Sex, Drugs and an Inaccurate Depiction of Rock and Roll Using Plastic Instruments: A Rock Band Odyssey

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Much as they may not want to admit it, at some point in their life everyone has wondered what it would be like to be a rock star.  What most people never stop to think about is how much effort this would actually involve: it would take hours of practice, a great deal of patience, and maybe even some talent before you can make it to the big time.

Of course, this isn't always the case

Since this all seemed like a bit of a hassle, my housemates and I found an easy alternative: Rock Band.  For about £65 you can purchase a set of plastic guitars, a drum kit and a microphone, along with the game itself, and play along to a selection of songs in the comfort of your living room.  It seemed innocent, a commitment-free alternative to actually learning an instrument.  We had no idea how wrong we were…

We started off on low difficulties, working our way up gradually.  The five of us would alternate between the guitar, the bass and the drums: the microphone remained untouched, since none of us were drunk or had the balls to sing in public.

We prefer to retain SOME dignity when playing our useless plastic instruments

Our other housemate, Luke, was our ‘fifth Beatle’, assuming the fifth Beatle always sat in the room next door to where they were practicing and complained about the noise.  We went by the name ‘Tommy and the Bedwetters’, derived from an incident involving Tom and a memorable trip to Jesters, and it seemed like the world was our oyster.  We landed a couple of low-key gigs in our living room, playing to a very exclusive audience of Josh’s girlfriend.  Feedback was positive.  Nick was eager to expand to playing sets in the kitchen, maybe even upstairs, to expose ourselves to a wider audience, but was reminded that we couldn’t actually make any sound without a TV. People would come from streets around to watch us play, and then never come back again when they realised that they weren’t allowed to have a go.

Success went to our heads quickly.  The rise to Expert difficulty saw a parallel rise in inflated egos, and soon we were claiming to be bigger than Jesus.  Josh dumped his girlfriend so he could start a relationship with Yoko Ono, who took to hanging around the house all the time trying to get us to change to left-handed mode and to deliberately miss notes for artistic effect.

We were one worrying step away from spiritualism and unsettling nude album covers

I developed a crippling addiction to Nurofen, since living off a student budget didn’t really allow for me to get addicted to anything stronger.  The side effects were devastating: rather than being in any mood to perform I was slightly irritable, occasionally drowsy and consistently free of headaches.  Our productivity sharply declined after I kicked Jack out of the band for daring to suggest that we should play real instruments instead.  Soon enough, we faded into obscurity, doomed to play at small festivals filled with one-hit-wonders and attended by men with out of control facial hair and no concept of personal space.

Well, that’s potentially exaggerated. It could just be that all my housemates got bored and moved on to FIFA.

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Editor and MA English student. Follow on Twitter @SamEverard1

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