Sunday, 14 April 2013

The tracks of our lives

How many times have you heard a song and it remind you of where you were or what you were doing when you first heard it, or of a particular event or person?
Ultravox's 'Dancing with tears in my eyes' reminds me of leafing through my sister's record collection, where I found many things that I still listen to to this day like Toyah and Hazel O'Connor.
Whenever I hear 'Atomic' by Blondie I see the club scene in Trainspotting in my mind's eye even though I loved the song long before that film came out.
At the beginning of the nineties I spent a great deal of time in my mate's barn tinkering with motorbikes. He had a music system hooked up out there, and whenever I listen to albums like Shamen's 'Boss Drum', or Depeche Mode's 'Songs of Faith and Devotion', I'm reminded of those fun days when all I had to worry about was if it was worth putting 98 octane petrol in my TZR250 or not (it was) and whether I would ever actually get laid.
Eventually that problem was resolved and Enigma's 'MCMXC - AD' saw many hours in the CD player.....
At school I knew a guy who played the drums (extremely well, I might add) and when I hear the last two tracks on Genesis's 'Duke' album I'm transported back to the time he played along with them. With his hifi cranked way up, he was even louder and while I watched his alarm clock dancing its way off the shelf, I was amazed at just how perfectly he kept up with Phil Collins. If you're familiar with 'Duke's Travels' and 'Duke's End ' you'll know how complex the drumming can get.
The first time I heard 'Sad Old Red' by Simply Red was on an amazing hifi system costing about fifty grand in Steve Boxshall Audio in Cambridge. For anyone that knows or cares, there was a Cambridge Audio CD1 (which at that time was the best CD player in the world), Krell preamp and twin monobloc power amps, and a pair of Magneplanar MG3 speakers. It simply blew me away, and it wasn't the only time that happened in that place. I'd go in there often and blag a listen to whatever gear they had hooked up at the time, and even though the only thing I ever bought from there was a pair of Tannoy Eclipse speakers, the guys were always welcoming and up for a chat and to demonstrate gear. Looking back I suppose they were enthusiasts who enjoyed their job and if there weren't paying customers around then perhaps I relieved the boredom a little. Who knows. Shame that shop isn't there any more.
The interesting point here is that all these associations are happy ones, and sitting here now I'm struggling to think of a single song that reminds me of something bad.
Maybe what this says is that although we find it easier to moan about the negative things in life than give thanks for all the positive things, it's the good stuff that remains in our thoughts most prominently.
It also suggests that music is perhaps one of the most positive forces in our daily lives and should be enjoyed to its full, whatever your tastes may be.