Music – it may well be the food of love, but it’s certainly the food of memories
From squeezing my European bottom into a tiny Vietnamese plastic café chair by the side of Highway One, while ‘Hotel California’ blared from a transistor radio, to squatting in a light aircraft 10,000 feet above the Namibian desert, seconds before skydiving, singing along to ‘Beautiful Day’….or motoring along Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles listening to the monotonous ‘Around the World’, or watching a python slither across the road in front of me whilst I ambled in the hot sunshine in the outback around Sydney, humming ‘She Will be Loved’ after hearing it on the car radio, to feeling stunned by hearing Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ over the tannoy in a crowded Chinese railway station….these, and many more, are memories stirred anew each time I hear certain songs.
Some songs make me cry all over again, others confirm my love of my life and my deep gratitude for it. Yet others fill me with nostalgia. What would I do without music, and dancing, and singing, and tapping my feet?
I wonder which came first: the memorable moment, or the music? Was it the strong emotion I was feeling when I heard the song that has me experience it again and again, or was it the song that burned the moment forever into my brain? I will always associate ‘Dreams can come True’ with pain, whereas the song itself is optimistic. ‘It’s Not Over’ has me filled with passion for a hopeless infatuation that lasted for years; ‘Seven Seconds’ takes me to my bed, the morning after successfully seducing…well, that’s for me to know and you to guess at. I used to leap around the house shrieking to ‘Ride on Time’ whilst my kids howled with laughter. Then there was the excitement, the anticipation, the wonderment of our first day in Goa, watching marijuana-zonked hippies sway to ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ in a shabby wooden café where skinny cows strolled in and out, looking as stoned as the human patrons.
Such mixed emotions rise up when I hear Enigma’s ‘I love you I’ll kill you’: the brain orgasm of the guitar riff, the desperation of the lyrics about loneliness. I wept many times listening to that, totally connected with the confusion it expresses.
Whenever I hear ‘Pure Shores’, I’m back on the beach in Thailand, floating in the surf as it breaks onto the sand, thinking it could not be possible to feel any happier without bursting. And it all began with ‘It’s my Life’, when Talk Talk gave me the idea that I had alternatives, that life didn’t have to be the way I expected it to be, and that I could choose.
All the above songs are from the era 1984-2006, spanning a period of twenty two years. Whilst not necessarily the best years of my life, they are certainly the most memorable, and the ones that influenced me the most. During those years I travelled the world, transformed myself, and had a complete bloody ball!
Hotel California by Eagles, Vietnam 1997
Beautiful Day by U2, Namibia 2001
Around the World by Daft Punk, Los Angeles 1997
She will be Loved by Maroon Five, Sydney 2005
Lose Yourself by Eminem, Shanghai 2006
Dreams can Come True by Gabrielle, Guernsey Christmas 1992
It’s Not Over by Grace, Guernsey 1995
Seven Seconds by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry, Guernsey 1994
Ride on Time by Black Box, Guernsey 1990
Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd, Goa 1997
I love you I’ll kill you by Enigma, Guernsey 1993
Pure Shores by All Saints, Thailand 1999
It’s my Life by Talk Talk, Guernsey 1984