Tuesday, 15 December 2009
34. Shake A Fist, Hot Chip (2008)
One afternoon, I did it. I left the flat, took the bus to Bethnal Green, and took the tube to Wanstead. I'd been dreaming of Wanstead. Odd, really, because I'd never even been there. In these dreams, it was a little piece of heaven on a red square loop, a soft, grassy wonderland on the edges of the city, wiggling its nose at me at the end of the Central Line. Just close enough to town be lively, distant enough for escape. It called me, and I came.
On the double-decker, as the train doors hissed shut, as the cold Wanstead air swept me towards Starbucks and out again into the light, Hot Chip carried me, insistent and urgent. Shake Your Fist was my favourite track from Made In The Dark, and I remembering playing it four or five times on repeat as I walked, its rhythms pounding the streets like a jackhammer. It was a song about a person in a new strange environment – a festival, I'd guessed, not a twee London suburb, its visions shaped by psychedelic drugs rather than an Extra Shot Latte. As I whirred past the charity shops and estate agents and pubs, I realised what a strange song it was – Todd Rundgren popping up with a game in its middle, cowbells accompanying synth-noises that sounded like alien beings, someone shouting "argh!" as I sped towards Snaresbrook. As I tried to escape, it filled my ears with new, strange sounds.
And as I stood outside Judith Of Wanstead, a peculiar old ladies' clothes shop in the middle of the high street, I also realised how strange I was being. Wanstead wasn't for me, and I wasn't its keeper. I was a Hackney girl, as part of its playgrounds and park benches and Turkish grocers and community churches and swimming pools and Irish pubs and dirty bus stops as anyone else who had lived there for so many years. As the song pounded sense into me, I also realised I needed to escape from something else. New dreams made in the dark were one thing. New decisions made in the daytime, as the sun shone, were another entirely.