In my writing group this evening we had to create a new character by
1) Writing the first name of our childhood best friend
2) Writing the surname of someone we admired when we were younger
3) Writing a place we would never want to go to
4) Write the decade we were born in
And then the character was passed to the left and you had to write a story from that prompt, and then when you were done with that one you got the next character and had to integrate them.
So here is what I wrote (:
It’s kind of dumb but w/e haha
(so the first prompt I got was: Joanna Rolph; A Mortuary; 1980’s.)
'1980's Mortuary' were my favourite band when I was sixteen. They were a local band that never really took off, possibly because they copied everyone around at the time; more likely because they were talentless. The drummer, Neil was in the year above me at school, and I remember him flogging their tapes in the playground. The tapes were pretty pricey, but I think it was because it took them so long to make. They didn't have very much equipment, so they could only record one tape at a time; and rather than playing that one tape in a different player and recording from that, they used to play a fresh set for every fresh tape. Apparently it was so they didn't 'degrade their product'.
They really took their name to heart though, so most of their songs were about their heroes at the time visiting mortuaries. There was a great song about Adam Ant cracking open coffins so he could paint white stripes on all the corpses – and I don’t remember how ‘The Human League are Zombies’ went but I remember writing it on my school bag in felt pen.
We used to go to their concerts all the time in the grotty local round the corner, spending hours getting ready for the beer and sweat stained walls. It was worth it though – one evening, after I’d spent a great deal of time meticulously drawing lines on my cheeks in eyeliner, I was handed a moment that made me moderately famous for about a week in year eleven.
I was stood at the bar, 1980’s Mortuary had just finished their set, and the lead singer Mike strode up to me while I was trying to look cool.
“Neil tells me you’re called Joanna.”
I nodded so enthusiastically one of the bows came out of my hair.
“…Cool,” he said, and sauntered off.
I nearly cried I was so happy, and was asked about it over and over in school; so of course by the end of the week he’d told me how cool and pretty I was, and how he’d promised to write a song about me and would I like to sing with them.
It blew over pretty quickly like most things do in school. My bit of gossip was superseded by two girls in the year below getting into a fight and slapping each other; but I’ll always remember that brief week when I enjoyed the status of minor celebrity by proxy to all of year eleven and most of year ten.
* * *
The band had further drama though (that didn’t involve me). There was a lad in my year, Daniel Lee, notorious bully and general angry arsehole. I’m pretty sure he got someone pregnant pretty quick after leaving school and ended up in and out of prison.
Of course after a particularly arduous few days of him acting out, breaking noses, breaking arms, 1980’s Mortuary decided to write a song about how much they hated him and (surprise) thought he’d be better off in a mortuary. While the song itself would never win any awards, it was infectious and the whole school united against him, singing it at any opportunity.
The whole debacle ended in Daniel cornering Neil after school one day and trying to jam one of his tapes up his nose. We were in chaos, the band couldn’t play that night, but Daniel was so bulky no one dared take him on. Nevertheless we were furious with him and let him know at every opportunity, protected only by our sheer numbers. He had to move to a different school in the end because he kept beating kids up over it.
When I think about it now it was probably unfair of us to taunt him with it so often; but I suppose school is like that, people are happy to single out one person to save themselves from the gaze of collective ridicule.