Ever fallen in love with someone

In this anonymous post for Music Month, the writer explores how a song heard on the radio can be life changing when you are young and queer.


It’s Friday, and we are in a country pub which takes an ask no questions approach to underage drinking. It’s fair to say they know we probably aren’t 18, and we know if we don’t behave we will be thrown out. It’s probably safer than sitting in a park, swigging cider. It’s where we meet each a week, a group of us, all girls, all outsiders in one way or another, and all, as far as we know, heterosexual and cis.

I know my laugh is slightly too loud, and my eyes linger. My best friend is everything I am not, her chestnut hair, the way her tongue peeks out as she thinks, her cheeky laugh and easy way with the boys who flock around her. She is not conventionally good-looking, but something about her attracts people. The problem is, that shouldn’t include me.

So I sip my cider, and try not to think about green eyes, or what it means that sometimes, alone in my room, I think about kissing her. Then, one day, I hear a track on the radio which was written just for me, which shakes me, as if the writer had come into my room, grabbed me by the scruff of my shirt and said; “Wake Up!”

Ever fallen in love with someone?
Ever fallen in love?
In love with someone
Ever fallen in love? (Love…)
In love with someone
You shouldn’t’ve fallen in love with

I grew up under section 28, homosexuality was either a joke, like Larry Grayson, or a sin. Floating icebergs warned us of the dangers of being gay, and it was never mentioned as something someone was, more unspeakable sex acts which people did. Things were further complicated by the fact I liked boys, or I was pretty sure I did, practical experimentation in that realm had never really progressed beyond a few kisses before the last train home.

How then could I feel the way I did about my best friend? This was a world without the internet, with no anonymous strangers to ask, no excellent sites like Bish UK to sneak onto using my phone. It was a lonely place where even asking questions could get you labelled, bullied, or ostracised. I knew of course that gay people existed, and perhaps unusually for the time had avoided the latent homophobia which was the default. However, if I was gay, I was surely the worlds worst lesbian, since I felt similar stirrings for the guy who sat in front of me in Geography as I did for my best friend. I felt as if I could not even do gay right, outside of that community too.

You disturb my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt
And I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I’ll only end up losing you
And that’s worse

Perhaps it’s impossible to explain the rush of recognition in a world where I felt no one could ever, had ever felt as I had. I didn’t know that Pete Shelley was bisexual, and like me from a northern working class background. I didn’t even know the word bisexual. All I knew was that someone, somewhere had not only felt as I did, but written about it, in a searing, emotional two-minute pop song that poured out of the radio and into my frightened, lonely brain.

I would like to say at that moment I took up the rainbow flag, and loud and proud confidently asserted my identity as bisexual. Life rarely works like that. I was 15 in a small town where “lezza” was considered the worst insult you could throw at a girl. There were roads still to cross, learning to be done, the cliché of moving away helped with that. I never felt as alone as I had though, or as wrong as I did. I may have fallen in love with my best friend, but a song told me I wouldn’t be the first, or the last. It might not be easy, it can hurt like hell, but knowing you are not alone, matters far more than people who have not felt that pain can ever understand.

Fallen in love with
Ever fallen in love with someone
You shouldn’t’ve fallen in love with

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