
Story behind this photo (from waxjacket):
I was round someones house when he was there and after talking to him for an hour i asked for a simple autograph and then he just got a Polaroid camera sat me down in front of the fire, gave me a bottle of famous grouse, picked up a box of chocolates and then sat down next to me he then signed the photo and i reluctantly had to leave. He was a very nice person not at all arrogant or obnoxious, his feet are very firmly on the ground.
Hello, there. First of all, I’m truly sorry if there are any typos in my text. English ain’t my first language (it’s Portuguese, by the way), but I’d like to share this since I don’t think anyone can fully understand the love I feel for this band, not even myself. Especially for one reason, which I’m going to tell now. It’s a love story and a ‘thank-you’ letter.
The first time I’ve heard something about “Arctic Monkeys” was from my hippie, lovely Geography teacher, in 8th grade, 2010. I didn’t care for it that much since I wasn’t properly introduced into their lyrics. The first Arctic Monkeys sound I’ve heard was “Old Yellow Bricks” and that mesmerized me completely, but I am really lazy when it comes to search for new bands and songs (I was quite into Paramore that time) and I just left it hanging there.
Somewhere in late 2011, I met a girl in a webgame and we started to chat a whole bunch. Although I wanted to have lots of “best friends forever” in my real life, I felt like I would never achieve this (and now I’ve come to realize that I don’t need ‘em!). However, I was starting to connect with her so much, that those friendship bounds weren’t virtual anymore. Then she showed me more and more lyrics and I was like, oh my god this can’t be real. I’m not going into full details of my feelings for them because that would be totally awkward for me. I’m such a shy mess.
Then something weird started to happen. Every single time I heard one of their songs, I started to remember her. About everything. Our friendship. Our feelings. Our laughs. Our stories. I just can relate it. Everytime I heard, like, ‘505’, I used to think “wow, that’s her favorite song!” or “Suck It and See”, when I started to see pictures of a future life together, or when I heard Alex Turner covering Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” and felt like I was being left on the sidewalk, alone without her. Or how we used to have HOURS AND HOURS of discussion about that band. Of course, I realized that it became our favorite band, but I then started to fall in love with her.
It’s not really a story related to Whatever People Say I Am, but meh. I’ll share it anyway because it’s a bit special for me. Maybe I’ll get a bit emotional and everyone will probably think it’s a very silly thing, but yeah. (It’s also gonna be long, sorry)
Really, I should call this story as "Alex Turner was basically the bridge that connected me to my dad again"
I’m emotional but I don’t actually know how to write, so this is probably just going to end up sounding really dumb and cliché, but WPSIATWIN was one of those albums that changed how I listened to music. Like, to me, there are two kinds of albums. First, there are the albums that you listen to and take in the different elements of and maybe even appreciate on that level: “That’s a good line!” “The lyrics aren’t that great, but listen to that riff!” “Okay, they probably could’ve cut that song.”
And then there are albums you listen to and they come alive, like some person that you feel driven to understand, and you can’t really take them apart and rate them for those elements, because the way they work together makes something you feel is greater than the parts. So catchy, energetic songs are what drew me in and made me give it a chance initially, but WPSIATWIN eventually became the first album with a voice I could really connect to and the first album that opened me up to what an album could really be; it was human.
You had songs like From the Ritz to the Rubble that perfectly described the small troubles of life like any person living in the moment actually would, as if they were the trials of some great epic. But at the same time, there was this even deeper sense of self-awareness to the fact that that was a bit ridiculous and that sort of prevented it from being coldly pretentious or cynical, even in the more critical songs. And for all the words, there was also this simplicity to it, songs like Riot Van that could say the most in almost the same emotional subtext that actually made moments like that seem important. The music then complimented that by approaching like something big and simple, but also hiding all of these subtleties. And all of it built up to A Certain Romance, which stated this message that, in different ways, all of those songs had worked towards: denying where you come from or the pointless, superficial parts of the culture you come from, or even how those things have come to affect you, isn’t really what makes you a better person; what makes you a better person is acknowledging those things and being able to take them for their value.
