Mr Brightside: Air guitar

Dan Leigh 29 April 2014

"When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead" – Barney Stinson

The grim combination of revision, exams and sunshine from behind a closed window can sometimes get us down. Every week I’ll be trying to lighten the mood with reminders of why life is still worth living. Do try these at home.

Air guitar

I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping;
Still my guitar gently weeps
-The Beatles

I don’t know if there was ever an era when this was a customary pastime, but whoever decreed that it was socially unacceptable is thoroughly pernicious. Air guitar is one of the simplest and most enjoyable pleasures and no one should feel intimidated by this horrible culture of intolerance that greets any mention of an imaginary shredding session.

All you need is air. Air and hands. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s one of the most a basic human instincts: when I was first introduced to ‘rock’ music (my first tape being Meat Loaf’s Greatest Hits) I instantly felt this uncontrollable urge to copy what (I thought) was going on with the instrumentals. It was a beautiful moment; my parents wept when they saw it.

One may be tempted to justify air guitar by talking about it in terms of exercise, or even that there is an official Air Guitar World Championships held annually, but the only justification needed is that it is super awesome fun. No one has ever been sad whilst air guitaring. It would not be possible.

As something to get you through exam time, air guitar is perfect, yet I would encourage you to make it a fundamental part of everyday life. Have no fear of public disapproval: they are only jealous.  Air guitar sticks two fingers up at rigid propriety. It breaks through the screen of boredom, fostered by misguided desires to be cool and inoffensive, and releases the dreamer into a realm of pure ecstasy. It demolishes Beckett’s ‘Habit’ and Bourdieu’s ‘habitus’ and grasps that elusive metaphysical Truth. It reaches for that rainbow and grasps it with both hands. Air guitar is the Truth.

 No talent needed. Image Credit:Benimoto

And here’s a playlist to help you on your quest. Obviously there are your Led Zeppelins, ACDCs and Guns N Roses to be getting on with too, but here are some perhaps more ‘alternative’ ideas:

Freak Scene by Dinosaur Jr.
Fuzzy guitars and an awesome solo from the young reptilians.

No Sleep Til Brooklyn by Beastie Boys
A powerhouse riff from the white rapping maestros.

Death on the Stairs by The Libertines
100mph indie rock to set the pulse racing.

Alive by Pearl Jam
Probably one for after the exams, if we make it that is.

Pepper by Butthole Surfers
Don’t be put off by their name.

Just by Radiohead
The awesome power of the diminished scale, and a decent solo to finish.

Slither by Velvet Revolver
What happened when Guns N Roses and Stone Temple Pilots had a baby.

Been Caught Stealing by Jane’s Addiction
Wonderful solos from Dave Navarro.

Bodhisattva by Steely Dan
Even better solos from Walter Becker.

Born Under A Bad Sign by Albert King
A moody blues to finish, containing the wonderful line ‘if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all’.