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From Cool Dude to Sad Old Man

Humphreys looks forward to reliving his teenage days with The Stone Roses. -TNP
Neil Humphreys

Tue, Apr 17, 2012
The New Paper

Within moments of hearing the news this week, I became a teenager again.

The reunited Stone Roses will play at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on July 22.

As soon as I heard this piece of news, I grabbed the iPod, turned up their classic hit I Wanna Be Adored and jumped around the living room.

I then caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The grey hair provided the initial shock.

And the least said about the Indiana Jones boxer shorts, the better (I really must put more clothes on when the front door is open. Those grilles are wide, so is the flap on my boxer shorts).

I stared at the grey-haired man in the mirror.

I Wanna Be Adored?

More like I wanna be tucked up in bed by 10pm with a cup of warm Milo.

I had become that guy I'd mocked for years.

The uncle at the family wedding, shirt untucked, Tiger Beer dribbling down his chest, desperately trying to convince the kids that he can still moonwalk before tumbling backwards into the wedding cake.

I've long been fascinated by the tipping point.

That precise moment when Cool Dude getting down at Zouk becomes Sad Old Man leering at young women at Zouk (just me typing "getting down" is proof that I'm about as relevant as Vanilla Ice).


Along with Britpop bands Blur, Oasis and Pulp, the Stone Roses provided the soundtrack to my university years (which were spent in the Roses' hometown of Manchester).

I was an undergraduate when British music ruled the world for five minutes. These bands shared my working-class aspirations, gave housing estate kids like me hope and stole my women.

The last one actually happened on my 21st birthday.

After a Manchester gig, Blur decided on late-night drinks at the very club my friends and I had chosen to celebrate my birthday.

I was poor and had appalling dress sense. Blur were the biggest band in Britain and lead singer Damon Albarn was on every magazine cover in the country.

I'm sure it was a tough decision for all the single ladies.

As we made pitiful attempts to look good on the dance floor (think of Peter Crouch break-dancing), the girls around us abruptly vanished. Not one female remained.

Suddenly, dozens of self-conscious, teenage boys were dancing together. We had turned into a gay club. I know it was my birthday, but I wasn't feeling that liberal, not after two pints anyway.

When Blur arrived, the girls all ran over to the roped-off VIP area, where Damon Albarn and his bandmates picked out the most attractive girls.

The band's roadies picked the less attractive girls, leaving my male friends and I to dance alone to Y.M.C.A.

When I saw Blur again, performing this time at the old Singapore World Trade Centre in 1997, I noticed a middle-aged, grey-haired ang moh with a petite, deeply-tanned Singaporean girl with a high sarong slit (naturally).

He swayed from side to side with all the finesse of C-3PO waving to R2-D2.

He wore those pale blue, Status Quo-type jeans - the ones that the awful big hair rock bands wore in the 1980s. They were so tight you could count how much change he had in his pocket and see how excited he was with that high sarong slit.

If the tight jeans were any indication, the evening was going to be a bit of a letdown. And he didn't have much money in his pocket either.

The British guy only knew the words to one song - Blur's Song 2 - and even then, he just sang the "woo hoo" bits, gyrating his hips like Tom Jones in need of a hip replacement, and quite possibly Viagra if he had any intention of ending the night with more "woo hoos".

I suspect there was more chance of raising the Titanic (a nice topical reference there).

Among the ah bengs and ah lians, the mats and the minahs, the young expats and the backpackers, he stood out like a dozen guys on a male-only dance floor singing Dancing Queen (I'll never forgive Blur for ruining my 21st birthday).

I hadn't thought about that older ang moh in 15 years until I bumped into him this week. He was standing opposite me in my living room mirror singing I Wanna Be Adored.

But I don't care.

My teenage soul will drag my ageing body along to the Singapore Indoor Stadium on July 22 to hear The Stone Roses replay the soundtrack of my youth.

The grey hair will shine proudly in the spotlights.

But if I'm suddenly overcome with a desire to wear pale-blue, skin-tight jeans, my wife has been ordered to lock me inside the apartment and hide the keys.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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