I did not much enjoy being 18 years old. I was pale, freckled and not exactly supermodel-thin. I was rubbish at talking to boys. A holiday spent in the South of France, laying by and frolicking in pools and generally being cool was somewhat akin to torture for me at this age. But it was a far more beautiful place to feel awkward than the drizzly Midlands and so, when invited out to stay at a friend's chateau with friends and a group of only vaguely known boys, I went. I spent the week hidden behind a book, emerging for meals and taking pains to avoid any wearing of bikinis. Whatever we were doing there was usually music blaring from a mini-disc player (yes, we're talking the pre-iPod era here); trashy pop, pretentious indie, cringy, vaguely misogynistic rap. I can recall practically every over-played track that soundtracked that holiday. Including one song that seemed to me peculiarly short. In fact it was little more than an extended guitar solo. But what a riff it was; a strong throbbing bass, and the at first delicate, flickering drums over the top. It was played endlessly over the week and I never tired of those bass notes. Finally inquiring, and looking like a deeply uncultured idiot in the process no doubt, what it was I was told, somewhat condescendingly, that this was 'The Chain'. I didn't dare ask who the artist was.