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fantastical fanaticals

LAST year's therapeutic dose of Paul Noonan was rudely interrupted by the arrival of Hurricane Bawbag (or Hurricane Friedhelm, to give it its official meteorological moniker).

While police warned of falling masonry and escaped trampolines hurtling roundly, Bell X1, the band of which Noonan is singer and percussionist (both idiophone and membranophone), called off their gig. In an heroic display of self-restraint I sat tight as the Irishman Facebooked a photo of the band sitting in a deserted King Tut's – even though it is kissing distance from Herald Towers. I sat tight and wore my saddest face. Then I went outside to see the roof fly off Cineworld. Truly it was an eventful evening.

Last night Janet, my childhood friend, spent the last three hours of her 20s strong-armed to King Tut's to watch Bell X1 return to Glasgow after the hurricane call-off. It was a sacrifice but she's some gal.

Doesn't everyone have an album or a band that means a certain something to them at a certain time? Eels, for example, saw me through teenage angst and kidney operations. I can't hear Daisies of the Galaxy without feeling a certain swell of gratitude. It's funny how some stranger can have such a presence in your life, such unrequited meaning.

Bell X1 are the band of my 20s. Your 20s are an emotional minefield, a battle without clear rules of engagement and many, many warring armies, all of which can be broken down into two camps: you and everyone else. Exams, fractious bosses, dead parents, disloyal friends, nut-job boyfriends and uncertainty in among all the fun. For a while I went to many gigs, even some abroad, and made a clown of myself. The fervour has since dulled to a warm fondness but the damage is done. I'd hide if I saw them in the street and I'd hate to be spotted at a gig, the cringe is too overwhelming.

But even my friends have a soft spot for my Bell X1 soft spot. I feel now that even if I went completely off them I'd have to maintain the pretence, just to keep our wee world spinning on its regular axis. A friend made me a Paul Noonan snowglobe for Christmas. I couldn't throw that stellar effort back in her face.

I guess you have to take your pleasures where you can find them. Even if that makes you seem a little mad.

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