If I get to bed late tonight it’s because I’m sat watching the one Linkin Park gig I went to on YouTube in its entirety.

It was Projekt Revolution in 2008 at Milton Keynes Bowl, and for some reason we were sat right up on the hill, not in the crowd where I have been for all my other gigs. It was the Jay Z era and he made an appearance, but I wasn’t interested in him. Another friend of mine was there with some other friends – he was closer, but he got hit on the head by a flying bottle near the beginning of their set and spent the rest of the night in the medical tent with a concussion.

Linkin Park was one of the first rock bands I got into, if we’re talking about stuff I got into myself and not stuff I grew up listening to with my dad. It was them and Nickelback, when I was 14/15. Me and my first boyfriend, still my bestie, we used to sit in science singing songs from Hybrid Theory and Reanimation. In The End, of course. One Step Closer. Papercut. That’s how we first got to know each other. Singing in science. My first hoodie was a Linkin Park hoodie. And then I was a “greb” or “greebo”. That was what we called emos back then, sort of. I wasn’t quite goth. We were one of the few greebos in the whole school – there weren’t many of us. Black baggy trousers, band hoodies, t-shirts, eyeliner, black nail polish. I am still very much that person. It wasn’t a phase – it’s me, and Linkin Park helped shape that. People talked a lot about me and my boyfriend then going out. We found it quite funny, and we didn’t care. One day on the way to class a girl pushed me and said “Get out of my way, greebo” and he called her a bitch and I shouted “fuck you” at her. It felt good to stand up for myself.

It was around then that I started writing song lyrics as well, and then moved on to writing poetry (my lyrics were very terrible). And I guess I’ve been thinking about identity a lot lately, like in the guest blog post I just wrote for A Chronic Voice. Reanimation was the first album of theirs I bought (yeah, I know), and I remember playing it over and over on my dad’s hi-fi in the kitchen, and while I was on the computer. I copied their Hybrid Theory album cover as part of an art project at school. I remember a guy asking me what other bands I liked but I came up short because even though I must have listened to others at the time, Linkin Park were the ones that mattered. My first obsession.

It’s not about me, obviously. Just thought I’d share something because, well. It feels important.

It feels weird, though. I mean, when you never had a chance to grieve for your brother because you never met, so you find it difficult to know what to feel about that… getting upset about the death of a celebrity feels somewhat disproportionate, I guess. But music is important. It’s so important, I can’t even describe… it’s maybe even more important to me than writing. The bands I love get me through so much and make me feel understood, and I’m forever grateful to Chester and so many others for that.