Friday, 27 November 2015

Listography - Songs that transport me to a particular time and place

Music is something I can't manage without for long.  Other people's songs are shot through my mind as perpetual earworms or source material for photo titles, but recently they've become painful too and I'm sitting here in silence.  Silly really. But other than mainly instrumental stuff like the glorious Omega Massif, Maybeshewill, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky there's not much that doesn't either make me so hyped I can't work, or so sad I - you've guessed it - can't work, so I sit here in silence, safe from the memories or daydreams that come tumbling back as certain songs seep through.  Emotions in check.

Sometimes I dare to try and gain comfort regardless - journeys soundtracked by Eels, or the Wave Pictures.  Last time though, on the way back from London,  I wimped out and switched to Jay Reatard.  There's no being too sentimental while that man sings.

Here are the sparkliest gems from my recollection.

Adam and the Ants - Deutscher Girls
Well, I could have chosen Prince Charming which instantly sends me back to kneeling transfixed in jeans and fluorescent socks in front of the Hitachi TV with its warm up dial, buttons and sliders in a state of utter wonder and excitement, but this is more interesting.   Discovering Deutscher Girls was a surprise and tricky for an 8 year old to comprehend...but perhaps laid the foundations for me to be curious about music, not just disregarding what I heard because it was a little alien and hard to take in at first.

If course, it's equivalent to fluffy joyous pop to me now (as is Bauhaus's Kick in the Eye, discovered on the same Chartbusters compilation) but Adam Ant has been hugely influential to my taste - one sniff of Burundi style drums and I'm in.

PJ Harvey - Rid Of Me

Age 19 and living in a cold, badly decorated rented house.  My first job bought in just enough cash to live, so buying a CD was a big deal.  The stereo I played it on (CD player only recently deceased) was by far the flashest thing I owned.  This whooshes me back to Saturday's in isolation, freezing other than the warm dishwater, a stranger in a new village with a black and white TV, no phone and only music for company.  Not entirely a good memory but years later the utter power of her singing "Lick my legs, I'm on Fire" is just wonderful.

Soft Cell - Tainted Love
From the black and white Pink Flamingo mural painted on the coalshed of my Grandma & Grandad's house, to listening to it in my sunshine yellow/burgundy carpeted bedroom on the radio, to it soundtracking my first romance (of sorts) at 6th form parties, to it STILL sounding amazing.  The day this song stops making me excited at the first three notes is perhaps the day I should think about stopping breathing.

White Stripes - I just don't know what to do with myself
Curiously, this reminds me of being in labour with my second child, despite the Kate Moss pole dancing video.

The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always
Back to sitting dressed in ripped jeans and black tie dye coat on the lawn at school in the burning sun, with a loaned cassette on a Sony Walkman, watching people going into registration and knowing I'd be late but feeling that the song was too precious to move from.

I know there's newer stuff that could be included here, but these early memories aren't too revealing and have the benefit of having already been stuck in my mind for years. Perhaps one day I'll expand this to reflect how I'm feeling now, if I dare to turn the MP3 player on...