I *was* into The Strokes. Of course I was. It was summer 2001. I had just turned 20. I was going out with a sweet boy called Mat who I'd had a crush on for ages; he had a mod haircut and a red military jacket. We would drink cheap fizzy wine and stay up late at night in his flat, spending hours watching a weird new show called Big Brother on his little black-and-white TV. I had a short bowl cut and wanted to be Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I was writing: odd snippety sad little stories about a girl called Holly Cherry. They were supposed to be modern magic realism. They were pretty terrible.
The Strokes were very exciting to me. I can't remember which song I heard first - it would have been Last Nite or Hard to Explain, but I have no idea which one it was. We all spent a lot of time talking about them, and were literally counting down the days until the full album hit.
We saw them at Reading Festival that year, when they had to be moved onto a bigger stage because they had suddenly out of nowhere exploded into the biggest band in the world (as far as we were concerned, at least). They were so fucking cool. So New Yorky, which obviously always appeals to me. So louche. So SEXY, in the way that popstars should be. Julian was definitely at the top of the dreamboy list for a while back then; he's probably still on it somewhere. I mean, LOOK AT HIM.
That was also the year I saw PJ Harvey, wearing a PVC bra and matching skirt, playing my favourite songs from Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. I don't care if it makes me basic; that's my favourite PJ album. It still sounds like summer to me. It was perfect.
I think that was the last time I ever went to Reading Festival. When it was over, I broke up with Mat (in a young and ill-equipped way that I remain mildly ashamed about) and went to Hong Kong. I worked at MTV and wore Hysteric Glamour and Superlovers T-shirts. I spent hours walking around and riding the trams, listening to music and scribbling in my notebook. I disappeared. After a summer of drugs and bands and going out every night, Hong Kong was a meditative time. I came back different.
Things didn't change straight away. I still loved boys who looked like The Strokes (still do, although I've sporadically tried to grow out of it). I vaguely remember once singing Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs outside a boy's window, some time after that. We all got quite into Franz Ferdinand instead, briefly. A couple of years later, I met Gordon Raphael at another boyfriend's gig in Camden, and I totally embarrassed myself by fangirling all over him about Is This It. He was wearing a cool jacket that had a picture of Debbie Harry sewn onto it, and looked utterly confused.
It took me a while to take my writing seriously enough to actually finish a full-length novel. I grew my hair. I grew up. I still love music but I've probably never loved a brand-new band like I loved The Strokes - not in that same way, anyway - since that summer.