the fam

the fam

Friday, 30 September 2011

Lost In Music...

I've always been surrounded by music, it's one of my great pleasures in life. I have early memories of my dad playing his tape recorder (one of those old flat ones with the big chunky buttons) in the bathroom next door to my room. 'Blackberry Way' by The Move still reminds me of that house...makes me feel very nostalgic when I hear it and hearing 'Save Your Kisses For Me' still gets me teary-eyed!

I love the way certain songs make you feel and immediately conjure up a memory of that specific place in time.  I remember walking along a road near my house one hot Summer in the 70s and hearing 'You Make Me Feel Brand New' by The Stylistics blasting out of a kitchen window. Another random memory is a shopping trip (we did the Big Shop every Friday night) to Fine Fayre when my hamster had just died. I sat in the car park in floods of tears with 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon' by Dawn playing on the radio. Tony Orlando crooned along in the background whilst I cried over Hammy.
I was brought up on The Beatles, Abba and the K-Tel albums from Top Of The Pops (Unfortunately, I also remember a Max Boyce album lurking in the collection) but by the time I was 10, I began buying my own vinyl. My first single was 'Golden Brown' by The Stranglers...not a bad choice for a Primary School kid.

my first single
Sadly, my early musical tastes weren't always as cool as that first single and left a lot to be desired! Last weekend I uncovered some absolute horrors at my parents' house hidden (quite rightly) in a cardboard box. They included every hideous novelty hit from the 80s (remember Agadoo and The Frog Chorus...??)..oh the shame!! At the time I remember buying records from Boots and being so excited with my purchases, rushing off home to play them a hundred times in a row. I learnt the lyrics (thanks mainly to Smash Hits magazine..I still have some of them!), I learnt the dance moves and sometimes even came up with my own routines. My rollerskating routine to Green Door by Shakin' Stevens was a particular triumph (or so I thought at the age of 10)
horrific finds...the shame!
My early teenage years saw me buying top 40 bands of the 80s - Madonna, The Eurythmics, Culture Club, King, Bananarama, Dead or Alive. I was also a huge A-ha fan and collected all sorts of rubbish memorabilia including a pillowcase with the bands faces printed on it. (A-ha was my very first 'live' gig and I loved it!) I religiously taped the Top 40 on a Sunday evening with that same chunky tape recorder, desperately trying to cut out the DJs voice in between the records. Back then, it was exciting to find out who'd nabbed the Top Spot that week and it took a lot more than selling 4 records to make it to number one.

By 15 and feeling very grown up having discovered the pub (terrible at such a young age but one of the only places to meet up with friends at the time in a small town), my tastes changed again now that I was hanging out with a whole new 'older' (and I thought much 'cooler') crowd. Some of my new found friends were listening to Rock (sad as it sounds but 'Is This Love' by Whitesnake takes me right back to my sniffling teenage break ups), I also started listening to U2 - The Joshua Tree remains a favourite album of that era (With or Without You still gives me goosebumps), and 60s influenced bands like Voice Of The Beehive, The Bangles & Prince.
Sometimes, a song can also conjure up a person so clearly. I saw Voice Of The Beehive live at Nottingham's Rock City - a 17th birthday present from my boyfriend at the time. Sadly, many years later, he lost the fight against a 3rd brain tumour at the age of 24...'I Walk The Earth' will always remind me of him.

As I turned 18, I left home and went to Art College - it was a whole new chapter in my music journey. Lincoln, although a small city, had an amazing amount of live bands on throughout the year in tiny venues. I suddenly discovered Indie and Alternative bands and I was in my element! During that fantastic year I saw masses of bands from House of Love to Gaye Bykers On Acid and everything in between. Many bands played Lincoln before hitting the big time
By the early 90s I was at Uni in Manchester, just as the 'baggy' rave scene hit but it wasn't for me. I did go to The Hacienda once, but it left me cold. Thankfully 'grunge' came along and this was to be the start of a love affair with the whole Seattle sound.

I loved every minute of that time and watched hundreds of gigs - Manchester was THE best place for live music. By '93 I was virtually watching a band every night of the week, there was such a huge choice in small venues like The Boardwalk to the much larger Academy type venues. I saw Nirvana live twice and Jane's Addiction 3 times...I was having the time of my life! Other memorable gigs included Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine, Fugazi and Mudhoney. I loved the whole grunge look - I dyed my hair shades of red, I wore massive 'para' boots and I had my nose pierced. All my friends had piercings and dreads and listened to the same type of music...I even had a boyfriend who had 10pence dropped into his cuppa by an old lady as he stood outside a shop waiting for me...she thought he was homeless!
Reading festival had to be the ultimate weekend for live music at the time though. 1992 was the year that the Heavens opened and saw Nirvana headlining on the main stage for the Sunday finale. Kurt dressed in a lab coat and blonde wig, we threw ourselves and our hair around into the early hours.

These days, having just turned 40 and with 2 small children and a business to run, I hardly get time to listen to the radio, let alone go to any gigs, but I do have my ipod. I love how eclectic my music tastes have become - from Laura Marling and The Guillemots to Elvis and Andre Rieu, Plan B and The Arctic Monkeys to Faith No More and Muse.
In the future, I'm hoping my kids will have fond memories of our music (Alfie is already a big Muse & Jack Penate fan!)but I promise I'll leave Agadoo in that cardboard box.

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