Being one of the few people in America who actually knows who Alan Davies is, makes him even more special to me, like being part of an exclusive club. The kind you want to tell people about, but you don’t for fear it’ll get too popular and then it won’t be special anymore. But I couldn’t do a blog about music or books without mentioning this one. “My Favourite People & Me, (also titled “Teenage Revolution” to correspond with the equally excellent documentary) really connected with me. Alan and I may live in different countries, be different sexes and have a different net worth, but one thing I proudly share with him, is that we are both children of the 80’s.
This book was a time warp, a trip back to the best decade ever. If you were there you know what I mean, if you weren’t well, I’m very sorry for you then…you seriously missed out. Our choice of hairstyles may have been questionable but we really did have all the best bands. Some of which are mentioned in this book.
As a life long Anglophile, (that’s just a less creepy way of saying I’m obsessed with anything British) I was familiar with most of the names in this book. Those I didn’t know, I used this amazing thing called the internet and looked them up. We didn’t have the internet in the 80’s but we had Atari and MTV which was all one needed for survival back then. As I read through Alan’s book, I was constantly surprised by how many shared experiences we had. How was it possible for me to have so much in common with a rebellious teenage boy, that lived in a different country? What an amazing, bizarre thing to discover. But I did, and it made me remember the religious devotion unlike any other to the things and people that I swore a lifetime allegiance to, until I tossed them aside for the next things and people. Which, if I’m honest happened on a pretty regular basis.
This book inspired me so much I based a semester research paper on it. It was, without a doubt the most rewarding and enjoyable paper I’ve written. It also earned me an A, which I shared with Alan via Twitter.
Needless to say, this made every second I spent on this paper (and there were a lot of them) worth it. But, finding I had a lot in common with someone I admire, was even better. Unlike so many forgotten idols and passions, my life long love of England is something that has never waivered. The events and people Alan mentions in his book inspired me to dig a bit deeper into what was happening in Thatcherite Britain. This led me into discovering The Jam and the immensely talented, Paul Weller. It also gave me the opportunity to go back and rekindle my love of The Smiths.
The best thing I gained from this book was getting an idea of what it was like to actually grow up British and discover it wasn’t all that different from growing up American. I find that comforting. I can’t thank Alan enough for giving me this trip back. Next time I’ll have to remember to send myself a postcard.