I personally believe that every experience no matter how seemingly insignificant has the potential to alter the course of your life, whether it be helping that inebriated person in the street after a night out to a taxi rank, or losing a friend or relative.
For me though the most significant event that I can draw upon for sheer gravitas was admitting to my friends and family that I was gay, but not for the reasons you might think! Let me explain.
Since I can remember I have always been aware that I liked boys much more than I liked girls, it was natural to me and I was also aware that I seemed to be the only boy who felt this way. I accepted this at a young age and it honestly didn’t bother me in the slightest, I knew when I got older and left education that it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to anyone I knew at the time, I was a pretty realistic child.
I may have been realistic but I was also very naive. It really didn’t occur to me how I was going to explain this to my parents when I started a relationship with someone almost thirty years my senior when I was still a teenager.
My parents are incredibly supportive and loving People, I truly believe that they are the best parents in the world and had no doubt that they would accept me without question, which they did, but I felt horrendously guilty pretty much every day like I was a massive dissappointment to them even though my reasonable side was aware that it was all in my head. It was around this time that I started my first rock band with a couple of friends, I forgot all about everything else and just wrote and played music non-stop. I had been writing songs for years and it felt great to finally hear them come to life. Music has the strange ability to render other things in your life meaningless or at the very least put them in to perspective. Playing gigs, recording e.ps, just filled me with so much joy, not to mention the social aspect of being in a musical community of like minded people. And the rapturous feeling of acceptance and worth.
Since those days I had an almost ten year relationship with the man I met as a teenager, we broke up a couple of years back and very shortly after he died, I was there when it happened and I finally saw what mortality looks like in the flesh, and it frightened me.
I have since met a lad the same age as me who I am madly in love with, and he supports me in my musical endeavours even though our tastes are worlds apart. My extended family have only just found out that I’m gay and have no idea of the things that happened in my long relationship over the course of almost ten years, which upsets me sometimes as my sister and cousins relationships seem to be and always have been of great importance within general family discussion.
I guess in a convoluted way, I’m trying to say that my bands and music and more importantly the friends I’ve made and the people I have worked with have changed my life. It may have been the smallest paragraph in my essay but thats because there are no words to express how music makes me feel and i’m sure its the same for you, whether you are in a band or just love buying cds and records.
Music taught me how to express my emotions without having a breakdown. My bandmates in The Sun Explodes are truly my closest friends; They accept me for who I am and what I bring to the table. Being the only gay lad in a band full of straight lads does entail a fair bit of piss-taking, but I would not have it any other way. Let your music define you and who you are, nothing else. If you do it can change your life.
Dave Maclachlan is singer and plays synthesizer for The Sun Explodes.