At night it was an excuse to stay up late and watch Jarvis Cocker sing to 175000 people, I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere /Somewhere in a field in Wiltshire.*
A week earlier on June 17th 1995, a teenage daughter of a family friend had gone to seeBlur play Mile End Stadium. I was eleven and filled with envy and frustration that my age and friendships prevented me from singing my favourite songs in a London haze.
Later, when I was diagnosed, Peel was the only person with diabetes who I admired
By September 1995 I started to go beyond the Top 40. One Sunday night while bored in the bath I found myself listening to John Peel interview Pulp. As a DJ John Peel reassured me that it was not about where you listened to music, but how you listened to it. With an open unabashed enthusiasm.
Later, when I was diagnosed, Peel was the only person with diabetes who I admired. Even if he didn't have Type One, he showed me that there were people out there who had diabetes who weren't just sport stars, who won gold medals or climbed mountains. That some people with diabetes worked in the arts, drank red wine, didn't have perfect control but could still be another person's hero.
Throughout my early teens music was a domestic experience. Concerts, sessions, festivals were all meticulously recorded and watched from the confines of my house. I listened back to them from personal stereos and talked at my friends about them smothering their own tastes and interests with my unquenchable, sometimes alienating enthusiasm for first Britpop (aged 10-12), then Manic Street Preachers (aged 13-14) and then Beastie Boys, Air and Phoenix (aged 15-17). Music was (and remains) the friend who just got it, the friend who let me dream, the friend who would go anywhere with me, even if I couldn't go with it.
I didn't want to let go now that my body had.
My diabetes developed during the midst of my GCSEs in November 1998. REM's Up became the soundtrack to my winter, dad buying it for me on the evening of my diagnosis. An album of quiet reflection and melancholic hope.
On the 15th June 2000 I completed my last exam. Being a History of Medicine paper, it was one of the few exams I enjoyed. Concerned with the impact of the plague, eighteen months of academic, physical and emotional stress culminated with me having to logically set out the affect disease and illness could have on people.
That afternoon I got a train to London on my own and listened to Phoenix's United.
The song If I ever feel Better rang through my heart. Lyrics that applied so easily to the hidden world of diabetes were lifted out of introverted melancholia by a disco beat that let me believe that one day, in summer, I could feel better.
They say an end can be a start/ Feels like I've been buried yet I'm still alive/ It's like a bad day that never ends/ I feel the chaos around me/ A thing I don't try to deny/ I'd better learn to accept that/ There are things in my life I can't control.
*Yes I know the studio version is Hampshire.
4and8 You can read more about 4and8's thoughts, rambles and histories of having Type One Diabetes and the continual plight to achieve sugar levels between 4 and 8 here and tweet her @4and8