I forgot my ipod the other day and so I listened to Plastic Beach on CD on the way to work. And you know... It was a sad sort of thing. I realized how much I loved Gorillaz, how much they gave me. I was in the fandom when the fandom was just a handful of people holding onto a dream that everyone else had moved on from. I found life in the characters, in the music. I found my lover from the well of words that spilt from under my nails. I gave so much of myself to the characters and they were my friends. I would talk to them late at night when I couldn't sleep. They would comfort me when I needed to get away from everything. So much inspiration was stirred up from watching their music videos again and again. I wanted to do that. I wanted to create something from nothing, create something that had never been done before. Jamie Hewlett and his team created hologramsso these drawn characters could perform beautiful music composed by Damon Albarn. They were Britain's number one creative partnership one year. I wanted that. I wanted to prove to everyone that I could do it too, that it wasn't just the silly dreams that all artists have. They made something special, and I wanted a piece of it for myself. And back then, when the fandom was small, I had it. I had a part of what made them who they are. I held it dear and it moved me in ways few things have.
So I wrote. I wrote the lives of these characters. I gave them depth, I made them move through words, I made them real. I knew I was just holding the place of their creators though. When Murdoc went on the radio and played demos for the third CD I was overwhelmed with joy. Finally I could hand the characters back and wait with baited breath as they were sculpted by the very hands that originally created them. I was happyto give them back because I knew they were in good hands.
When Plastic Beach was released I wanted it to be amazing. I wanted it to be great. I wanted it to be everything Demon Days was and more. Things progressed, and we found that this was no longer Gorillaz. It was simply Damon Albarn and all his friends. Hewlett, god bless him, still created despite being tired of the characters. Gorillaz was done and they knew it. Instead of the passionate two men who created this band, gave the characters flesh and bone... it was just one man now, the characters falling flat and fading to the background. I had given a piece of myself to them, and they dropped it. It was no longer about me, about the characters, it was about Albarn and his fans. Thousands of fans. I'd been left behind.
Slowly I stopped writing and waited. I waited for something, anything that gave me a clue the people I loved so much would return. The stunning animation in Stylo was wasted on the music it was set to. Gorillaz are a band after all, you can tell it in a few songs on Plastic Beach... but it's all hollow. At times you can hear in the lyrics, in the way the keyboard is played, that they're still there. Gorillaz are still there, on Plastic Beach, interacting with each other, living, breathing... But then it's gone. It fades into the background and suddenly I know why Murdoc is always drinking, why 2D doesn't want to be there. They're trapped there, physically and mentally. I loved them and they're there, bleeding the colour from their veins.
I gave so much. I feel like 2D. My story for him, I know it's true. He loved Murdoc in Phase 1, head over heels for him. They had a shaky relationship in Phase 2. The Demon Days, a hot, cold, burning relationship together. And then... then the band left. They fell apart. Now, Phase 3, Murdoc tries to cling to the pieces of the people he once knew so very well. But it's over. 2D knows it's over. Noodle and Russel are already gone. Now, I'm watching a sad man clutching the pieces of his career, of his friends, of his lover. But it's gone. Too much pain has left the singer broken, a shadow of his former self. It was 2D who wrote the lyrics to Cloud of Unknowing. He sung it and then couldn't. He couldn't let anyone hear his voice say those words... It was his life. All of it... So someone else sings it on the album that he could barely muster out.
In the end, we're different people. I can't help but feel I've lost something dear. There's no way to go back to what we had, no way to forget all of this and stay in Kong. It's in ashes. I loved them, but it's gone. We all know it's gone, it's just hard to give something that was once so special up...
On the cloud of unknowing
My world seems open
Every satellite up here is watching
But I was here from the very start
Trying to find a way to your heart
All the days are forgetting
They've gone out with the tide
Lost at sea somewhere, waiting
Like setting suns at the rodeo
Trying to find someone you'll never know
Oh, sinking love
On the cloud of unknowing
Every satellite up here is wanting
Waiting to see what the morning brings
May bring sunshine on its wings