Sheer Heart Attack

Boston College, ’91-92 – (Boston, Lincs. not Boston, MA.) – we had a quiet study room sectioned off in the library where we would often dare each other to sit down for a while and, without warning, erupt with some weird noise or creative Tourette’s-like swears, or else throw ourselves down on the floor and fake a conniption, just to freak out the other students beavering away.  The study room housed a music section – Genesis, Michael Bolton, Huey Lewis and the News, that era of rubbish.  It was still all cassettes back then.  And those crappy walkmans you got free when you signed up for a catalogue – or ‘club book’ in the old folks’ parlance – and the orange muff earphone covers and the simple slidey mechanisms for adjusting the headphones if you had a big head, and you were really cool if your walkman had a built-in AM/FM radio, and when you hit on a station that broadcast in stereo a little LED went red, only the sound wasn’t better as you expected, but lost in a messy fuzz of noise.  So anyway I was bored one day and trawling the music section after some decent sounds, and I chanced across two tapes by Queen – ‘A Night at the Opera’ and ‘Sheer Heart Attack,’ – so I thought I’d give them a whirl…

I was reminded of that time recently, Queen playing in the car and it sparked a conversation about favourite tracks, and  I could not for the life of me remember the album in mentioning ‘Brighton Rock,’ and it seemed neither of them had heard of it, so it was a little memory pocket the internet was able to clarify and put right later on.  (All hail to the internet, this magic electronic box of commerce, porn, piracy and nostalgia!)

And there I was 17 years old again remembering how great those albums were – so many cheap Panasonic AA  batteries I sacrificed in listening to them at all hours.

And I would go down to the local library and throw a conniption for old time’s sake, but people no longer work there – it doesn’t carry the same thrill.  It’s all self-checkout machines and dullards standing around them scratching their heads and looking confused.  If I faked a conniption in front of a load of machines, I’d just look stupid, and in front of the customers,  it wouldn’t look out of place – happens all the time there.  They hang around pretending to read for somewhere warm to spend the day without harassment.  I could announce I was a ‘Tenement Funster having a Sheer Heart Attack,’ but none of them would get the joke.