Lookalikes and Alter Egos

Music, like our sense of smell, has the power to transport us back to a time and to a particular place in an instant. When that music is live, the effect is more intense.

Thirty years ago, myself and my best pal, took to following two particular Dublin bands on a very regular basis. One band was Stepaside who had a weekly residency in South Dublin. The other was an edgier outfit called The Lookalikes, who played locally but also took us Northside to the Crofton Airport Hotel and one occasion we made a trip to Skerries – an enormous adventure for two girls from Dun Laoghaire.

Both bands were great, but it was generally felt that The Lookalikes were on the brink of the big time. The fact that they were a seriously good looking foursome did nothing to hinder this belief. My memories are of exciting nights drowning in the great music and the rampant sex appeal that oozed from the stage.

The Lookalikes unfortunately did not make the big time and had broken up by the mid 80’s.

They recently reformed for a one off gig in The Button Factory, Temple Bar, to mark the 30th anniversary of their coming together as a band. And guess who were seated just in front of the stage – complete with bemused husbands? As they came on stage and began to play, we commented on the fact that, in general, the years had been good to the guys whose good looks still lurked under softened features. Then conversation became irrelevant. The music picked me up and the guys on stage merged with my suddenly vivid memories of how they each looked in 1980. As the rest of the audience faded away, it was just me and the band – as it had always been. I danced. I sang along with lyrics I assumed I’d have forgotten. And the passion I felt for the music hadn’t dimmed one bit.

It was great fun which, all too soon came to an end as they belted out an encore and then were gone. I was buzzing and on the greatest natural high. Reluctantly I left the venue and we headed home to our sleeping children – old memories and passions revived.

I went into town that night a 47 year old, baggy around the edges, contented, suburban housewife. I arrived home six hours later in the company of my 19 year old self, who is great craic but a little wild. It was a most peculiar experience. I couldn’t sleep. Beautiful songs that had clearly been burned into my brain all those years ago, had surfaced and were demanding to be listened to again. They played over and over in my head, mixed in with scenes from those heady days.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and it’s rather pedestrian pace through school runs, children’s activities, working on the parish newsletter, baking and walking the dog. But since last Saturday another me has arrived in the house. She has downloaded The Lookalikes tracks and plays them at full volume. She insists that I try harder with my hair and put on make up every day – even if I am just going to the shops. She seems to be waiting for the next adventure to arrive. And she enjoys nothing more than a bit of danger in her life. She is a true Rock Chick. Great fun, but I am now wondering if it is time she moved on or back to wherever she had been hiding out.

I suppose that that will depend on whether The Lookalikes decide to gig again anytime soon. I hope they do. I have promised her I’ll go again. I needed no persuasion.

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Writing and Talking.... on the radio, on the telly and in the papers. Debut book out in Spring 2022

8 thoughts on “Lookalikes and Alter Egos”

  1. A wonderful bit of writing Barbara, you really made it come alive, I was almost there with you.

    Strange isn't it when our younger selves can be evoked liked it, music is so powerful in that way. I have had similar experiences and though the burst of energy that comes from those feelings is great. . . and powerful, it can feel unsettling, well it certainly made me feel that way! 😉

    It is good to use the energy to bring something new into your life, to kickstart something, to channel into something creative. I know that if I put on certain music, I would be back in a different place, a different time, a different me. Who needs a holiday, just dig out some music!

    I really enjoyed this post – thank you.

  2. I was there with you and you captured it all perfectly with that piece of writing..
    Hoping we don't have to wait another 30 years for a chance to meet our younger selves again!

  3. Thanks Susannah. Your feedback is as usual right on target! Unsettling sums it up nicely. Although the effects are beginning to fade now… till the next time… hopefully.

    Oh – listen – can you hear that cheer. Thats Rita… she wants to go again, very soon too!!!

  4. Hey Barbara. Did you not get a photo of the lads and how they look now? It would be interesting to see how the life of sex, drugs and R & R has affected their good looks. Seriously, I love your piece. It's a great bit of writing and I really enjoyed reading it.

  5. You're a great writer Barbara. A wonderful piece of Inner Child/Teenager awareness! The great news is that your teen idols, unlike mine, are still alive and able to reform. And the even better news is that you haven't changed much in 28 years…. you still Lookalikes 19! 🙂

  6. What a great post Barabara:) I could really feel the energy, I loved the description of your younger self: great craic but a little wild! the perfect way to grow up!
    I hope she brings you even more creativity for the winter writing plans you mentioned in a another post.
    Would you send this to the band? I bet they'd be delighted …

  7. Thanks Niamh – more creativity. I could certainly do with that. And yep – sent it to band and they loved it!

    Alison – good ole rock music great for doing housework to. I play Thin Lizzy (kids go mad and go out – another advantage).

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