Happy birthday, Martin Gore!
How do I know it’s Martin Gore’s birthday? It’s simple. I’ve been celebrating it for twenty years. I’d like to say that I just don’t know how to stop, but secretly (and now openly) I just like to. It’s a link with my lost youth. Speaking of lost youth, the above picture isn’t exactly like the Martin Gore I knew as a kid. But since I have no photographic evidence, the posters I had on the walls of my teenage and college bedrooms will have to remain unblogged.
The first time I celebrated it, I was at summer camp and so it consisted of wearing my Depeche Mode t-shirt. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but it happened to be the day we went whitewater rafting and so I risked ruining it forever. It survived to be worn at my “surprise” Sweet 16 later on. My sister said at the time, “we knew you were surprised because otherwise you would have worn something nicer than that.” Little did she know. There’s always some idiot in school who will come up to you and declare “I’m coming to your party!” before being dragged away by someone whispering severely in his ear. Which is lucky because I detest surprises. Be warned.
Anyway, I had purchased that shirt at my first DM concert. You know, the one I had left my (other) sister’s wedding early to go to. It was the first of probably 30 or so shows I’ve seen by them over the years. I think the first was still the best but high up there is the time I saw them from the front row of Madison Square Garden. I’m afraid to tell you how much I spent for that ticket but suffice to say, it was before I had a mortgage. Despite the fact that I was an adult and already worked with lots of other artists on a professional basis, I was still beside myself at being that close to Martin Gore. So I bought a beanie baby spider, wrote a note in the tag (no, I’m not telling you what it said), and threw it at him from just a few feet away. It landed right in front of him. He picked it up, looked at it quizzically, and threw it back directly to me. Hey! That was for you, buddy. I threw it back but I have no idea whether he ever got it. I’m sure some roadie laughed a good while at my sincere note.
In any case, the way I’ve celebrated every year since 1986 has been to play all their albums back to back. Sure, it took less time back then, but now I have all 122 songs (that includes some remixes and rarities and leaves out most of those awful Vince Clarke ditties from the first record) on my iPod in one playlist. It’s going to be a fun day! Too bad the t-shirt hasn’t survived as well as the band has.
But seriously, unlike The Cure, The Smiths, and New Order, DM reminds me of only good times in my life and so it’s always a delight to listen to any of their 122 best songs. I used to listen on LP, then cassette, then CD, then mp3, and now for the first time, linked from my own website. After much deliberation, here is my top five. These are both my favorites on an aesthetic level plus each one brings me back to a happy moment. In Your Memory isn’t among them, but it’s a lovely B-side and it made a good title.
Martin wrote all of these, and sings the last one.