The Rushes on Irvine Beach ’95

Oasis Ticket 1

The rushes. By 5 o’clock a melting film of amphetamine has settled via the base of my spine into the back of my skull. I slink against the fence perimeter watching the ticketless as they down more Frosty – every drop an affirmation they’ll stay beachside until post-encore and the drunk and ragged filter out. I lean with purpose, though I have none, in the everyday. A college dropout. A major disappointment. Waiting for another zero hour. My Levi’s snag in the rough of the fence, a rip to match the other leg, that one courtesy of a pill-fueled night in the Garage.

Today is a far cry from the street corner and the Side Walk. If it had been a Led Zeppelin gig twenty years ago, the indie boys, the uni chicks, the neds and the nedettes would’ve been pursuing variations of free sex, free drugs and priceless rock ‘n’ roll. In the nineties the procurement of an erection and a line is a seller’s market. Only the music is cheap.

The rushes years. Oasis, live at Irvine Beach. Wall to wall people, loose and vocal in Scottish layers. The Verve supporting. It’s a five hour extravaganza. That’s what I’m told after. Much has faded. And yet I remember every rush. I’m cruising with ‘Straight Pants,’ ‘Straighter Pants’ and a mangled bus ticket I must keep intact, or I’ll be swimming up the Clyde estuary to get home. Straight Pant’s mother won’t let me in their house – filthy gutties, cuss and socialism. Straight Pants wants to go travelling. She hints we’ll go together, yet she promises nothing. I know she knows I’m the only crazy person to take on the same adventure. She keeps me close, albeit pushes me away. She turns to Straighter as she doesn’t like me on rushes, my catatonic state. They block me out in the cold of their huddle. Straighter hisses at the travels, knowing I’ll never leave the Side Walk Crew. I’ll never let on that she’s dead right.

Straighter hates the crowds. Why the fuck come then? ‘Nedvilleness,’ she declares, ‘tcheuchter ones too.’ Imported from Dundee, Kirkcaldy and further up, tough guys preening in Weller haircuts and Adidas trackie tops, hyped to the point of spit. ‘Tinks,’ she calls them. East coast boys making the scene, loitering with amphetamine intent, a chib at the ready, hitting on the Ayrshire lassies.

I’m restless. For a bit of controversy I say, ‘Richard Ashcroft gives me orgasms.’ Straighter flinches like a spinster. I pretend am having a party in my knickers. Straight Pants shudders. ‘What is this?’ she says wiping my mud from her shoulder, ‘When Harry Met Sally, in a field?’ ‘Nah,’ I say, shaking more dirt down wind, ‘it’s Ain’t No Pleasin You. Chas and Dave.’

There’s a young crowd on the horizon. Still buying Stock, Aitken and pishin Waterman when Screamadelica came out. At school they would’ve been big fishes, tough-guy commandos of the playground. They look like pale rabbits in the headlamps, some about to whitey. Gallus isn’t as gallus doesn’t. They don’t stray near the big boys too soon. Standing back, assessing the duds, it’s not long before one of them is dared to ask if anyone’s selling speed wraps. They’ll be conned. Their first buzz, a baking soda headache.

I’m detached, disassociated from the Straights as Swamp Song recedes and Acquiesce kicks in. I don’t know what it is that makes me feel alive, I don’t know how to wake the things that sleep inside… Ashcroft may be orgasmic, but the Gallagher’s are tantric. Different in the altogether from the Barrowland, ’94, when they were in the ascendancy. Now perched on the zenith, they hold the disaffected in the palm of their callused hands.

It’s my moment, this very second. I slip to the inside pocket for another wrap, that in forty minutes will levitate me to a plain higher than the sun. The Straights bop co-joined in a two cider pint state of soberness. But this guy next to me is getting it. He winks, gurning a row of smashed non-teeth. A trackie foot soldier caught in the crossfire of Guigsy’s strident bass and Liam’s impenetrable warble. I’m not traffic, I am traffic. An unpretty segment of boomer youth in mosh formations, carving up turf under canvas. A fusion of locals, leftovers, shoe-gazers, attitude afficiandos, all sucked into the mesmeric sway of the Oasis magick.

I feel the Straights shimmy further from my spot in the crowd. I’m happy to watch them stray. Useless accessories to my mindset atop the devil’s shoulder. I’ll see them again soon, clique of the Side Walk, but I’ll never forgive as they pretend not to pity my bedraggled bod, down in the book as a narcotic freak of loserville. Briefly, for this moment in time that is Champagne Supernova, I transcend their undeviating rigidity and dance to the beat of my own drum. Where were you while we were getting high?

Filing out with Goo Goo G’Joobs ringing the dank coastal night, I realise I’ve become separated from my bus ticket. I head down the beachside alone, in search of some Frosty Jacks dregs, the perfect match for my last wrap. The rushes.

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