Location: A college video arcade. A crowd of young men. One hand a mince pie, the other a can of Fanta. England 6, God 1, take that Pele
When I think of my college years, the fondest memories I have are of Heavy Metal. Nothing else. Without it I fail to see how else I could have endured the boring lectures and tutorials with dozens of mindless students, with too much to say. It divided me from them. Where they loved the student lifestyle, it revolted me. The only weapon I had was the music. And I made it count.
Most of the time spent at college was wasted as it was. During my first few weeks there I quickly saw how pointless the lectures were. People hurriedly taking notes that they would never use. This is when my Walkman became my best friend. At my tepid drama class, I would suffer the indignity of watching others around me perform warm-ups and foolish routines. Declining to participate I would instead blast Slayers ''Divine Intervention.'' ''Are you going to join in or sit there?'' the lecturer would ask. ''I'm happy here,'' I responded. I knew the others resented the Walkman and its volume but they were too scared to tell me to turn it down. On one occasion a fellow named Pootmeister sat in front of me as Slayer blared. He turned around to see what was going on, only to be faced by a nut with ass-length hair and an eight-month- old beard. Knowing better, he remained silent with the assault gnawing away at him, ruining his drama lecture. At an interval, he moved and never came back. But I followed him and continued the harassment, souring his favorite class. The lecturer asked me later if I was more interested in the music or the class. ''The music'' was my answer, naturally. I never went to another Drama class again.
Of more importance than an assignment or exam was determining what tapes I would take for the day's enjoyment. Sometimes the choices were inspired, sometimes not (see Ugly Kid Joe ''Menace To Sobriety''). The best thing to do, then, was make compilations. One day I made a Manowar selection compiled from all their albums. I found my desired seat in the library and blasted away. Right behind me sat a middle aged woman studying intensely. Now I had the volume up to its maximum level. This woman could take no more and walked up to my desk. ''Could you please turn that down?'' she inquired. ''No'' I replied. ''Well then I am going to report you to the librarian and have you kicked out!'' she snapped back. ''Go ahead then,'' I answered back, resuming the volume.
Frustrated, she packed up her stuff up and left. I had just ruined her day. Her precious college DAY. And that's why I did it. All around me were junkies of the college. Just sitting in the library all day and talking loud while I attempted to write an essay. I needed some way to shut them out. The music spoke louder than their words. People thought I was strange because I had my Walkman on continually.
Lies. I didn't want to to see or hear them, so I blocked them out. And it annoyed the dull lecturers who thought the students worshipped them, hung on their every word. They were insulted that some long-haired punk would blare Heavy Metal while they spoke about an ancient book called ''Under Western Skies.''
I know I succeeded in alienating the students around me because a friend told me so. After I had left college he had remained for an extra year with many of the others. Now that I was gone they vented their spleens about me to him -- as he had been the only person I associated with there. He told me about one girl who had been in most of our classes and had sat in close proximity to the music. She (her name was Peri if I recall correctly) once had a dream about me. In it she blew me away with a machine gun as I listened to my Walkman. She hated it, but kept it silent for three years. Other people mentioned that I never spoke at all, instead preferring to sit in the corner with my Walkman on. They thought I was crazy, he told me. They were right, I was. I took all this as a privilege, I never wanted to be liked by any of them. I did what I had to and got out of there.
The music remains my strongest memory of years now. Every time I listen to Kiss' ''Crazy Nights'' I am reminded of a lecture room and Post- Colonial Literature. Pantera's ''Far Beyond Driven'' takes me back to Theater 2.17 and a host of appalling classes, including Romantic Literature, Writing Theory And Practice and Twentieth Century Literature. And the notorious Drama room will be forever associated with Biohazard's ''Urban Discipline'' and Machine Head's ''Burn My Eyes.'' And it is not by accident I have not listened to any of those since.