A while ago I posted about my first albums and just how important they were to me in the years that I was beginning to appreciate the music beyond Now That’s What I Call Music! 40. It was fascinating for me, thinking back to how there really were select moments that made my tastes what they are today. In fact, it really is a testament with regards to what I do today, fifteen years on. I can’t resist bringing to the table a book that I found today whilst clearing out – the Smash Hits 2002 annual, which I got for Christmas 2001, aged 11.
It really is a sign of the times is you look at its cover. Shaggy. Steps. 5ive. Samantha Mumba. S Club 7 (when there was still a ‘7’). Atomic Kitten (best band name, to worst band ratio ever). Hear’Say (spawn of Popstars). Blue. Backstreet Boys. Destiny’s Child (remember them?). You get the idea.
So what was going through Nicholas Pollard’s mind at around this time? None of this was going to win me over apparently. On the first page, there were empty spots to fill in with one’s name, and to answer questions. Here were those answers.
First of all, to get it out of the way, ‘Nogli’ has been a nickname since ever. Special thanks to my father for that one, who can’t remember where it stems from, nor his nicknames assigned to his other spawn – ‘P’, ‘Bumpski’ and ‘Pud’.
My highlight of 2001 was apparently ‘finally’ seeing Linkin Park in the top ten with my song of the year, Linkin Park’s ‘In the End’. I was ecstatic enough that I can recall from memory where it ended up – number eight. This doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, considering that it was my first album (and therefore one of very few things that I listened to), and amidst my transition from primary to secondary school, there was a semi-conscious pursuit of coolness. I had a hoody with the album cover on it! Twice! £28 well spent. Subsequently, that puts the most successful boyband of the time at the very bottom of my list.
As far as I was concerned, Westlife were CRAP. Sorry… C**P. I was just coming to terms with how they got away with saying it on The Simpsons, before my bedtime. He he.
Notably, I had no ‘most delightful person’, presumably based upon either me not even wanting to tell a book who my crush was (for the record, I don’t remember), or just didn’t understand the question. Here’s where things get more interesting…
And so the ‘crap’ continues with the N*Sync vs Backstreet Boys question. Looking back, I’ll gladly listen to both out of nostalgia, but again, that just was not for me. And who is that in the next answer? Fred Durst? I had a real fixation on Limp Bizkit at the time – or rather two songs. I had a recording from Top of the Pops of ‘Rollin’ (which I listened to repeatedly), and ‘Hot Dog’. What was not to love about “if I say ‘fuck’ two more times, that’s forty-six ‘fucks’ in this fucked-up rhyme”. Considering how I went on to hand in a college assignment with seventy-seven uses of a certain C-word that ends with a ‘t’, this too left its mark.
The last three questions are a bit of a giggle, as at this point I was yet to have a ridiculous James May-style hairdo that to this day I haven’t controlled, grasped the concept of sex (the statement about non-existent trousers was a ‘tweenage’ attempt at a witticism rather than it even crossing my mind what was underneath. Those cheeses were chosen as they were what I always alternated between in my school lunchbox. Today, wensleydale with cranberries would own them all.
However, what interests me the most is my answer to the question on who I would like to meet. Besides Fred Durst and Linkin Park (neither of whom I have made it to as of yet), I state afterwards what I would go on to do as I entered adulthood, perhaps even then in pursuit of a career that placed me in the middle of the chaos of the music world (albeit it not being acknowledged much yet that it was an ‘industry’) – “or any star, even if I don’t like them”. There is no denying, that this is precisely where I have ended up today.
Just a cheesy (you know… Babybel, edam and strong cheddar) stream of thought that I couldn’t resist dumping here about following one’s dreams, even whether you aren’t conscious that you even are. Perhaps I’m luckier than I thought.