Sunday, 20 June 2010

The soundtrack to my life

Modji and I, Sunrise. Sydney     2005

The subject of music has come up a lot these past few days, first starting with a post by my sister who spoke of being transported to a different time and place and all the memories evoked when she hears a particular track. Like so many of us, she remembers getting ready to go clubbing while listening to the 'right' music at that time,  music to get you into the mood, hyped up and anticipating what might happen when the DJ spins his black circle on the dance floor. 
Then last night some friends and I discussed how easy it can be to connect with people through music, how a mutual love of a particular Artist can instantly connect you. How music informs and reflects your mood, enlightens your day or diverts your attentions. 
When I think back to so many pivotal points in my life, they always occurred in tandem and were heavily bound to music. In fact I could even say at times my travels were guided by music. 
Whilst backpacking through Europe in the early 90's, I used to drown out the night time youth hostel sounds and fall asleep listening to  Bjork, INXS, ambient house music and acid jazz  - all playing on my walkman. Tapes - weren't they great? You could re-write them over and over, each time you came upon a new sound that would usurp the current selection. Like sound layers, sitting over the top of each other silently building up an historic account of your musical tastes and discoveries.
And the mixed tape - nothing better than sitting up for hours making a mixed tape - THE party tape, THE driving tape or a tape for a new friend. I had so many of those tapes with neatly written accounts (often crossed out) of the Artist, Track and number.
Agh but back to the walkman - such a cumbersome, heavy, battery hungry device. So many travellers I met would rather leave behind anything to make their load lighter but not their walkman. Some even had Discman - even heavier and clunkier and the batteries would last all of about 30 minutes. But the music was essential, we would swap CD's and tapes, listen to new and exciting artists and experience bands that we had never heard of.
Later while travelling through the States, Mark and I spent 5 weeks camping  in a town, no  money and little food, just in anticipation of seeing Pearl Jam, who along with other grunge, rock bands - were the absolute essential soundtrack to our mutual lives at that point. Alas the beloved PJ cancelled 3 days out from the concert.
Once back in Australia after 3 years of travel it was years of concerts and music festivals and the rise of dance music - festival days, crammed into hot, dusty, smelly tents jumping and screaming with a mass of anonymous, seething bodies to an array of bands and artists.
Just recently we went to a festival here in Bangor - our first in a few years - and we were instantly transported back in time. We once again found ourselves in the midst of jumping, sweaty, exuberant fans all united by the  adoration and respect for the band on stage - this time Faithless. With their loud euphoric anthems, underpinned by heavy bass, insightful lyrics and a sound that simply defies you to stand still. The crowd, young and not so young, were transformed into a united organism all jumping and swinging and grooving as if we were all ONE. 


Karin said...

Yes music is pivtal to our souls! I couldn't live with out music and lyrics!

Mark de Bruyn said...

ahhh camping in Austin, Texas, the days of 'the guinea pig' - pharmaceutical drug trial days :-)

helen said...

hmmnn - I remeber hearing about that Austin stint too - kriket sneaking in and out of the park to avoid paying the camping fee - mark having heaven knows what tested on him in hospital!! and then flogging your apparently seriously ancient bomb to the poor unsuspecting ? mexican? was it?

And yes - the music always is one of the most enduring connectors to memories - even several decades later - I've pretty much decided that i have collected enough for thew rest of my life - I still love my old vinyls........... and tapes.......... and CDs - but then i get tempted once again - places and people come flooding back on the rythms and melodies.