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The Comedy of Errors

Miles Hunt: Who Does He Think He Is?

1 June 06

"My 89 year old Grandmother shared with me, in recent years, that she has not experienced any remarkable differences in her ’self’ since she was a sixteen year old girl. I was at first rather alarmed at this comment."

I don’t suppose I’ve ever discussed this with anyone before now and perhaps for good reason, but every time I hear my name spoken by another, I immediately presume the name ‘Miles Hunt’ as to belong to a child.

That is, in some peculiar form it is my former name. I do of course have varying self images; friend, brother, son, bloke in a band etc… But to me, my name, ‘Miles Hunt’, is definitely the name of an adolescent. I wonder what this says about myself? Does this notion I have stumbled upon apply to us all I wonder? Or is it because I consider myself to be still fighting the good fight, having not, by my own measure, achieved what it was that I set out to do way back when?

When… hmmmmm… There’s a question for the ages.

My 89 year old Grandmother shared with me, in recent years, that she has not experienced any remarkable differences in her ’self’ since she was a sixteen year old girl. I was at first rather alarmed at this comment. As I approach my fortieth birthday this Summer I was rather hoping that some kind of wisdom were to be automatically bestowed upon me, for no other reason than having ‘made it’ this far. But having then given what she had said to me a little contemplation I soon realised that I too could claim pretty much the same standing. Or at the very least, as far as my life’s pursuits are concerned, I am moved to admit that not a great deal has changed during the last thirty years.

In truth I don’t think I’ve ever achieved adulthood and neither do I now expect to. I can legally drive a motorised vehicle, pay my taxes and utility bills on time and recognise when it is wholly inappropriate to swear. However, I am ceaselessly amazed when observing a portion of our society’s other grown-ups (too greater portion for my liking) going about their ‘adult’ lives. Within my grouping of friends we often discuss the ‘assistant manager’ syndrome, that is, he or she that considers them selves to have almost attained authority. Are they not the very worst of all of the imperious oafs we all have to deal with in our daily toils? Those that have been given a miniscule proportion of jurisdiction; the nightclub doorman, the train guard, the traffic warden… it goes on. In essence, your “job’s worth”. At what point is a rational human being transposed into such a creature? Or are they born that way? In much the same way as I was born, seemingly, never to mature. I simply do not see the attraction in wielding a doubtlessly none existent dominion over other humans. Please, by all means, call me immature…

I think I was at an earlier age than Nan’s sixteen year old self when I decided that I was gonna be a ‘bloke in a band’, perhaps around the age of eight or nine. I remember the morning of this illumination well. My dad’s brother Bill used to play keyboards in the legendary ‘70’s glam outfit, Wizzard (yes it was spelt with two zz’s). During the course of one of their rare live concert tours they had, or at least some of them had, elected to kip down on my mom and dad’s lounge floor after a gig somewhere in Derbyshire. My brother and I had risen for school the following morning only to discover upon our lounge floor a legion of hairy men, for the most part concealed in sleeping bags or wrapped in blankets. And a smell… an intoxicating smell. I knew who they were, I’d probably met most of them at one time or another, but in that moment of discovery, as mom doubtlessly ushered us through to the kitchen, I knew, truly, the life I needed to pursue. No more getting up at the crack of dawn, polishing shoes and suffering imbecilic Radio One morning DJ’s, whilst cramming down a questionably necessary brefters for me. No Sir. Gimme sleeping bags and hangovers (that was the smell) and all in the shared company of other, yet to be ripened, hairy men that felt just as I did!

And I, Miles Hunt, pulled it off. I located those other hairies to share lounge floors with. Other hairies to abandon all notion of adult objectives and associated creature comforts to share this curate’s egg of a life we’ve willingly been ensconced in for the last twenty or so years and yet… do I feel like it’s anything that I could conceivably consider an achievement?

This name thing is bothering me…

Surely when I hear my name spoken by another I should well up inside and think “Damn straight! Miles Hunt the achiever!”. But I don’t. You see I do consider what I’ve done, in music and that I refer to as my ‘central theme’, an achievement. I’ve never, by my reckoning, done a solid day’s graft in my life and in many ways that was almost the entire point of being in a band. We wrote some tunes, travelled the world playing them to all manner of people and kipped down on all manner of floors. I still do for that matter. I’ve constantly been achieving for chrissakes! But my name, never the less, to these ears belongs to a child.

A month or so ago I had the great honour of playing alongside the mighty Damien Dempsey. He called me up on stage and in front of more than a thousand people we played and sang “Whiskey In The Jar” together. Oddly enough Damien confessed to me that night that it was the first song he learned to play upon his very first guitar. But as he encouraged the assembled masses to welcome me, Miles Hunt, to the microphone, I have to tell you, on hearing that name again I felt about seven years old.

Likewise, some years ago I was a guest on BBC 2’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks and as the show’s host, Mark Lamarr, did his typically caustic introductions of that episode’s guests. On hearing my name I felt implausibly immature.

Once again, whilst attending a hospital appointment earlier this year, on hearing my named called as I was invited to attend the specialist, I absurdly became a minor.

On the other hand it was one day last year that my daughter decided that she would from there on in prefer to call me Daddy, as opposed to previously always referring to and addressing me as Miles. And do you know, the Daddy thing felt okay, in a puffed-out-chest kinda way, for a day or so but, hand on heart… I think I preferred hearing her gorgeous little voice speak to me for who I really am, ‘Miles’, just a kid myself.

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