My wife finally snapped. It happened the other night, when we were watching Bones or something, and the adverts came on. Up popped a trailer for Glee and she suddenly said, "For god's sake stop shouting 'STOP SINGING JOURNEY!' whenever that advert comes on." Because I had. Again. And my face was still red from the effort.
A bit later, she said, "Look, I can understand why you like Alice Cooper and ELO and I like Lynyrd Skynyrd a bit myself, but Journey really are rubbish," and in a way I suppose she's right. But that's the point. I like Journey and most other people don't, so they belong to me. When some soulless 27 year olds playing teenagers with stupid glowing grins or some twat from X Factor grinds their way through 'Don't Stop Believin'' with all the feeling of a sack of spuds, they're stealing. From me.
I've been here before, seeing things I'm convinced that only I like being snatched up by people I've decided just don't get it. The one that stands out is Jackie Chan movies. I spent years bunking off games with my mate who was in remedial maths watching Jackie Chan while he (remedial boy) sniffed lighter fluid and tried to impress with the style of kung fu he was inventing that involved a hollow plastic set of toy nunchucks and a crudely drawn outline of a man he'd felt-tipped onto a cupboard door as a ninja star target. He thought the films were meant to be real and so did everyone else. That's why he liked them and everyone else didn't. 'It's a comedy,' I'd try to explain, 'it's meant to be funny. You can't think a scene where a man jumps on a bike with no saddle so the stem pokes him up the bum is supposed to be serious!' But they did.
And then, without warning, they didn't anymore. Jackie Chan was a great physical comedian. He was influenced by Buster Keaton. How funny is that scene where the bike stem pokes up his bum? Flawless slapstick, that. People would tell me this as if I didn't already know, as if I hadn't been saying it for ages and been rewarded with funny looks because I hung out with the kid who smelled of glue and carried bits of metal he called shuriken and insisted were ninja stars and not just metal squares with a hole drilled in the middle. Slags.
Anyway, Journey. I like them, and not in an ironic way either. Okay, maybe a bit ironically, but I do genuinely enjoy listening to that kind of earnest, 80s stadium rock. Ever since I had to hide my copy of the 'Soft Metal' compilation in 1986 when as a brand new teenager I was desperately trying to show everyone how much I liked thrash metal, I've liked listening to hair-bands and that overly sincere stadium stuff. It gives me a kick and cheers me up, especially in the sodding morning when I'm trudging to work (sometimes trying to turn the commute into a training montage). Try it - next time you're on a train staring blearily through the rain spattered window at an unending procession of grey tower blocks, put 'Stone In Love' by Journey on your iPod. It's like you're on your way to work in an uplifting 80s comedy and you'll end the day rich, having generated the 1.21 jigawatts necessary to win the All Valley Karate Championship (and Molly Ringwald or Andrew McCarthy if you're single).
The film and literature genres that are held in lowest regard are the ones that aim squarely for a physical response rather than an intellectual one. Seriously, what sort of films do people think are stupid or embarrassing to watch? 'Low' comedy, action movies, horror movies and porn. Same with music. Music that aims right for the gut is usually the most derided. Cheesy Country & Western, bubblegum pop, heavy metal and 80s stadium nonsense - if people like it, they say it's a guilty pleasure.
The trouble is, I have no guilty pleasures. I just seem to like embarrassing rubbish. I found myself in a weird social panic when I met the husband of one of my wife's friends, struggling to find an answer when he asked, "So what is it about Spider-Man then?" He'd already given me a funny look earlier on when my phone rang and the ringtone was 'Kickstart My Heart' by Motley Crue, and he was clearly disturbed at the thought of his wife's friend marrying someone who would put Spider-Man on his wedding invitations. Which I did. ('The Amazing Spider-Man Giant Size Annual #21 cover if you're interested, with my face badly Photoshopped over Peter Parker's and my wife-to-be over Mary Jane's). What he didn't know is that instead of Nina Simone singing 'My Funny Valentine' when we walked back down the aisle, I'd originally planned to have 'Any Way You Want It' by Journey. If he knew that, he might have invited me outside.
I had a flashback to school. I hung out with the glue-sniffy kids again and this guy was suspecting that I carry around ninja stars that aren't really ninja stars and insist they're called 'shuriken' for authenticity myself. I was going to run off with his wife's old college friend and grow a mullet and blow all her money on Tippex thinner. I couldn't think of anything clever to say. You know that rubbish I spouted a minute ago about which genres are held in low regard? Forgot it. So I blurted the truth.
"It's just fun". I said, and it seemed to work.
And that's why I like Journey, despite knowing that what my wife says is true, at least on an intellectual level - except Dave Eggers said something about 'Any Way You Want It' in 'A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius' so maybe it is intellectual. I dunno - listening to Journey is fun. Steve Perry really means it when he sings about the small town girl living in a lonely world and the city boy born and raised in South Detroit - and that might make it naff for some, but it's fun goddammit. Probably a kind of fun that is mine and mine alone, but fun all the same. Ponces singing Journey aren't fun. They don't mean shit when they're trying to win a competition with it, in real life or in fiction. They destroy fun. They've stolen my fun and turned it into a bag with some poo in. The bastards.
They should stop singing Journey.
Here is the best video evar:
Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (Official Music Video) - Watch more top selected videos about: Journey