And as the kind of pretentious escapist I’m still working on trying not to be, that was kind of an important message. But honestly, if I had to say what impact of listening to WPSIATWIN I’m most grateful for, it’s everything I’ve found in looking for other albums that could speak to me in that way.
Oh wow let’s get emotional then. Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I Am Not was the first CD I listened of them even tho it was back in 2011 when Suck It And See was about to be released, but I like getting into bands in order. So I listened of the Monkeys for the first time in 2009 in my English book, and I was like uhm I should check them but I totally forgot. It was after a year being on Tumblr that I saw a post around here about them and my memories came back and I gave them a try, and that was the day my life ended. I basically fell in love at the second. It’s so energetic, so noisy and so youthful, just as I was and am. I was like 4 months listening to the CD on repeat, just that one, until my best friend’s bands played Teddy Picker at one of their little gigs and he pushed me to listen the other albums. But WPSIAMTWIN will always be perfect to me, because it was the beginning, my beginning, their beginning, and those things are always meant to keep inside as a good memory, aren’t they? Beginnings are always wonderful.
The first time I heard Whatever people say I am was right after I saw the band performing mardy bum on french TV. I thought, these guys look cool, and went and bought the album. And fell in love with it. I remember when I was 15 I had mardy bum as my phone ringtone and thought about that line in a certain romance “there’s only music so that there’s new ringtones”. I thought I was really cool cuz not many people in my school at that time knew about the monkeys. After that they’ve stuck with me for every big and important event in my life, and even for every not big and not important moment in my life. As of now I can’t go through a single day without listening to them and I’m pretty sure it will be the case until the end of my life.
I feel like this is the only place on the whole wide tinterweb where I can share my story and actually feel good about doing so.
Anyway, the first time I saw the four most beautiful boys in the world was in 2009 in Birmingham, a couple months after Humbug had been released. I must of been 14 or 15, can’t be bothered to work it out. Anyway, I was watching a band I was completely obsessed with and, quite frankly, they were wank. Didn’t seem like they wanted to be there at all and had absolutely no intention of doing anything but playing their songs and leaving, no hint of emotion whatsoever. This really broke my heart (I know, firstworldproblems and all that) and I struggled to find the love that was once there for the band that had really turned my world upside down. They weren’t just a band, they were my band. As the next couple of years passed, I still listened to them every day, fell in and out of love with Humbug constantly, admired Whatever.. and never ever lost touch with FWN. I still, however, never recovered from the heartbreak of seeing them so bored and static on stage. Then came brick by brick. At first, as with everyone, I convinced myself that this wasn’t them, they were joking of course. Then i started to love it, completely love it, to the point of playing it over 50 times a day and I thought that maybe, my love would again return. I recorded the radio first play of Don’t sit Down on Zane Lowe’s show and was completely over the moon. They’d moved on from Humbug and they were back. Weeks passed, Suck it and See was announced and, in turn, so was Don Valley. And fuck, if Don Valley wasn’t the best night of my life then I don’t know what was. I lost my shoes, gained another pair and lost another, all before The Vaccines had came on stage. I felt like I was at home, the atmosphere of thousands of other monkeys fans, all in euphoria, waiting for them to come on stage. I was a bit nervous though, I have to admit. Would we have a repeat of Birmingham? Thankfully, no. No we would not. The first hard hitting power chords of The View From The Afternoon crashed out of Alex and Jamie’s guitars and I knew then, that I had reached the best day of my adolescent life. The whole place erupted in to a violent but nevertheless fun loving orgy of sweaty bodies and happiness. I was at home. These were my people. We were all brothers and sisters for the night. No aggro, no hate, just love for, in mine and I’m sure so many other people on this blog’s opinion, the best band there is, was and ever will be.
The last chord rang of a certain romance and the night was over, I left, along with a pair of Nike high tops (in exchange for some knackered converse, incidently) a head of hair full of piss, booze and sweat and 15 of my friends who I hadn’t seen for well over 5 hours after first entering the bowl.
