There is a great line in Julian Barne’s The Sense of An Ending, “History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.” In life we narrate our personal history to new friends and share it with old friends.
I tell you this because two days ago I was explaining someone about the first time that I saw Pavement, at V Festival some 22 years ago. At the time, I was young and uneducated in the ways of music and I only went to the festival to see Blur headline. I have particularly strong memories of this day as I went to the festival by myself taking a coach and spending the day wandering around with 50,000 strangers, alone but happy. It was my first, real musical odyssey.
I’d heard one Pavement song (the sly, cutting ramble of Shady Lane which I had picked up on promo from a record fare) beforehand and was aware that Graham Coxon liked them so went to see what it was all about. They played in the summer sun and, unsurprisingly in hindsight, were considerably better than Space who came on afterwards.
Except that, that verifiable sources tell me this is not true. The V festival that I went to was actually two years later, which means I wasn’t young and uneducated in the ways of music. In fact, I’d already spent a year haunting the DJ booths at university, chasing new music and wanting to know everything about everything played in a now all-too familiar way.
Pavement wouldn’t have been a mystery to me. By this point Brighten The Corners adorned my CD collection like a badge of alternative slacker honour. It also means that there’s absolutely no way Space were at that music festival (thankfully) and it’s unlikely that it was my first musical odyssey, it’s just the one that I unclearly remember.
Still, it’s important to me because I fell in love with Pavement that day. Their loose idle, waywardness hiding a subtle brilliance in both song structure and lyrical wit. They lolled around the stage being magnificent and became the first band that I truly wanted to be in. I’d see them twice again after that but this was the moment.
So I’m blessed that tonight a number of excellent bands are gathering in Brighton to pay homage to Pavement. If you’re in the vicinity you should come down and check out Can Shaker Pi, Fur and The Geisha Girls. This is bound to be an evening of thrills, spills and serious musical joy.
In the meantime, join the discussion on the Skewed Quiff Facebook page where we’ll be sharing our top 3 Pavement tracks and talking to some of the bands about their favourite tracks.