[Written by Maria Elena Roselli]
[Image by Tosca de Wilt]
The year was 2012. The Avengers had just come out, everybody was singing Call Me Maybe, and—as the summer was ending—my 15-year-old self was getting ready to jump head first into another year of school. As it usually happens for most of the people living on planet earth, all the plans I’d had about having a quiet year were soon smashed with a hammer. As a teenager dealing with adult issues for the first time, my problem-solving skills were not exactly top-notch, which eventually led me to seek out different ways to forget my complicated daily life. And like every angry teenager dealing with the world, I found my greatest isolation tool in music.
Before then, my musical education had mostly come from badly assembled compilations found in magazines, my older brother (fired from his musical consultant job when he got into his rap phase), and TV shows like Gossip Girl (What can I say? My parents were apparently asleep throughout the 80s). It was through this last channel that I had discovered one of my favourite bands, Sum 41, some years before. When I turned sixteen a few months later, my dad decided to buy me an amazing gift we couldn’t really afford at the time; a ticket for their concert. There was just one problem in his perfectly structured plan—he got the tickets for the wrong band.
And that is how I met Green Day.
Being the good student that I am, once I received the ticket I thanked him and started doing some research on the band. I started listening to the first songs they ever recorded, I found out about the two rock operas they wrote, and how the latter were not just a series of songs but had an actual plot and characters.
And that’s when the obsession began.
I researched the history of the band members, I started covering my room in posters and pictures, I spent hours looking at videos of live performances, and I could probably still re-enact by heart the Woodstock mud fight of 1994. I fell in love with Whatsername, I related to Jesus of Suburbia and St. Jimmy, the evil alter ego that’s unknown to you but still follows you in the shadows everywhere you go.
It wasn’t just the music. It was the style, the movement, the colours, the euphoria, the emotions. Without even realising it, I had started mimicking the style and behaviour of the characters of these pop-punk stories. I dyed my hair Little-Mermaid-red, only wore band-related t-shirts, applied the iconic Billie Joe eyeliner and explored different music (the highlight of the year was the time my mom wanted to send me to therapy because I was listening to the Sex Pistols).
The day of the actual concert was incredibly unlucky. My brother and I almost missed our flight, were left wondering around a freezing cold Milan for hours because the uncle that was supposed to host us was stuck on a delayed flight, and got a €30 fine for buying the wrong subway ticket. It is still one of the only days of that year I remember with pure joy. Since my phone died 5 minutes before the concert started, I couldn’t even take a picture—it exists now only in my memory (thanks Titanic).
Six years later, things have changed. I finally got the courage to get over those years. I’m back to my original hair colour, and all that’s left of 2013 is a concert ticket, a couple of fanfictions and a collection of CDs. I had other obsessions and got over them, but Green Day will always have a special place in my heart. I still follow them on social media and buy their CDs, I have every intention of going to another of their concerts, and I never skip one of their songs when it comes up on my iPod. They remind me of a different time and a different me, a sort of Whatsername I barely can remember. Green Day came into my life loud and unannounced, and I will always be grateful for that.
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.
(Good Riddance – Green Day)
[Image Description: An illustration of a white square, filled in with many different coloured scribbles, against a black background.]