I’ve seen them twice since, at V festival, where I understood why they didn’t feel it when a pissed up 24 year old skinhead started screaming “PLAY THE ONE ABOUT A DANCEFLOOR YOU TWAT” during a lovely rendition of black treacle. This wasn’t their stomping ground, the monkeys had entered the wrong den, and were getting abused for it. Of course, I stayed until the end, to see them off properly along with about 40 (seriously, about this many) true monkeys fans in the area, the rest just coming for the weekend to see Eminem.
This brings me to my final paragraph. the LG Arena in Birmingham, the end of last year. Alex Turner powerslided. ALEX TURNER! POWERSLIDED! I couldn’t believe my eyes, he was running about the stage! A complete turn around of the Alex I saw two years ago, with extremely long hair, a trench coat and a moody attitude and looks to kill. I would say this was the second best night of my life.
There you have it, my life with Arctic Monkeys. I love this band, I love this blog (which I check multiple times a day, for any news on album number five or, hopefully, what Helders mum has had for tea!) and I love every last bit of this band, covering my whole bedroom with pictures of them and purchasing a painful amount of memorabilia, including a suck it and see zippo, which I am shit scared to use!
Thankyou, Jan. Thankyou for hosting such a beautiful and loving community for the best fans in the world.
YORKSHIRE, YORKSHIRE, YORKSHIRE!
No, thank you - for this, for reminding me why I do this, why I love this band. This is too good. :)
Submitted by: mypropellerr
I didn’t like Arctic Monkeys when I heard them at first, but then I heard ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ and I couldn’t stop listening to them…that’s how my love for Arctic Monkeys began. It’s not an interesting story…what is interesting is when I saw them live. I nearly died when I knew that they would come to Mexico and even more because the gig was scheduled on my birthday. I asked my parents for the airplane (they didn’t play in my city) and concert tickets as a present and they agreed.
I skipped school so I could fly early to be up front in the line. My excitement was so big that I didn’t eat much for breakfast and skipped lunch. My cousin and I arrived at 1pm and stayed in line ‘till they opened the doors, we ran so we could be in front of Alex’s spot. We didn’t reach our goal, but we started pushing until we got to the second line. I struggled a lot, because I’m too short. I remember that I had to turn my face up to breathe, everyone was way taller than me, I was surrounded by shoulders. People were pretty nice and they helped me get through, but this two really tall guys wouldn’t let me. I understood, I wouldn’t gave up that spot in a million years.
This is when I regretted not eating my whole breakfast…I started feeling dizzy and some guys made space for me to breathe, then I started struggling and they tried to carry me, but I wouldn’t let them. I remember thinking to myself, ‘You have to stay, be strong, you can do this, it’s Arctic-fucking-Monkeys.’ I regained strength and stayed, but 30 seconds later my body gave up on me and I fainted. The gig hadn’t even started and I blacked out, my cousin told me that they carried me through the crowds ‘till I got to the end. I woke up on the floor without a shoe and crawled to the nearest food stand, I threw 10 dollars at the guy and bought some water and chips. I felt way better after that, but it was too late. I couldn’t get through the crowd anymore, so I enjoyed the concert in the back. It was cool and all, I danced and sang, but I don’t think it’s the same, I couldn’t see a thing.
Well, that’s my sad story haha
Aww, no. :(
Golden rule before going to a gig: eat. Almost the exact same thing happened to a friend of mine, oof.
Submitted by: Hannah
Sorry, I don’t know if you’re still accepting stories or not, but here’s mine :)
I got into the Arctic Monkeys around October last year, a few months into my freshman year of high school. My brother listens to much cooler music than I do, and we were driving somewhere and “Fluorescent Adolescent” came on his iPod. After that, no other band could compare to them; I was obsessed. They were literally the only band I listened to for weeks, and I tried to get all of my One Direction-loving friends to be obsessed with them, too (that was a lost battle before I started it, though).
