We Are Ian

by Katherine Denkinson

We are Ian. Photo credit - In bed with my Brother

We are Ian. Photo credit – In bed with my Brother

We Are Ian. We are the tracks you only know from old compilations, invoking false memories of a movement you were never old enough to be part of.

We are hot potatoes and cold spaghetti, now performed in our seats like the hand-jive at a Rave themed Butlins (the on-screen instructions keeping time).

We are clowning and gurning, almost wordless as we vicariously fling ourselves about the stage with out three dungaree-clad hosts.

Because all the best lines belong to Ian.

As the club tracks boom and the lights direct our gaze around the bare stage, Ian’s weary Northern drawl leads us back to the clubs that shaped him. From aggressively masculine beginnings in the pubs and football terraces of Thatcher’s Britain, Ian leads us out of the grey hopelessness of a country ground down by Conservative rule and into his personal summer of love.

In a sometimes amused, sometimes regretful narrative, he explains how the standard pint-and-a-fight nights were replaced by something greater. Fuelled by “brown biscuits” and a desire to find something bigger than the proscribed bleakness of working-class England, they found music.

And in the music they found communion. Like-minds in new spaces, Ian’s youth was one of anti-establishment protest in its simplest, most euphoric form. They had no money and few prospects, but the music was good, the drugs were better and they were in it together.

At this point the keen-eyed notice that the omnipresent background video images of Thatcher Et Al have morphed into more familiar faces. The black and white pictures of the woman who stole your parent’s milk, become the familiar images of the woman who is now slowly stealing your future…but the words remain relevant. Ian’s voice cracks as he urges us to regain our voices, to stage a revolution and take back the society which our government is (once again) disassembling.

We are Ian - Photo credit In bed with my brother.

We are Ian – Photo credit In bed with my brother.

As the words dry up, the music fills the space and our hosts lead us once more in dance.

We are encouraged onto the stage, to move to the music and remember the words. We feel the joy of shared experience, buoyed up by a fresh sense of hope for the future.

We are Ian

We Are Ian - Photo credit In bed with my brother