17 Again: Seeing Japandroids and The Gaslight Anthem through two sets of eyes


I’m the eldest of three sons.

There’s a significant age difference between my brothers and I. My usual line for explaining this away is that, in a reversal of tradition, I was the accident. Anthony, who’s come to be known as Anton, is seven and a half years younger than me. Gerard, born in March 1996, is almost a full decade younger than I am, having been born in May 1986. The day he was brought home from the maternity hospital was the day of the Dunblane shootings. Our dad, picking me up from the school bus, seemed torn as to which was more important that I know first: that my three day old brother was home safe, or that, forty miles away, a man had killed several children whose average age split the difference between us.

It’s been a strange experience, watching Gerard age. Not only are we much more alike than myself and Anton, but the ten year age gap is an uncommonly round number for this sort of thing – for whatever reason, it’s much more jarring to realise that the equivalent of every milestone Gerard reaches is now a full decade in my past than it was to see Anton hit them. It’s been like a mixture of the end of It’s A Wonderful Life and a body-swap comedy: I’ve effectively been able to rewatch my own teenage years play out through Gerard, only with a new decade’s worth of technology, culture and political contexts imposed. Continue reading