I became known as ‘Indie Dad’ when I was a mere thirty-something, back in the last decade of the last century. My younger work colleagues were amazed to discover that I liked the same music as they did – bands like Suede, Pulp and Blur.
Going back, I was old enough to have seen bands from the first wave of Indie, the likes of The Teardrop Explodes, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Mighty Wah! To the Indie Boys these bands were the stuff of legend, and sometimes they’d indulge me in rambling on about how great they were while we sat in the pub. Equally I’d find out about new bands they’d discovered, The Libertines being one of them.
So my colleagues were the Indie Boys and I was Indie Dad. This was despite several of them already being parents while, at the time, I wasn’t.
I didn’t attain ‘Real Dad’ status until 2000, when my first son, Michael, was born. By this time I was living in St Leonards and occasionally escaping my parenting and work responsibilities to go out with my friends Mike and Paul, both Indie Dads themselves.
Our Indie Dad nights out sometimes just involved sitting around in the FILO in Hastings until we got kicked out, but occasionally we’d make it to a gig.
The De La Warr Pavilion, in Bexhill, became a great venue for non-mainstream bands and we saw the likes of the Fall, Band of Horses and The Decemberists there.
Occasionally we’d get sufficiently organised to drive all the way to Brighton to see bands like Eels, Public Image Ltd and the Lemonheads. “Look! It’s Evan Dando! And – despite all he’s done to himself – he’s not dead!”
One of the great moments for any Indie Dad is when your own kids start to share your taste in music.
When Michael descended into the misery of his early teenage years I knocked on his bedroom door and gave him a bunch of CD’s by The Smiths.
An hour later he burst into the living room, misery overcome by exuberance. “How does this man know all about my life?” he asked, having heard Morrissey’s lyrics.
Michael grew into an aspiring guitarist, and soon came to appreciate that The Smiths’ unique brand of melancholy owed as much to Johnny Marr’s musicality as it did to Morrissey’s way with words.
So it was a great night when Johnny Marr came to Bexhill, and we headed off to see him play at the De La Warr. He performed a mix of excellent solo songs and a few Smiths classics, a whole room full of Indie Dads bellowing along with the latter.
Michael kept his eyes on Johnny’s guitar, watching and learning, an Indie Boy in the making.