Modern Music: a shocking revelation

Yesterday I listened to BBC Radio 6 and was pleased to find out they were going to play tracks from the latest albums being released that week. I was then surprised to discover that I was already very familiar with the latest musical heroes. After all, your faithful EBL is a person of middle age and now that the Offspringses have moved out (mostly) she is no longer required to pretend to like the latest caterwauling foetus that allegedly represents the height of musical sophistication.

The heroes in question were Bowie and Hendrix. The presenter also played the delicious Marc Bolan and T Rex with Get It On, so good for them. I was happy, probably deluded into thinking I was not much more than a foetus myself. Marc Bolan was my first big pop star crush, and my first ever single was Children of the Revolution (which I happen to think is a pretty good first single to quote when asked as part of an ice breaker exercise in another ghastly corporate scenario). He was on screen the first time I warmed up the cathode ray tubes to watch Top of the Pops and I was utterly blown away by his voice and hair and make-up and in fact his whole performance. It was one of those moments when your world suddenly expands in a whoosh! and you realise there is so much more than mum and dad have ever admitted.

Meanwhile back on Radio 6 I was pleased to hear some new-to-me bands which I enjoyed, and two of which I liked very much: Elephant playing Skyscraper and Jagwar Ma playing The Throw.

All of this wild experimentation began because I recently spotted the fact that I never listen to music nowadays. So that’s dealt with that. Tick. Move on.

But Bowie and Hendrix? Come along, you youngsters, surely you don’t need our beloved old fogey music?

It was class, though, even mint. Especially the Bowie, which was at least new, as opposed to the Hendrix which was obviously not. Oh, but the sound took me back!

Namaste.

Requiem

I realised recently that I very rarely listen to music nowadays.

When I was little the radio was permanently on. After tea when Dad was home it was switched to Radio 4 and the half hour quiz or comedy that came between the News and The Archers: the delights of The Goons, Round the Horne, The Navy Lark, Brain of Britain, Just a Minute, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue (Mornington Crescent, anyone?). With luck I would hear the Shipping Forecast too; the way the presenter rolled the names of the different stations across the airwaves to my childish ears was unforgettable. They sounded exotic and mysterious and places of adventure and derring-do. I don’t think I was far wrong.

So far, so speech-oriented. During the day, however, things were a bit more musically inclined and my mother tuned into pop music. I grew up listening to the charts even before I knew who the singers were. I could sing along to all kinds of hits without a clue – if they didn’t appear on Crackerjack, then I wouldn’t know anything about them. That included The Beatles too; the first I heard of them they were splitting up and everyone seemed sad about it, even my grandma.

I listened to music all the time as a teenager, because that is all down to DNA. I listened to it through university and later when I was pregnant. Status Quo was marvellous for soothing babies, with a good, strong and regular thumping beat.  I bought a Walkman and a CD-Walkman and a MP3 player for the commutes over the years.

Then the music died.

Something inside me just turned it off. I had a fresh major depressive episode and could no longer tolerate noise. Since then I have barely listened to music at all. We have bought a handful of new CDs or downloaded albums. It’s all on my laptop, begging to be played as I sit and type. It used to be I couldn’t put finger to keyboard without Beethoven or Bon Jovi to chivvy me along. Now, I just don’t want the hassle. It’s like a part of my brain broke and hasn’t been fixed.

In theory that makes me sad. In practice, it doesn’t bother me at all.

If you ask me my favourite song, or what will be the playlist at my funeral, or any of those random questions that do the rounds of yon t’Interweb from time to time, then I can furnish you with an answer. I certainly have favourite songs; I just never play them.

I can plan hypothetically for my funeral because I won’t have to listen. Ha, I could inflict Kraftwerk on the mourners and they would have to put up with it! Maybe I’ll have a separate invite list for the people who have annoyed me, and choose the most annoying songs I can think of: the Birdie Song, William Shatner, and Keith and Orville spring immediately to mind. If I die and you get an invite, check the playlist to see if you annoyed me or not. If it has Mary Hopkin, then I love you.

I’m not sure this matters. It may be a phase. Meanwhile I really appreciate the quiet.

I just find the change a bit weird. Have you ever turned round completely like this? Just curious…

Namaste.