Then, a few months later, my dad left out-of-the-blue on Christmas Day and we found out he was dying through a mutual friend a few weeks after that. Long story short, that basically destroyed my family, my mom especially. That night, I was lying in bed listening to my iPod when “Piledriver Waltz” came on, and suddenly I started sobbing. I don’t know what exactly the real meaning of the song is supposed to be, but in that second, I could relate to it so well. I ended up listening to it on repeat until I fell asleep, and for the next few weeks, whenever I felt really upset or alone I would play the Arctic Monkeys and I would always end up forgetting whatever it was I was crying about in the first place once the guitar solos came on.
So, long story short (again), they’ll always be special to me because they really, truly did help me get through a really dark time in my life. I know people say that about bands all the time, but I will be forever grateful for a) making freaking amazing music and b) helping me, and others, get through whatever it is they may be going through. And, yes, I realize how cheesy everything I just said is.
(And thank you for running this blog! :])
FYAM: Smiling/sobbing here. Also, I’m always accepting stories so if you have something to share, feel free to do so. x
“You are the only true magician, for all your songs are spells.”
- This was taken from a page of
poetrystuff I wrote after my first Arctic Monkeys gig. Here is why I wrote it.
Part 1: The History
I was at dinner with friends during my first year of University. I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor was playing faintly enough to inspire Brian (fitting, right?) to remark on the greatness of the Arctic Monkeys, yet not loud enough for me to actually hear. My impression was skepticism given the rubbish band name.
Nevertheless, I went home and downloaded the song (because I look smoking hot on the dancefloor). Unbeknownst to me, it was a mislabeled, poorly pirated version of Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts. As a bit of a timid anti-vixen, I appreciated the sentiment and how the singer’s delivery brought it to life. I also loved that there was no mention of dancing in the lyrics themselves; the title was only vaguely linked to the female subject, as thought the singer could only imagine what she’d look like on the dancefloor as he’d never be able to take her out.
Although this was a giant misunderstanding, it evokes a sense of how the monkeys write and deliver their stories. My analysis was incorrect due to misinformation; however my impression of their style was humorously accurate.
Years later, I discovered Crying Lightening on satellite radio. I downloaded the album for the single, which I proceeded to listen to on repeat ignoring the additional songs. Shortly thereafter, I moved to England for a term, blissfully unaware of the band I should have been stalking.
Cue the passage of time: adventures, misadventures, new music… The Arctic Monkeys were forgotten. Then, quite suddenly, things changed. My dad burned me a summer alt rock mix. Track 1: I Bet That You Look Good On the Dancefloor. The real version. I suddenly understood the fanfare.
Part 2: The Concert
That same summer, I’d been seeing a handsome, electro-loving man who’d gotten me hooked on Chromeo. I was online buying concert tickets and noticed The Arctic Monkeys were playing for the first time in my city at a small, local venue. At $30, I could hardly resist checking them out.
I’d planned to attend with some girls from University, only to learn the night of that they hadn’t actually purchased tickets. That was discouraging. I felt uncomfortable attending alone; I’d never done so before. All my excitement and anticipation was replaced by disappointment and anxiety.
I took my time getting ready: black dress and boots. My concert purse had met an unfortunate gum-related end. The most suitable replacement my closet would yield was a little black clutch. I sometimes wonder if the band noticed the girliest of purses floating around in a sea of hands. Perhaps that’s not even strange to them; I’m sure it’s happened before.
I showed up, but got rather lost trying to find the venue (shout out to friendly strangers for giving me directions). Eventually I found the entrance, mingled in with the crowd, and waited.
They walked on stage to Hot Chocolate’s, You Sexy Thing and I immediately knew they were special. They had a sense of humor that I got. I was in for a treat.
Then they began to play and I was overcome. I couldn’t make out much of what they were singing, but there was a realness and passion behind it. It was clear that these were their songs; experiences that they lived and owned. They were a band with integrity and depth.
