It always amazes me how long it takes before I remember what I
need. I wish I could stumble out onto a cobbled street in the middle of a downpour.
But I'm in a city that grew up too quickly, a child star of a place. It doesn't rain
here. And it's taken me hours since I first started crying to realize where to go.
Aztec Camera is not a fair weather friend. And in a place where the weather is fair
to the point of foulness, that's my salvation. That's what I need -- to feel my pain
ring back in my ears, sung beautiful by someone who knows (though quite how, I've
never understood). Because when I've really had it, when I'm really lost, when
everything I've been taught to say to myself to make it all better fails, I take
it to Roddy.
When I was fifteen, I wrote this in my diary: "Roddy Frame is a creature of another,
more perfect world." Now, I may be less melodramatic these days, but I suppose that
still pretty much says it all. Every now and then, the walls cave in around me and
the only thing that consistently lifts me above the rubble high enough to get a good
look around is Roddy's music.
You change a lot in a decade. You cut your hair, you grow your hair. You kiss the
wrong people, you kiss the right people. You meet and lose the one who got away.
You argue with yourself, forgive yourself, and move on. And if one thing, one single
thing, stays with you through all of it, never faltering, never seeming dated or
trite or foolish or staid, then you'd better keep it pretty close.
That's what I do with Aztec Camera. I take it everywhere with me. A seaside town in
the off-season, mist so heavy it swallows the air, the beach gray and deserted of
tourists -- that's "Walk Out to Winter" for me. Blissful, exited insomnia on a friend's
couch in my hometown (perhaps not coincidentally, a dead steel city) sounds like
"Killermont Street." The smallest place of consequence on the Eastern side of a
Western state, a tiny room in a North London flat, even here as I type this -- Aztec
Camera has been with me.
Now, I do let Roddy go for a while. I tuck him safely away and go about the business
of life, getting lost in its shuffle, listening to other things, listening to nothing.
But I don't think I've gone a day since I first heard the first note of "Oblivious"
without thinking about his music and how much sense it makes when everything else seems
When Roddy sings "you don't have to tell me what you're still looking for," I believe
him. I don't have to tell him because he just knows. And somehow, miraculously, without
even being there, he pours it over me like, well, like that rain I've been waiting for.
I think Roddy Frame could turn the desert green.