Music and nostalgia

A bright and crisp July afternoon, Canberra.  I board a bus and as I plonk myself on a seat my iPhone accidentally comes on and blasts Daryl Braithwaite’s “One Summer”.  Not a fashionably retro song, but something intrinsically ‘dorky’.  I see a man of about forty a few rows ahead of me smile, tap his foot and mouth the words to the lyrics “… I’ll find a waaay”!  He looks back at me and grins knowingly at the shame of this song.  In the nineties my portable CD player used to unintentionally reveal my music taste and, though the technology may have changed, the results are the same – I’ve been publicly outed as musically uncool.  But I am not alone, I am never alone. 

My previous post may have suggested my music is limited to bubblegum pop or modern-country (god bless Taylor Swift).  It isn’t, but it is consistently unfashionable.  The Cure get as much airtime as Eminem, Whitesnake and the Beastie Boys; names that ensure my unpopularity and indicate nostalgia creeping into my playlists.  On Saturday I went to an Eighties Tribute concert and I’m counting the days until the movie Rock of Ages is released.  I loudly exclaim “Oh yeah! Remember this?!  I love this song!” and look around at my fellow thirty-somethings whenever one of “our songs” (hits from the eighties and nineties) is heard.  Thankfully, they’re often doing the same.

My date of birth and my country of birth are influencing my music selection.  Last week at a small pub in Lane Cove, Sydney, I was entertained by “Gav” the guitarist singing some Australian classics.  The sentimentality resulted in me dedicating an entire playlist to songs by The Screaming Jets, Boom Crash Opera, 1927, Hunters and Collectors, Hoodoo Gurus and You Am I.  I’ve even added “Bop Girl” (which has a very young Nicole Kidman in the video).

Young Talent Time” is an Australian TV programme that features performing teenagers.  One of the boys in the current series is fourteen-year-old Tyler.  He quotes Steven Tyler and Brian Johnson as being his inspiration and Axl Rose as his idol.  With sinking compassion, I realised that this poor boy doesn’t get to hear (as “new music”) the likes of Aerosmith, AC/DC or Guns N’ Roses.  If he’d been born twenty years earlier he’d be in music heaven, and have spent hours putting together perfect mixed tapes.  Instead, he must be wasting his precious youth …

Two decades of listening to extremely loud music from Bananarama to Red Hot Chili Peppers has resulted in mild early deafness.  My extortionate, but blissful, Bose headphones are glued to my head for about three hours a day.  It was a dark period when I put my Ipod through the washing machine and was briefly forced into experiencing the quiet, and frequently annoying, external world.

Nothing makes me happier than music (or a Step class), and that includes food and sex (ex-boyfriends will testify that I won’t sacrifice a Step class for hanky-panky, no sirree – there’s no competition between those two activities).  Though admittedly music has helped me meet boys which theoretically could lead to hanky-panky.

In keeping with my inherent geekiness, and like the characters from American Pie, I was an attendee on annual Band Camps. I played the saxophone and boys used to try their luck (always unsuccessfully, I’ll have it noted!) playing with me.  I did like one boy (Stephen) until he wrote me a note referring to his “pearents” …. I couldn’t bring myself to respond to a boy who thought his parents were pears.

Smell is supposed to be the strongest sensory trigger of memories, but sound must rate a close second.  Memories and emotions come flooding back from an array of songs, beats and melodies and I welcome them all.  I like to think my fellow commuter, tapping away to Daryl Braithwaite, may have felt the same.

6 responses to “Music and nostalgia

  1. I think our playlists would be very similar – love love love Beastie Boys (the earlier the better perhaps?). And my 80s vinyl collection isn’t too bad either 🙂

  2. Would have to say music for me is a bigger reminder of the past than smells, has to be Queen for me though.

  3. Matthew Wilkinson

    Whitesnake – God bless you Simone, clearly I’m not alone either

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