“Tonight We Are Young”

Tonight We Are Young

I use to always get a laugh out of myself with that song “We are young” by that band from a few years back with the un-format-friendly name “fun.”. It was very sure of itself against the fact that it had nothing much to say but with great roaring sincerity to say it. It’s about a bit of a piss up and he’s having a fit of pathos. The chorus went, with a great swell, “Tonight, we are young, so let’s set the world on fire”. They really hammer that at you, willing it to be the battle cry of the millenials or some shit. And perhaps it was. It could be what keeps some people going. Resonating with the perfectly for pivotal moments of their development of character. I’ve got some daft songs that share moments with me that I keep secret to save from the mob dismissing them

The “Tonight We Are Young” song though always gave me a giggle, perhaps in the face of that. I like anything that’s so stupid and so sincere. Makes you feel alright for not having a clue about anything. When you struggle everyday it’s tough and feels fruitless. But when look at someone that very confidently acts like they have the answers it can make you feel very worthless. But if you look long enough and see that they’re no closer to answers than you it can encourage you on. Like someone celebrating they’ve won the race when they actually have more laps to go. It gives me a smile, a little buzz of warmt. If I was in the race I’d not win but I’d at least keep my head down and keep running.

Another thing was that the lad in the band is going on about being young when he looks like he’s had more than a rough paper round. It turns out that he was 30 when that song came out. And I’m 30 now. I know that’s it useless to act like our age should garner sympathy from anyone, we’ll all be every age in a row until we die. That’s how it works. But I starting to worry am I being that daft and cringey now. I write a lot from that passage of my life like it mattered. It feels more interesting than now. I’m trying to make distance now with going hard and just staying home. And the mundanity of it isn’t inspiring anything worth writing about so I’m drawing back to the pool of that time. The hedonism, the spontaneity, the fullness. I’m not a complete saint now but I’m trying to take writing more seriously. It’s the business end of the season. But I worry I’m staying too late at the party and should I just move on with life. And no one wants to be the oldest person at the party.

    When I was at the other threshold, turning 20, and I’d be at parties and still taking it all in. But there’d always be the odd older lad there on his own and it was never really clear who he was. Just an auld bloke that likes to party. I was at one before, it was a birthday and we were going from a few cans in the estate into town. I was very fresh-faced and not very versed with the whole drink before, on the way, at the place and then after the place. I did take to it in my own time and became such a pro that I’d just skip the fannying about with leaving the house and just stay in getting pissed. Earlier this year I couldn’t me moved from the warmth and lack of nonsense of your own gaf. I was very tired, passed the point of the crammed smoking areas, the queues for the expensive bar and the prattle of kids.

But back at 20s it was all ahead of me. I remember we were waiting for the bus and this was at the time when I’d not even had bus money. €2.10 I think it was into town and I’d not even had that. Then there was the tenner in to Whelan’s and the fiver for the nitelink back. And then I’d still have to work out how to blag drink. So I wasn’t too sure what to do as we all waited for the last bus out of dodge. There was about fifteen of us. And as I drifted with uncertainty on the fringes the auld lad was telling me I could go back to his house on the promise of drink and pills. Just me and him like. I weighted it up then. I wanted the drink and the pills and I’d no money for all the other plans of the night. If one route works out more than the other than shouldn’t you go with that?

As I look at it now maybe he was just tired of all the fannying about too and he’d rather just chill and liked the shite I was coming out with. But it could have been anything. It could have been sexual but I could be thinking too highly about my young arse. The rest of the group ended up doing a whip around to cover us and we headed into the pub and it was all grand. Save for a few more times where he’d tried to coax me back to his gaf. He was barely coherent at that stage and would laugh at his own mumbles, in his own little world. He mightn’t have even been that old. He could of been 29 or something. But He was much older than me and he’d clearly been through the ringer and the motions too many times to count.

    There were many others auld heads throughout the years. Maybe they were newly single and were back out on the piss after years in a relationship, or back from living abroad and had just came home after years, or they just didn’t care and liked to party and there’d always be young kids to bleed into the many phases of a sesh. And really who’s to judge us but ourselves.

Drinking and nights out isn’t really a big deal. Even the most boring and cautious people can feel spontaneous and get stories to tell from messy nights out. It’s one of the draws of drinking. It pulls out the carefree person inside you. And it’s a riot when you’re young. But as you get older and you are expected to care, about work, about the family, about your life and about yourself, the draw to pull out that carefree person becomes a much bigger. Perhaps I’m missing it and I’m trying to trying to dig deeper into it than there is. I’m just bored now. The job is ebbing at me and my little jabs back I have is in recalling the times when I’d not a care and lived on a whim. They try to get talk corporate jargon to me in the office, all prim and proper, and not know about the states I’ve been in over the years. I just hope I’m not as much a laughing stock as “fun.” the band. Telling old stories of when I was young like I know what the fuck I’m going on about. I don’t know. But sometimes they’re better stories than the ones when you stay at home and watch panel shoes. I’m hesitant to stop being the wisest baby instead of turning 180 to be the noob grown up. I don’t know. You know just give me a second I, I need to get my story straight.

Mark Baldwin