Hedley: 10 Years

Today, I might get a little personal. I’ve been neck-deep in nostalgia in the last few weeks with some old friends, and I am loving it. Last month was the 10 year anniversary of my favourite band’s first album. Today, October 05 2015 is the 10 year anniversary of the first time I saw them live, AKA the best day of my life and something I’d been waiting for over a year to have the chance to do. In the last decade, they’ve put out 5 albums (and are currently working on LP6) and I’ve seen them every time they’ve been in my province. I’ve met them, I’ve had late-night chat session with them, I’ve had the insane opportunities to listen to rough cuts of songs before they’ve been released, and I have had the absolute joy and pleasure of meeting some of the most amazing humans because of this band. Today, I want to talk about Hedley.

I never thought that a band would have so much impact on my life, but they have. Somehow, they push me to be a better person, and to become someone worth being. They remind me that no matter who you are, you can have an influence on someone or something. They’ve taught me how to actively seek happiness instead of just waiting around on it. But I think the biggest thing they’ve taught me is to just be yourself. Honestly, truly, fuck anyone who doesn’t like you, just be you. And when I talk about these lessons and values they’ve placed in my life, I don’t just mean that they’re lyrics have inspired me that much. That’s the thing about discovering your favourite band before they “make it” – you actually have the chance to get to know them because they have like, 100 other fans. You spend late nights on their fan forum and they begin to recognize you – first by your username, then your photo, then they just know you.

But in all honesty, the fact that those 4 guys know my name isn’t even the best part. The best part is the community they’ve created, and the friendships I’ve built because of those 4 guys. This band is one of the reasons that my best friend and I initially bonded during lonely nights chatting on MSN Messenger until 4AM. I have phone numbers in my contact list stretching from Surrey, BC to London, ON to who-knows-where in New Brunswick even thought I’ve never been to those places, because I’ve had the opportunity to meet other fans from across the country. I’ve made some genuine, lifelong friends and I don’t know if I otherwise would have ever met half of these people. Hedley did that for me.

There’s so much I need to thank these guys for – friendships forged, memories made and life lessons learned. They are always there for me in a way that I can’t explain. They somehow seem to always know what to say and when it needs to be said. I am so genuinely proud of these 4 boys for growing from a shitty garage band to an amazing, refined talent, and I’m insanely lucky for having them to grow up with. They’ve challenged and shaped me in a really weird way and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Remember you matter.
Remember they don’t

-jwh

More Than An Icon

[originally published 5 months ago on stephaniefaye.sbvtle.com]

friends

I have a belief that no one has very many ‘all time favourites’; you only get two or three. For the most part, as you grow and change in your tastes, you leave things behind – music you used to listen to on a loop, books you read again and again, until the spine cracked – one day, you just don’t love them as much as you used to. It’s fun to revisit old mix CD’s and remember that time in your life, but try as you might, you’ll never appreciate those songs as much as you did all those years ago. I have three tried and true all time favourites. The Lion King is my all time favourite movie. She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5 is my all time favourite song (as much as I try to convince you it’s Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash or Hey Jude by The Beatles… I’m lying).  And FRIENDS is my all time favourite TV show. It’s what I watch when I’m sad, or when I’m sick, or on a rainy Thursday evening. It’s been my comfort over countless nights of not sleeping.  It’s truly a safe haven for me. It’s something that will always calm me down, make me laugh and help me solve whatever problems I’m having. It’s something that’s always there for me. *Cue air guitar riffs* I’m only 23 years old, so I didn’t watch the show much as it was airing. My cousins were obsessed, though. They got me the first two seasons for my twelfth birthday, and I was absolutely hooked after that. I remember the night that the finale aired, and despite the fact that my knowledge of the show didn’t hold much past the first two seasons, I watched it twice, and cried both times. I cried because Monica and Chandler had twins (the fact that Monica and Chandler got married was surprising, but I rolled with it). I cried because Phoebe finally got her normal happily-ever-after. I cried because Joey had more poultry in his life. And of course, I cried because Rachel got off that damn plane. The fact that I cried along with 52.46 million other people shows exactly how powerful this show was. I’m not the only person this show had such an incredible impact on, there are millions of others who are so thankful that this show exists. FRIENDS taught me to enjoy life, to make the most of everything I have, that love is worth working your ass off for, that there’s nothing a good cup of coffee can’t fix, and that it’s okay to be miserable sometimes when you have the best group of people around you to pick you up. Thank you Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright. Thank you for creating this world for us to fall into. Thank you to all of the writers for shaping such a witty, clever, and real script. And of course, thank you to David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston for bringing all of it to life; for coming through my television screen and giving me genuine happiness. I suppose for everything you’ve given me over the last 20 years, I’ll forgive you for not doing a reunion.