I don’t know where to start with the challenge of creating a soundtrack to my life. I have loved and listened to so many different tracks and artists over the time and many of have developed a personal significance to me. I suppose there are always moments which stand out when you reflect back so I thought it would make sense, rather than picking out individual tracks, to marry the music to my memories over the decades. So here it is: my love, life and music.
This really was my introduction to popular music and it came in about 1978. I remember talking about music at school and singing songs from the charts such as Blondie’s ‘Hanging on the Telephone.’ with a ruler as a microphone. My parents weren’t big into pop music and so my ideas and influences were really the other kids with older siblings who were much cooler than me. I tried hard though and was soon able to join in the playground chat about my favourite songs, learning fast that to mention ‘The Corries‘ and the sort of music that was played at home was going to earn me laughs rather than affirmation.
It wasn’t really until the 80s that I really began to develop an idea of what I liked and WOW, What A Brilliant Decade It Was for music. If I had to choose just era, the 80s would be IT; there was so much brilliant music which not only holds memories, I just still love the sound of. Drawn in, I was soon tuning it to ‘Top Of The Pops’ each week, and listening to the charts countdown on the radio on a Sunday while I recorded the songs I liked on a BASF C120 that I had managed to acquire from somewhere.
There are so many tracks from this time that I still listen to but it was the New Wave that really drew me in. Soft Cell, Spandau Ballet and Culture Club started me off, moving on to music by The Cure, New Order and Depeche Mode. 1987 saw me playing keyboard in a band. We did covers and a couple of gigs where we did tracks such as U2’s ‘New Year’s Day‘ and ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday.’ Alas all good things must come to an end, and a clash over the girl caught between the singer and the bassist meant she had to go. “The band comes first”.
The decade began as a university student with pretty eclectic musical tastes from dance to indie to folk, and ended as a mum, still enjoying a range of music and dancing with my toddler in the living room to Oasis. There was a lot in between, in life as well as in music and I think it was one of my more turbulent decades on a personal level. The sorts of music I listened to shifted with my polar moods and I learnt a lot about myself and what I liked and possible more about what I didn’t.
The club scene kicked off for me during this time, the dance scene coming and going as I completed my professional qualifications and became an adult. I discovered that living with someone meant that music became a compromise; we found a middle ground and my record and cassette collection became our CD collection. Again there were so many great songs to choose from it is hard to pick just one from The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays and Blur who were pretty much with me throughout.
These years were the most contradictory with The Best Memories Ever watching my kids grow, set against a backdrop of domestic trauma. My energy went into providing stability for my children, and while music was there, the soundtrack of my life was complied from songs of hope, songs of escape and songs which I used to hide what I was dealing with with a nice beat and lyrics I could sing along to. Circumstances meant that we were very much homebased, so the pubs and clubs of the previous decade gave way to dinner parties and dancing in the kitchen to the sounds of The Feeling, The Fratellis and The Ting Tings.
By this time the CD collection gathered dust each week and moved to mp3. This meant it was easier to shuffle a mix than ever before and so I could have playlists for running and play lists for sunbathing and playlists for parties with friends. In the end I had a playlist for HL as we met and fell in love to the sound of ‘Whistle for the Choir‘. I can honestly say that ‘my heart was broken in pieces’ and ‘my head was a mess‘, but by the end of the decade things looked like I might actually have a future again.
These have been the greatest years and I have been able to be happy again. I think when you are dealing with something difficult you can stop noticing how you feel and although some really good things happened, I had lost a lot of my vitality and was actually just existing rather than living. This all changed. We had our ups and downs as we worked together to set up home and blend our families but we had each other and that meant everything. Snow Patrol‘s ‘Chasing Cars’ is one of the songs that stands out, with the songs of Sia and The Eels echoing elements of what we feel about our relationship.
Of course I have to mention music to play to. These are often instrumental tracks from bands such as Pink Floyd but if I had to choose one memorable track, with an equally memorable event to go along side of it, then it would have to be a serious spanking to The Doors which built to a sort of climax for the duration of ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’. I can certainly say that the title is most appropriate and that is exactly what happened on that occasion.
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