I loved this band. They soundtracked my drunken despair, infatuation buoyed by delusion and brought down by the thought that however bad you feel now, tomorrow’s worse.
The Popguns were obviously in love with The Wedding Present. The Popguns obviously grew up on The Smiths. But their music was always a little too desperate to connect with all the cute indie kids out there. It wasn’t polite at all. (In terms of temperance, it was fucking heavy metal.) You could taste the bitter sea air of all those lonely walks home at 3am. Wendy had a real edge to her voice, the guitars were almost frantic in their determination to prove they amounted to less than the sum of their influences. It’s probably no coincidence I first encountered The Popguns around the time I moved to Brighton: after years of searching I finally had a place I could call home, with all the bitter aftertastes that involved. Nothing special to anyone who came from outside perhaps, but they were to me.
They really were.
So frantic. So futile. Their guitarists masked it all under a welter of jangle. They thought they were Sonic Youth or someone. (They weren’t. They really weren’t.) That self-delusion was one of the reasons I loved them so. The messiness of their music (when it could all have been so straightforward) so reflected the messiness of my life (when it all could have been so straightforward). They tried so hard. They could’ve been The School, easy. (If they’d been Australian, they would have been Even As We Speak or someone.) Wendy’s voice was so plaintive, so pleading. She always seemed rather embarrassed by my fanboy love for her band, perhaps reading into it something more sinister. I can’t say I blame her.
Nostalgia caught up with knowledge of a time when I really wasn’t somebody despite loads of people thinking I was.