This Album Changed My Life: Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2005)

Cork-based artist Laurie Shaw on a teenage inspiration

Laurie Shaw: “I vividly remember pressing play and being struck by the galloping first few seconds of The View From The Afternoon.”

Laurie Shaw: “I vividly remember pressing play and being struck by the galloping first few seconds of The View From The Afternoon.”

 

I was about 12 when I first heard Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. A friend of mine lent me the CD and I didn’t give it back for about a year. At this point, my CD collection consisted of all the Oasis albums, The Zutons and The Best Of U2. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not blew all of the above out of the water.

I vividly remember pressing play and being struck by the galloping first few seconds of The View From The Afternoon and then being completely flawed by its second punch to the jugular; the vocal delivery. The declaration of “anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment” immediately cemented the band as the first of many that I would go on to become completely obsessed with.

Although I couldn’t relate to the stories of going out to clubs and having it large, I had been to a number of youth club discos which were more or less the same but with fizzy lemon. I then embarked on a mission to try to infuse my own songs with as much colloquial wit, which didn’t really work out until I got a bit older.

But nevertheless, the album was a gateway into a wider musical dimension. It was from then on that I started to pick up music magazines and try to work my way down the family tree of indie music. It’s not my favourite album they’ve ever made, but it coincided with my first pangs of excitement for using music like a diary to capture teenage life, not in Sheffield but in south Kerry.

Laurie Shaw & the Swamp People play Other Voices in Dingle the weekend of November 30th to December 2nd.

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