I’m a writer inspired by music. I do have a particular fondness for rock, but my tastes aren’t set in stone. I guess the melody and quality of lyrics stand out as the two most important features of any song that hits the spot with me; and there are also songs which bring back personal memories. I wanted to do a few blog pieces on music and how it inspires and thought to kick this off I’d concentrate on how music connects with places and events. Whether we’re listening to iPods, the radio at home or are out and about and catch something in a bar or restaurant, music is an essential part of all our lives. For me, like many other people, music triggers memories not only of people but of places and events.
Yesterday I heard The Weather Girls ‘It’s Raining Men’ on the radio and straight away was transported back to aerobics classes long ago. It was always the warm up track which then moved on into The Jacksons ‘Can You Feel It’. Ah the days of fitness and feeling ‘the burn’! And yes I did resist the temptation to go and dig out that leotard, footless tights and leg warmers! Everything was deep pink (apart from the leg warmers) and my OH used to tell me I looked like a raspberry!
I think one of my most enduring memories is one way back and linked with the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. Four of us were on holiday in Devon and found ourselves at a fairground on Plymouth Hoe. There was this one ride which I learned afterwards was called the Trabant. Our boyfriends decided it was not for them but egged my friend and I on (and paid) for us to take a ride on it. I should have realised the deviousness of men! Yes anything to get a laugh! Once seated a metal bar was bolted across our laps and I guess that should have been a warning of what was to come. It all started quite innocently as the whole thing began revolving slowly. Then it gradually picked up speed and changed motion. Not only were we spinning around, the whole thing was rising and falling and regularly skewing off centre. This combination of movement made us both wonder whether we would both reach the end without either falling out or being violently ill. Needless to say the title of the song which accompanied our ride said everything about the way my friend and I were feeling by the time we staggered off and every time I hear it, I’m automatically taken back to that event. Did I dump my boyfriend after playing such an awful trick? No, kind-hearted as I am I didn’t but my friend certainly did!
In 1983 four of us stayed on the Costa Blanca in a villa just outside Calpe. We took two album tapes with us which we absolutely played to death – Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ and Elton John’s ‘Too Low for Zero’. It was just before I got married and when I hear anything from those albums I remember the great holiday we had there and my wedding a month after.
Spain was always a favourite destination for holiday and in 1999 when we were staying with friends in their apartment just outside Marbella I heard Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Rhythm Divine’ being played in a bar and simply had to go find a local hypermarket to buy the album. We stayed regularly on that coast until 2003 but that particular song will always bring back memories of those fabulous summers there.
Not all holiday memories are good ones however. In my younger days I was on holiday in Majorca when ‘The Birdie Song’ was all the rage – something that was destined to drive eventhe sanest person mad! So there we have it, a taster of songs which trigger memories. Are there any songs which bring back any particular memories for you?
Next week I’ll be talking about lyrics and some of my favourite singer/songwriters. Until then have a great week!