On Monday the 14th of September, at 10:14 my heart broke.
I logged into Facebook and saw a message from friend Clare, but before I had a chance to read it I'd already seen the image pop up on my screen. An announcement that my favourite band for over 10 years, Funeral for a Friend, were calling it a day.
I have been meaning to write about the band on here since I started this blog, I've had ideas swirling around in my head for over 2 years. Yet is has taken this announcement for me to finally sit down and type. The thing is sometimes a band isn't just a band, sometimes a band is such a large part of your life you feared the day this would come.
In 2003 I was 15, sat in a Science lesson trying to act cool. Listening to Blink 182 on my C.D player between lessons, a guy I had a huge crush on asked me what I was listening to, knocked my earbud out and announced it was time I listen to something better. The album he played me was the newly released Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation. I only heard a few seconds but as I fancied the guy I went out and bought the C.D with a few of my friends at the next opportunity. I have a distinct memory of putting it into my parents Hi-fi and blasting it as loud as possible. When I got to track Escape Artists Never Die I was hooked. I listened to that one track on repeat for ages before I continued with the rest of the album. It was official, I was obsessed.
As quickly as I could I was hunting out older E.P's in HMV, putting posters on my wall and buying every interview I could in Kerrang. By the time they played the Octagon in Sheffield my friends and I were bouncing with excitement. I still remember that gig so clearly. That was the first gig in so many, my music tastes are open and ever changing, but Funeral for a Friend remain my most watched band to date, and I doubt they will ever be topped. I have seen them all over the UK, from headlining festivals to Barrow in Furness of all places. I traveled to see them and every time I loved it. I can honestly say I have never been to a Funeral for a Friend gig I've not loved.
My love of the band can be split into two periods, the first one lasted until just after the release of Tales Don't Tell Themselves. I started a relationship that was very destructive and controlling. Once of the things he stopped me from doing was seeing live bands and he didn't like me listening to any band he deemed too attractive. I still listened to the old stuff but their other albums were banned. When we finally ended, going to see them live was a big part of the recovery. I remember the feelings of freedom and nostalgia as I watched them again, their album Conduit had just been released and I'd fallen in love again. I'd traveled to Nottingham dragging my friend Leigh along with me with a suspected collapsed lung. I was seriously ill, and yet I managed to forget it all when they played. I met the band for the first time after that show, but never could find the right words. From here on in I became a one woman marketing machine telling everyone I knew to listen to their new releases.
There are two recent gigs that really stand out for me. One I attended in Leeds last year, it was the anniversary tour for Hours and as soon as they started playing the first track, one I'd never heard live, I was in tears. I was alone and surrounded by groups of drunken lads and it was embarrassing. The second was the last gig I went to see. I saw one of my dreams com true, my favourite band played my favourite venue, Corporation in Sheffield. I am glad it's something I managed to tick off my wish list, it's one I never thought I would.
Other little moments such as sweat dripping from the roof in in a student union gig, and being front row at Download, helping me solidified some of my longest friendships, are things I can never forget.
When I got my first ipod I went out of my way to make sure Casually Dressed was the first album I added to it, and every subsequent ipod/iphone since I have kept up this tradition. This year when I got my first car, their latest album Chapter and Verse was the first C.D in there, and I've annoyed everyone to death in the past months playing it non-stop.
When I read the news I wasn't completely shocked. It was something I have been expecting for a while and had been warning my friends about the awful mood I would be in if it happened. When I read the news at work I went into practicality mode ok how do I get the money together to afford tickets for the farewell tour. A little later it really hit me. Honestly, I cried. At 27 and at work I cried over a band splitting up, I actually felt dizzy.
If this post had a full title it would be "Why I was never going to be ready for Funeral for a Friend ending, but I totally respect their decision and will enjoy their music for the rest of my life", but that's not as catchy. I can't afford it but I will be there at their final gig in London in April, and hopefully a couple more besides. I'm sad it's gone, but I am mostly glad it happened. Thank you guys. Thank you so much.