Now, I give you…the songs I remember listening to, year by year, in retrospect:
“Strange Days”, Matt Good Band. I played this song, on repeat, a lot in 1999 and 2000. It was a tragic song that reminded me of Vancouver, of Doug Coupland books and British Columbia rain. I listened to “Beautiful Midnight” and wept as I realized that everything was just…wrong. As 1999 turned into 2000, I was out of hope, trapped in Texas, and rapidly sinking into a sort of sleepwalk of despair. I was 22 when the new millennium rang in, and I felt like I was forty.
//from texas to seattle::2000//
“Porcelain”, Moby. I remember listening to Play as I drove across America with my then-boyfriend, on the way back to Seattle. I remember an eerily beautiful late-summer night in Oklahoma, as I realized just how much of America there was between Dallas and Seattle.
I actually don’t remember listening to a lot of music in this year…I had pretty much shut myself down and off. I remember listening to pop music on the radio – I remember that annoying Alice Deejay song about being better off alone, and I remember the boy bands getting big, but I’d given up on even listening to music. The decade didn’t start off well at all.
//from seattle to UBC::2001//
“Dream On”, Depeche Mode. I still have the poster from the show I saw on this tour. I bought it on eBay a few years ago as a reminder of how much I love live Depeche Mode shows.
“Kathy’s Song”, Apoptygma Bezerk. I made a foray back into goth in 2001, when my old friend Neil would come down to Seattle and go out with me. Third-wave goth and EBM was just taking off at the start of the decade, and I jumped at it.
“Bohemian Like You”, Dandy Warhols. You couldn’t escape this song in 2001. It was even in a CAR COMMERCIAL for crying out loud.
I think about 2001 now, and it was the Year The World Changed. I don’t think I grasped the magnitude of the 9/11 attacks at the time, on what it would make life like in America, much less the rest of the world. But at the time, I was distracted – this was when I joined the AUS, after all, and met some of the people who would become my dear friends for a long time. The moment I went back to UBC was the moment that my life shifted back onto the course it was meant to be on. Everything went clear; everything was right. I remember going to Whistler that year for the AUS retreat and thinking, these are my people. I’m home. Everything’s right. It would take me another year to finally shake off the rest of Texas, to free myself from Big Scary Mike, to really get back to being me. Which brings us to…
//from ubc to seattle and back::2002//
“The Oaf (My Luck Is Wasted)”, Big Wreck. This is the song I think of when I think of ACF 11, since Big Wreck were a headliner that year. I remember hearing this song a lot on the radio in the days leading up to the show.
“In Repair”, Our Lady Peace. First of all, hello, CANCON. But this actually was a sad summer for me as I wound down my three-year relationship with Big Scary Mike. I spent most of the summer on my own anyways, picking up extra credits at the UW and working on the Argosy boats. I’m still friends with my crewmates from that summer, and have joyful memories…but in between, I was dealing with a horrible breakup, and it was always in repair.
In the fall of 2002, I came back for my last year of college determined to tear it up and make it count. I moved into student housing on campus and proceeded to have a whole series of Wacky Adventures in Vancouver. I loved Vancouver. I loved UBC. I was able to go home to Victoria once a month, had my sister nearby on campus, and had a slew of friends I was with all the time.
“Breath”, Nelly Furtado/Swollen Members. This was a catchy song, dammit. I remember listening to it while biking around campus, or working out in the T-Bird gym. Also, CANCON. It was upbeat, featured an ACF band, and was all over the radio stations in Vancouver.
“After All”, Delerium. I bought “Chimera” as soon as it was released after hearing this song. It had that slightly mournful quality I’m always addicted to. I wasn’t a huge fan of “Silence”, but this was a totally different sound. It also turned into one of the songs I listened to endlessly while recovering from yet another difficult breakup that summer.
2003 stands out in my mind because it was the last semester at UBC, and the year when I knew everything was right again. I had a fantastic second semester of the school year. I genuinely loved my classes, and was thrilled with the subject matter I was studying (I had advanced seminars in history and political science). My student council work, and my work on the Fair, was all done with the same dear friends I went on spontaneous roadtrips to the States with. Even after graduation, I stayed in the orbit of the University, moving just off campus into Kitsilano, continuing to play Ultimate on weekends, go for walks at Jericho Beach, and hang out at Fiction. I started my first job out of college on Bowen Island, at a company that moved to North Van after a month, and had the most gorgeous commute I’ve ever had in my life, over two bridges, twice a day. I was completely in love with Vancouver, and adored living there, but was able to go home to the Island whenever I wanted for a weekend. I lost the last of the Texas weight gain through careful diet and spinning classes, leaving me thin, young and single. At the time I knew life was pretty awesome; looking back now, I know it was fantastic. I wish now I hadn’t let that summer’s breakup with my last-semester-of-college boyfriend throw such a cloud over it, but I was twenty-five and only just realizing why they call it a “broken heart” (it’s because the sadness is so extreme you actually physically feel it, for the record.)
Three years down, seven to go…who knew this would be such a long process?