Instead of feeling lost and lonely, I felt alive. Alone, there were no distractions: just me amongst hundreds of unknown faces. The concert was mine to enjoy however I wanted. It felt so intimate, just me and the Monkeys.
I naturally migrated midfloor, placing myself directly in front of Alex. I didn’t even notice how attractive he was. I was too overwhelmed. I did, however, appreciate his hair. The large rockabilly chunk of my soul kept exclaiming, “He has rockabilly hair! Finally! A man with rockabilly hair! This band could not be more perfect! They could not be more cool! I hope it catches on…”
The set list was amazing, though I had no appreciation of it at the time:
Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
The View from the Afternoon
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
All My Own Stunts This House is a Circus
Still Take You Home
Brick by Brick
When the Sun Goes Down
Do Me a Favour
Suck It and See
I spent most of the night just staring in awe. I knew three songs, so I couldn’t even sing along. But the concert transcended that. It was music that I could feel and understand.
I felt inspired and alive to a degree I hadn’t felt for ages. It lasted for months and though it’s calmed now, the resultant changes have not.
I realized that I’d stopped creating my own art. I resolved to write again. To draw. Soon I’m planning a return to painting. I started Tallulah Lost at the beginning of the year and made a bucket list.
I continue to love the Arctic Monkeys. I enjoy delving into the music, the lyrics, moving from one favourite song to another as I take the time to fall in love with each in turn.
I also love the fanbase—all the crazies who live and breathe the Sheffield lads as I do. That band has changed so many lives in large and small ways. Let’s all go to concerts and celebrate life with its greatest band.
The Arctic Monkeys. Life’s greatest band. Sounds good to me.
With everyone sharing their stories in regards to the release of Suck It And See, I wanted to chime in as well. Mine isn’t about the release of the album however, because let’s face it: There is no such thing as a releasedate anymore. Kids saving their weekly allowance and lining up in front of a recordstore to buy the long-awaited album they’ve only read snippets about in the NME is a romanticised image from a few decades ago. Surely there are people decent enough to actually wait, but somehow the fact that others have listened to the album weeks before you and discussed every fragment of it on online boards, makes it a bit less special.
I’d like to talk about something else that happened that week. Something, oh blasphemy, that is far more special than the release of an album. Their hometown gigs. Everyone reading this will know straight away what I am talking about, and even if you weren’t there, the dates (10th and 11th June) will flash through your head. Which says it all, really. I’ve got Suck It And See lying here right in front of me in several formats (Arctic Monkeys collectors have a tendency to be slightly obsessive) and I can listen to it at all times. Of course there are certain songs or hell, even short fragments that take me back to a certain place or person. And surely, I admit, there is something special about the first listen. But there still is something special about listening to it right now, or listening to it tomorrow. Which says of course a lot about the quality of this record, but also that an album is sort of a long enduring process that never ends.
A concert is a completely different world: It’s a slowly anticipating build-up to an ultimate climax and an inevitable downfall after that. Luckily the Arctic Monkeys realise their fans are slightly obsessive (I much prefer the term dedicated, by the way) and arranged two climaxes for us, changing one great evening into an epic weekend. The months before, the fans had been discussing the setlist, the atmosphere, the venue, you name it. And whereas there is some excitement in that, the real excitement came for me when I saw the photo of the venue, a great looking tent in a field. Words can’t describe how ecstatic I was upon seeing that (but yet here I am, trying. How silly of me). In a very similar yet opposite way I was completely devastated when on the day after, I saw a photo of the tent being broken down. I obviously knew the weekend was over, but seeing it so visually like that was something I didn’t quite longed for. I still don’t.
Read on through, my friends…
When I first read this, I thought… hey, this sounds familiar. And then I realized he was talking about our shared experience; he was talking about our little circle. To me, AVL will always be remembered as the guy (or the boss?) who ditched his maths exam, traveled from mainland Europe to this hilly town north of England, had the time of his life, and the person I’ll always remember when Miles Kane’s Come Closer comes on the radio.
