Like most of my blogs, this one has had a couple of versions. When I started writing it, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a bit of a grumpy place. I’m still in the throes of drug withdrawal symptoms and my mood swings would be seriously impressive if they weren’t so horrible (this will also, I hope, let you excuse me for it being a bit all over the place 😬). Anyway, this began as a bit of a rant about how I didn’t ‘do’ music during and following the events of my last two relationships. Which is partly true (you will still see some of the angry stuff in here)(well, it wouldn’t be one of my blogs without them, would it?) but I think the final version has mellowed into something that is a little bit happier 😃
If Music Be The Food Of Love – Famine or Feast edition 😉
It was a Sunday morning. And I was trying to cheer myself up by doing a bit of kitchen dancing to one of my music playlists (as you do) 💃 They say you should ‘fake it till you make it’, and this definitely works for me now. I love putting ‘My Happy Stuff’ on shuffle, because I get a bit of variety – all my favourite tunes from the last 60 years interspersed with the soundtrack of Lord of the Rings and occasional chapters of a Harry Potter book (these are from before I figured out how my technology works – and I’ve just left them there, for sentimental reasons 😂). It’s damn near perfect 😆
On this particular morning, as the songs rolled on, I realised how most of the music was pre-1994. There was nothing there that came from after I met Sarah. And my negative train of thought (dangerous things, those trains 😳) took me to a place where I remembered being constantly annoyed with her for never being able to play all this music when we were at home together. And remembering the same thing going on with my last girlfriend 😡
I’m not someone who has ever been a serious music buff. I never fell into the John Peel mode of following all the new bands and finding out what the next big thing is (or what I ‘should’ be listening to, to be one of the cool gang). But I always knew what I liked (and what I didn’t) and enjoyed singing loudly and tunelessly in the car. In the days before the back pain thing set in, I also loved going to gigs – I was at Knebworth to see Led Zeppelin, saw Queen at the Apollo in Glasgow and there was Live Aid, of course. Not forgetting the scary/brilliant sensation (also at the Apollo) of the balcony bouncing as hundreds of Status Quo fans jumped up and down! Sadly I can’t do live music any more unless the gig is seated – and sitting down gigs are never as much fun 😕
Looking back it felt as though, between the 18 years of that relationship and the debacle of the rebound one that followed, I had lost music from my life altogether. Sarah had music in her very soul. She hated anything she considered mainstream – it had to be things that were new. Things that other people hadn’t discovered yet. And it’s not that I actually hated any of her choices (mostly) – some of it was great and has stayed with me (as will be explained). That relationship started in the early days of music being mobile. It wasn’t as easy to listen on the go as it is now. So most of the music that was played, was played at home. But, when an album went on, it never seemed to be one of mine that was playing. And once it was clear that she wasn’t exactly overjoyed at my (old 😉) music, I started to only listen to my stuff when she wasn’t there – which wasn’t often. Eventually I stopped playing my music at all. I’d tell her (and myself) that music has never been important to me. And I think I actually started to believe it.
After we broke up (and as I healed and got past the stage where ANY song reminded me of her in one way or another), my music very gradually started to come back into my life. I started listening to music radio again. But then I fell in love – with someone with a huge musical life 🙄. And off I went again. One of the stranger moments – in a sea of strange moments in that relationship – was sitting at home, happily enjoying one of my own choices from the Sonos playlist I was setting up. Then I got a text from her, commenting on the song and laughing about it. This was when she was at work, miles away, but tuned in to all the remote network stuff at home. That was seriously creepy 😳. And, because my choices of music seemed to be hilarious and less ‘valid’ than hers, I went back into ‘let’s just play your stuff’ mode. When you love someone and they love something so much, it seems easier to let things go. And watching her create her own music genuinely made me very happy, so I focussed on that. Even when I was doing all that driving up and down the A1(M) I had a CD that she had made up for me to listen to 😆
So, for nearly 25 years, I allowed my choices of music to be secondary to my significant others’. But very, very slowly over the last couple of years, the music’s crept back. It’s been brilliant to figure out this new technology thing and to start putting my own playlists together (I’m a slow learner 😂).
