It was around the age of about eight that I asked myself three philosophical questions:
- Was I adopted?
- Could everybody around me be aliens?
- Why don’t I like Take That?
The first two I’ll never know the answer to but the latter I’ve worked out over time; Take That are shit.
I’ve consciously made an effort to stop swearing in my blogs since my Grandma shouted at me, but sometimes it’s necessary for honesty, comedy or dramatic effect – and right here it’s all three. I also presume that statement will result in various unfriendings on Facebook, but I didn’t get the whole boy band mania thing then and I never will.
Was it because my taste in music was so sophisticated that I couldn’t bear with the generic lyrics, matching outfits and auto-tuned vocals? Not quite.
Some kids start investigating music at an early age but I had always left the stereo selections down to my parents and Grandparents. I was brought up on a compilation of The Beatles, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and The Eagles, blended with Sunday morning classics from the likes of Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. And all of that was more than good enough for me.
I didn’t really takeover the cassette player until I was about eleven years old, when I discovered Peter Andre. (I know, much worse than Take That in every possible way)
His oiled up muscles were nothing to do with it, I just wanted to be a Mysterious Girl and learn the dance routine for the school disco. From then on I started taking an interest in music and thankfully, I think, my taste improved at least slightly with age.
I’ve been through all the phases. At first it was pop, then RnB and slut-dropping all over the dance floor copying MTV videos, then came pure garage and a little bit of ska. In my late teens it was time for house music; baffled by Scouse House, Happy Hardcore and Techno, I kept it mainstream although not really enjoying it all that much. I’ve never been into music that requires only the top half of your body to move, it feels forced and robotic and just a little bit odd.
Anyway, after that came my grunge and rock phase; a musical crush on Cobain, a penchant for baggy combats and far too much eyeliner for a blonde girl. This phase gradually moved into Indie and was when I made so many good memories bobbing about in filthy cave-like dives wearing clothes that someone’s nan had just died in.
Then there was a big wave of drum and base, limbs flailing left right and centre and my adoration for reggae and salsa boomed when I realised my hips don’t lie. I was also listening to all sorts of international influence from my travels which introduced me to my favourite band – Pink Martini. Mid-twenties was the Motown revival and a love for Northern Soul; I’d go to festivals where I was forty years below the average age and everybody brought fold-up chairs because they couldn’t stand up for the whole event.
My twenties was a decade of melodic investigation that is continuing on, although admittedly with less vigour, into my thirties.
The Sound of Music
There are two reasons I got up and decided to write about music today.
First of all I read an article about The Smith’s which plaited together music, politics and activism so adroitly that every sentence deserved a second read. I’m low on knowledge in this area so to me it was the educational GOD of articles and I needed a pen, paper and thesaurus just to get through.
And second, because last night when doing a hefty cycle through the Menorcan countryside towards Cala de Cavalleria chasing the sunset, I was acutely aware of how much easier it is to climb a mini mountain on two wheels when I pressed play on Housewerk or something else with incessant, rhythmic beats that coach your feet into pushing down hard on each pedal at pace.
So my curious mind started exploring the idea of a canorous voice for campaigning or a symphonious endorphin generator, and how music can also be so much more. I love that you can take the notion of it and shatter it into a zillion demisemihemidemisemiquavers of tuneful thought.
Soundtrack to life
One of my favourite things about music is that everybody has their own soundtrack to life and it’s a secret playlist that only they will ever truly know. It’s a playlist you’re constantly adding to with new songs that delight your eardrums for the first time and old ones that ignite memories or taking on new meaning.
Music can be a time machine. Every song added to your soundtrack of life comes with a collection of memories in the mind’s eye and tickles your sensory organs with recollections of the past.
You can be walking through a department store, a busy restaurant, cycling like a maniac through the countryside, cooking in your kitchen and if you hear one of your favourited songs you’re pushed into a metal cabin and transported back to the moment where you first heard it, or most felt it. Your body remembers almost every sensation, like you’re back there hearing it for the first time.
There are a few songs that give me goosebumps, but there is one song on this planet that is mine and mine alone. It doesn’t particularly remind me of anything or anyone, and maybe that’s the beauty of it…
Dorothy Moore, take it away.