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2. FTM Lyrics

Friday already, where did the week go? The Femitron show that seemed ages away, was suddenly tonight.

It would be cool to go to the gig feeling like I’d accomplished something. Maybe I could finish that song I’d started last week.

Now my band isn’t exactly what you’d call musical. It’s more of a vibe, or a concept. Like most punk bands, the concept is DIY. The point is to write your own stuff, put on your own shows, do your own recordings and produce your own CDs. As a band, you have complete control over what you’re doing and don’t have to do whatever the people paying want you to, because there’s no one paying, like a record company. This also means you don’t have any money, which is the downside of all this creative control.

‘Instead of fixing a new song, fix an old engine. Do it the same way every time. Then you get paid for it!’ Dad says, but he’s okay with my music, as long as he doesn’t have to listen to it up close. He prefers old stuff he can dance to, with Mum.

Back to my new song. I plugged my guitar into the little 15-watt practice amp and played a few variations of my new riff. Should have recorded it. I often forget until it’s too late; one of the variations on the riff will be better than the others and by the time I go to record it for later, it’s already gone. Grabbed my computer microphone, hit record and kept playing. Once it’s on my MP3 player I could listen to that at band practice and not look like a dimwit trying to remember my own riff.

Getting tired of just being riff-maker though. I want to add more of myself to the band.

I hardly ever write lyrics, which is weird because I write poems. Much better at coming up with guitar riffs than adding a ‘solo’ in the middle. People seem to like that, band and fans included. I have to admit it makes me feel like a ‘real’ guitarist, even if it’s a cliché. So, if I’ve come up with a decent pair of riffs that could pass as a verse and a chorus and can play them fast enough, that’s enough for a new song. My riffs often carry the whole song, since my band mates have fully embraced the spirit of DIY and don’t consider playing ability important.

This time I wanted to say something so wrote some ideas down.

F-T-M or M-T-F

Genderise my A-B-Cs


but I-B-M

Top it off with shots of T

I couldn’t show them this – I’d have to explain what it’s about and I wasn’t ready for that debacle. I could already hear their questions.

‘What’s with all the letters?’

‘Is it chicken, like KFC? We’re vegetarian.’

I could put it in my latest zine though, which is nearly finished. No one will see that just yet. Zines are how punks and activists spread their ideas to each other, even in this age of computers supposedly taking over our lives. Most of them don’t have enough issues to really be called a ‘magazine’ though, which I guess is where the name comes from. I have a vast collection of #1 issues and hardly any #2s.

I love making zines. Mine are mostly typed out on an old typewriter from the family rubbish under the house. I cut the typed bits out and stick them on paper then draw around them. My zines have had poems, articles, stories, drawings, mostly of made-up stuff and crazy characters. I never liked to put things in that are really ‘me’. But maybe now I should start.

I usually make zines with my friend Robert, who I’ve known forever. He mostly puts rants in his, about freedom, anarchy, politics, anti-politics or animal liberation. A strange mix. Lately he’s been driving me mad. Moody! What’s up with teenage boys? Fine one minute, all sulky and sullen the next. And this new thing about not wanting his friends to see us hanging out, even the ones who’ve known us for years.

‘Can you, like, not hang in so close?’

‘You want, like, a penalty zone? Like a kilometre?’

‘Close enough.’

‘Not many cars that wide, Robert, especially if I’m driving.’

Everyone knows he’s not my boyfriend and he never has been. Takes about ten seconds to explain it to someone new. He denies it though, like that’s not the reason. Sometimes I wish it was like primary school again. Just being a kid, not expected to be girlie or a bloke.


Lots of trouble getting myself moving to get ready for this show. I’d been looking forward to going out, but not to meeting or seeing people. What was up with that? My friends were cool, but lately they didn’t seem to get me. Knowing why didn’t help. Lying in bed in my underpants wouldn’t help either, but I didn’t move. I didn’t want to go. Not as Skye. But there was no one else to go as instead. Being invisible would have been better than being this girl. Then I wouldn’t have had to pretend to be female. Anyway, I was Skye the Driver with a van and a licence.

My phone rang to the sound of a snippet of a Le Tigre song, the ring tone I’d assigned to Marla. I grabbed it from the bedside table and answered.

‘Hi,’ I said morosely.

‘Jeez, what’s up with you?’ Marla said. ‘Are you picking us up at eight?’

I groaned and did what I always do, which is look at my phone to get the time, except that I was on it and the time doesn’t show when you’re on a call. I leaned over the side of the bed, fumbled around for my watch and hit the light button. The digital screen showed 7:35.

‘Yeah, I’ll be there. I don’t feel like going, though.’

‘Why not?’ she shrieked. Marla gets hyper before a show. We hadn’t seen two of the bands and one of them was an all-girl band, so she was peaking over it. ‘It’s going to be awesome. I told you about them and you said, “Cool”. That was your exact word.’

‘All right, okay, calm down. I’ll be there soon. Bye.’

I actually felt better once it was decided for me that I was going. I cranked up some Ramones to get dressed by. I put on two sports bras and pushed my breasts into my chest with flattened hands. The flesh disappeared a little. Maybe I could wrap something around them to do that permanently. Not sure what, though. Not enough time to work it out tonight. I let go and they flopped out again.

I put on my khaki-green army-surplus shirt with the band patches, and long, torn, black shorts held together with safety pins. Still cold outside, so on went my black hoodie with the barcode on it. It had hands poking through holding the bars like a jail, which it was. Being a slave to consumerism was like a prison. I’ve had arguments with my parents about this one. They would really like it if I got a nine-to-five job, but I don’t see why I should get one just now. I’m the kind of person who needs a better reason than ‘so I can buy stuff’ as motivation. So by September I’d done ‘nothing’ except casual work at the florist where Mum worked, since school finished last November. That paid for driving lessons and petrol plus a bit of board and phone bills.

Dithering around in my messy room for a while, I finally had all my accessories together. Boots, studded bracelets, chain with padlock around my neck, black cap over my hair that I never knew what to do with. Mobile phone, the new accessory for the modern punk rocker. Checked the wardrobe mirror. Not how I wanted or imagined, but close enough. I test-jumped up and down a few times, checking my wobble factor. Good enough, I guess. Turned the stereo off and left.

My first night as a legal driver. I knew where the gig was, blindfolded, but I needed directions for the other parts of my life I needed to visit, soon.

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