If you will accept overly emotional stories, here’s mine:
The reason why SIAS is so special to me is because it turned me into a real fan of AM. I had heard them before and I liked a couple songs, but nothing beyond this. In the beginning of last year I was listening the TV and heard “Don’t Sit Down” and all I wanted was to know what band was that; I listened to that song on repeat for like 2 months (everyday, all day long). When I first listened to the whole album I was like “REALLY? Are they this great?” and it suddenly changed something for me. I had been missing that, and I didn’t even knew it, if it makes any sense. But when I heard that album it was like in the movies, that divine moment when you go “oh!” and there’s a light shining over your head and you know everything will be different from that moment on. This is not something that’s happened to me very often, and I just can’t describe it. Suddenly this 4 guys who live on the other side of the world and don’t even know about my existence matter so much to me and, somehow, their songs make me feel like they were written (exclusivelly) for and about me. I cannot put in words how huge this feeling is and what these songs and these people mean to me. And I better end this right here before I start trying to do that.
I had only got into Arctic Monkeys in October 2011. I downloaded WPSIAM and FWN and immediately fell in love. I downloaded Humbug and SIAS a month after declaring AM my new favorite band. At first, I was a little disappointed. Of course being a new fan, I was high on their loud, fast punky sound. But after giving both Humbug and SIAS a fair chance over the next month or two, they soon became amazing editions to the AM discography. What makes AM so great is their variety and diversity in their sound over the years, yet staying true to what captured you as a fan since the beginning. They never give you the same thing twice and their creativity has yet to slow down. SIAS is proof that this is true. In the course of 3 months, I put AM ahead of bands I’ve been listening to since I was a kid, their music has been that powerful. I still can’t stop listening to them, constantly coming across b-sides keeps things fresh. I always have to come back to AM after listening to another band for a while.
As far as SIAS goes, I started to appreciate the change of pace the album provided, over time. I began to pay attention to the details that made the songs great. The poppy style of the songs started to click with me. At the same time, I was rallying back from heartbreak and my now-girlfriend started to want me back (After WPSIAM and FWN helped me vent out previous frustration). And So, I always imagined laying in bed with her at night, listening to songs like Suck It and See, Reckless Serenade, Love Is A Laserquest and Piledriver Waltz. That soon became a reality.
It’s like Alex, Jaime, Matt and Nick were there with me the whole time, cheering me on or understanding how I’ve felt. Like I said SIAS is a great edition to their already amazing discography, they are legends and they’re only in their mid 20’s.
I bought the record on June 12th, three days before my birthday.
I always buy my records in the same store, so since the release of SIAS I called EVERYDAY asking if they had it already. Finally that day, the boy told me “yeah I’m receiving the box right now”. “I’m on my way” I said. Actually, I was on my way… to uni. But I couldn’t wait one more day, so I went to the store and bought it.
I was the first person in my city to get it. I know that because we only have three decent record stores here, and the other two didn’t have it until a few days later.
I bought it and went to class (I was late, of course). I didn’t even listen to the professor, I was just looking at the clock every two minutes.
The only song I’ve heard before buying it was Brick By Brick. When the album leaked I wasn’t really very interested on listening to other songs, because I wanted to listen to the full album, and legally.
I came home, went to my room and put the album. It was amazing, I immediately fell in love. It’s always the same with this band. Everytime I listen to them I get that feeling like I’m falling in love… It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve listened to the same song, it keeps happening. Everytime is like the first time, like I’m rediscovering them you know…
Suck it and See it’s a great record, not my favorite, but still amazing. It has that summer vibe, it puts you in a good mood.. it always cheers me up.
What can I say? I love these boys, and I could say this record has a special meaning in my life, because when it came out I was going through a very bad situation. I needed something to take my to another place. And nothing better than music for that. For a month it was the only thing I listened. I just put the album on repeat, forgetting about everything. It really helped actually. I think it was because I could find a bit of myself in some of the songs.
Okay this is getting too long and my english it’s pretty bad so I’m going to stop right here, even though there are a lot of other things I could say about this record.