My current playlists have a whole heap of songs that come from my childhood. (If You’re Going To San Francisco and In The Year 2525, for example) and some from my teenage years (much David Cassidy – my first and only true love) and a smattering of the songs from the long hot summer of 1976 (Chicago, Bellamy Brothers, Dr Hook), the year my life changed in so many ways 💜😢
And now I’ve even bought a turntable – so I’ve been able to listen to some of my ancient vinyl collection as it is supposed to be listened to – crackles and all. The vinyl has been gathering dust on a bookshelf for years and the spines are destroyed by assorted cats scratches (the purists would be horrified), but it was flicking through all those dusty album covers that brought back memories of so many people and places and the songs that remind me of them.
In my teens, there was Laurence, who sang Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline to me. I still sing this one for my baseball team (Go Red Sox!) and I think about him every time I hear it 💜. Charlie and I played Elton and Kiki when we sang Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, and lovely, lovely Tommy……sigh……he had me head banging to Status Quo’s Down Down.
In my early 20s, David and I had FreeBird by Lynyrd Skynyrd and I remember Stuart and I doing the “On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses” bit from Meatloaf (cringy and corny and stupidly funny – that makes me smile) 😍 That whole album takes me right back to parties in the Bellsdyke Nurses Home. The entire party singing Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad 😃
So, sometines it’s not specific songs, it’s the sound of certain voices, artists and albums that remind me of people I loved and all those important moments in time. Charlie showed me Janis Joplin’s genius and Stuart gave me Harry Chapin and the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. David gave me Led Zeppelin and The Who. Ian, who I was engaged to for a while (have I ever mentioned that I nearly got married to a guy 😳) was a huge fan of The Jam, so I got Paul Weller.
Then, when I swapped sides, I picked up Carole King and Billy Joel and kd lang from the first woman I fell in love with.
So, dear reader, there I was on that Sunday morning, kitchen dancing – and feeling thoroughly pissed off about all the years of missing listening to these and being ‘deprived of my music’ and I started writing a blog. But, as I wrote, it dawned on me how much of my music came from places of love. And then I started to remember the good stuff from the Sarah era and I checked my CD collection. Blimey, there’s some bloody good stuff in there!
In spite of having dwelled on how much I’d been deprived of, it turns out I gained so much more. The music she gave me is wonderful. It started with Bjork and Jefferson Airplane and then there was Radiohead and REM. I got Snow Patrol, The Reindeer Section (‘You Are My Joy’ was ‘our song’) and Coldplay (just the early stuff, because they went ‘mainstream’ 😂). And, for good measure I have a love of Bach Cello Suites and some Gregorian Chanting (I know – some eclectic stuff).
For just those things, I will always love what she added to my life. And now I can happy-dance to all the music that reminds me of her and other past loves without feeling any of the angst. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be able to play the song the last one wrote about me (although, as with most things, it’s actually more about her)(What? Still angry? Moi? Never 😆) without cringing about what happened at the end. Or maybe I won’t 😜🙄
I could add a hundred other things to this list of songs of my life – ones that aren’t necessarily about relationships, but still take me back to moments in time, but this was what came off the top of my head. So I’ll leave it here.
So, apart from realising that I had way more boyfriends than I thought, back in my yoof 😉, I think what came out of this for me was finally realising just how important music really has been to me. It has been the food of (and fed by) love my whole life 🎶💜🎶. And I have resolved that, whatever happens in the future, my music stays. No more famine, just thefeast 😊
So, from anger to contentment in one blog. Not a bad result. Thank you to the boyfriends/ girlfriends/ partners/ wife who helped me find the music I love.
Be kind to each other x