Jeremy Forrest, The Pupil-Loving Runaway Teacher, Is a Singer
Let's face it, if there are two professions known for dipping below the age barrier, they're musicians and teachers. Jeremy Forrest (who performs under the stage name Jeremy Ayre), the 30-year-old teacher who left his wife in Eastbourne to catch the ferry to Europe with his 15-year-old student, Megan Stammers, was both of these things. AND YET THE POLICE DID NOTHING TO ARREST HIM BEFORE HE COMMITTED HIS CRIME.
I'm not saying anybody who marks exam papers and plays an acoustic guitar wants to run away to France with children, but hey, evidently at least one of them did.
It has to be said, though, that traditionally, when society judges musicians who screw kids, their talent has some bearing on the immorality of the crime. If you're an R Kelly, Jerry Lee Lewis-style genius, it's kinda fine. You'll have a slew of cheap jokes made about you, but you'll still be appreciated by the tastemakers. If you're Gary Glitter, however, whose output is limited to a few rousing but generic glam-rock stompers, you're public enemy number one.
So, now that Jeremy Ayre's music has surfaced, are we going to see him exonerated by his talent, backed by his fellow singer-songwriters like an acoustic Polanski? Or will he remain a tabloid hate creep?
Let's have a listen to his tunes and find out.
"Arrows and Hearts"
This one has a weird quiet/loud sound to it, a bit like Xiu Xiu or that song that Adam Sandler sings in The Wedding Singer about how he hates love. Ayre chugs away on muted chords and winges over it like a preteen Conor Oberst. It isn't very good. In fact, the most interesting thing about it are the lyrics. I'd like to think I've listened to enough hip-hop to be able to separate the man from the murder fantasy, but "my hands round your neck, your face turns blue" and "the blood's coming easy, now I squeeze it out" aren't doing much for Jeremy's "decent guy" case.
"All My Friends Are Astronauts"
Nope, not a space-funk take on Less Than Jake's seminal "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads", but another acoustic number. Helpfully, Jeremy describes this one as "about feeling a bit dead inside, slightly geeky and not really relating to people very well". Think of it as somewhere between Newton Faulkner and Skee-Lo, then. This one doesn't even do quiet/loud, just quiet/quiet and, once again, it's the lyrics that prove to be the biggest sell, as he cheerfully sings: "My girlfriend's nothing but a corpse". :( Jeremy.
"The Things We Do"
Sadly I can't really work out the lyrics to this one, as the engineer appears to have turned up the "Elliot Smith-iser" to 11. It's a fairly standard ballad musically, pretty much exactly what you'd imagine your maths teacher's music to sound like.
There's some other songs on there, but I can't really think of anything interesting to say about them. Overall, it's a bit X Factor 28s and overs. The lyrics are maaaaaaaybe troubling at a stretch, but only really when you put them in context with what he's currently up to. Does it tell us anything about the man or his crime? Yes, but not a lot. All we know is that he takes himself quite seriously, is a bit lame and a bit desperate.
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