It's very rare I open my blog up to anything not fashion/beauty/lifestyle-ish related - but I think I can make an exception today, as ten years ago today (well, the official release date flits around from 8th-16th so let's take a guess!) - my all-time favourite album from my all-time favourite band was released:
Highly Evolved by The Vines
Like every relationship, me and The Vines have had our ups and downs.
But it's been a belter ten years.
(Warning: Coming up is a bit of an essay - but there are some great videos at the end, so feel free just to check those out, if you'd like!)
In the beginning was the word. And the word was "mothaFOCKah".
Once upon a time there lived a girl called Carla, who lived in a working class town in Northern England.
It was 2002, she was aged around 13 and into girly metal bands such as Jack Off Jill, Kittie, My Ruin etc.
Then one day, she was doing her usual Saturday routine of walking around Music Zone, spending her pocket money on posters and cds.
She was flipping through the poster section, and came across these four unfamiliar faces:
Now although it is bad form to judge people on appearances, the didn't-know-better teenager thought the boy centre-right with his floppy hair, huge eyes and pouty lips was a cutsey-cute cutie.
She noted down their name, went home and trawled through the internet for examples of their stuff.
She didn't like it, and soon forgot all about them.
However a few months later, someone in a music based Livejournal community (where I discovered most of my favourite bands in my less-than-tortured youth) somebody linked this:
And that was it.
"I'm feeling happy, so Highly Evolved..."
Within weeks, I had thrown away my spiked collars and black hair dye.
I started wearing ripped t-shirts, holey jeans and vintage t-shirts with sports jackets. I cut my hair short and wore it messy and unwashed.
A severe case of Nicholls-itus had begun - and it wasn't just me: They were on the cover of Rolling Stone, The Face, NME and countless others.
The press called them 'The Saviours of Rock and Roll' and hinted at the second coming of Nirvana.
Stories about the seemingly erratic lead singer/guitarist/songwriter began to emerge, painting a character from everything from a tragic artist, a prima donna to someone on the verge of a nervous breakdown. In one infamous NME interview, he didn't like how the line of questioning was going - so he tore the tape from the dictaphone before locking himself in the bathroom for hours.
Sometimes he simply fell asleep in the middle of an answer.
Some called him a pothead, others a musical genius.
To a 13-year-old fangirl, there was nobody cooler than Craig Nicholls.
However, the good times couldn't last forever.
"The Winning Days are gone."
At their peak, just before they were due to support Incubus on an extensive American tour - what happened was what Vines fans refer to as 'The Annandale Hotel Incident.'
Craig lost it on stage, insulting the audience after asking them not to talk during their set. When a photographer tried to snap a photo, he kicked out and broke her camera.
Bassist and original member Patrick Matthews walked off stage, and would never play with The Vines again, Triple M radio station removed their songs from playlists, the band fell off the Incubus tour and charges were pressed.
The Vines ceased the promotional tour and went home. The winning days were gone.
On my end, (Notice how I stopped doing the third person thing? It stopped being cute two paragraphs in, didn't it?) I had followed all of this in slight disbelief.
In just two years, the poster boys for the new wave of rock and roll had seemingly lost all their credibility.
"Through the Vision Valley, waiting to be found."
By 2006, I was 16-years-old. I'd left school and went to college.
I had changed from the shy goth girl to someone quite loud and borderline obnoxious.
I started wearing bright neon clothes, and wearing glitter to classes. I started listening to electro music such as Robots In Disguise, Freezepop, IAMX, Hyperbubble, Client and YMCK - plus sneaking into electro nights in town.
Guitar music didn't interest me at all.
I got my first boyfriend, and stopped obsessing so much about boys in bands.
I bought The Vines' third album Vision Valley, gave it a spin, then put it on my cd rack to gather dust.
One day, my dad gave me a copy of an Observer newspaper supplement featuring their first UK interview in years. I found out that Craig had been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, the assault charges had been dropped and was seemingly healthy, which made me incredibly pleased.
But when tickets to a London show went on sale, I didn't buy one.
And nothing much changed for the new few years.
(Unlike other Vines albums, there isn't a song on which shares the name of the album.
Though it was originally rumoured to be called 'Braindead', for which there is an adjoining song. Watch the video anyway just for the adorable interview at the start!)
The age of social networking had arrived, and while travelling I used MySpace (and it's new-ish frenemy, Facebook) to communicate with my family.
In the bulletin board (remember that?), was a notice from The Vines who were releasing their fourth album - Melodia.
Signed copies were available directly from them, so the fangirl still inside bought it and shipped it to the UK where it was on my return. I'd recently bought my first iPod, so put it on there along with Vision Valley when I got home.
I started a new job working in Sunderland, which is a good 30 minute metro journey from where I live. So I thought I'd finally give it a listen one day.
And to this day, I still remember that all the funny fangirly feelings came rushing back! I was even five minutes late to work as I had True As The Night on repeat.
I was back in the game!
And that's how it's been ever since.
Ta-dah, so now you know the story!
And what's occurin' with them now?
"I'm a Future Primitive, I came from the sky..."
Sadly, the self-funded album didn't do very well and there has been a few lineup changes - notably the departure of drummer Hamish Rossier, and original guitarist Ryan Griffiths.
But in interviews they seem the happiest they've been in years and the sets have been more consistent - at least there are no longer any on-stage punch-ups.
Personally I think their performance at last years' Splendour In The Grass is the best they've played in years!
Although unconfirmed, it is assumed that The Vines now consists of...er...just Craig.
In a very sweet reply to a fan letter, he confirmed a solo project (fans did some digging and apparently it's in cahoots with Nick Littlemore of Pnau/Empire of the Sun) and new Vines material early next year. Hoorah!
I apologise again for this essay, but I promise to only do one every ten years!
In the meanwhile, (and for most of you who've rightfully just skipped to the end) I'll leave some of my favourite Vines 'moments' from the past decade: