Friday, April 19, 2019

Music of the Past

By Ashe Barker

Sorry to be a day late posting. Still, better late than never...

I have a crumpled plastic carrier bag in my loft. It contains my record collection, the 45s I bought as a teenager. They cost about £1 each back then, which was a significant portion of my disposable income so much time was spent rifling through the current Top Twenty hits to sift out my favourites, the ones I would invest my cash to acquire.

Of course, there were my then equivalent of one-clickers. David Bowie for one, Rod Stewart for another. For the most part, though, they were just an eclectic mix of catchy tunes I liked at the time.
I no longer have a device capable of playing my old 45s. Our turntable record player bit the dust years ago and we never invested in a replacement, not in the era of Spotify and digital downloads. So, these treasures of my youth remain in their carrier bag in the loft, hauled down into the light from time to time to propel me on a trip down Memory Lane.

I am  a child of the seventies, and I have other relics from my youth. A pile of Jackie magazines, for example – for the benefit of non-Brits, this was the magazine for teenage girls in the UK during the seventies, full of pop news, fashion and sweet romance. I keep them for old time’s sake, but never feel the urge to open them these days.

There was other reading matter, too. During my teenage years I loved the historical novels of Jean Plaidy, especially the factual ones featuring real heroines such as Elizabeth I or Mary, Queen of Scoots. Most of those found their way to thrift shops decades ago, to make way for the raunchier stuff of my adult years.

There was the television of the seventies also.  Sexy heroes such as Bodie and Doyle from The Professionals, or the more exotic Starsky and Hutch. If ever I catch a re-run on classic TV they seem so dated now, though I will confess to a lingering admiration for Martin Shaw.

I suppose we outgrow the icons of our youth. Time and technology move on, we develop new and more sophisticated tastes. We leave the past behind.

But not so the music of our youth. I might not be able to play my records these days, but I can download them and still listen, and the magic never dims. Even music that I considered to be merely mediocre back in the seventies, transports me back to a different era every bit a powerfully as my classic favourites. The memories they evoke are vivid, nothing is lost across the decades. Without You by Nillson to this day will transport me back to school, when I used to listen to it on the school playing fields on  a hot summer afternoon. The first time I ever heard Bohemian Rhapsody I was about seventeen. I watched it on TV, my three year old sister on my knee. The pair of us were transfixed. To this day, I can’t hear that music and not experience again the stunned amazement which engulfed me then.

Music has a quality which other memorabilia seem to lack. It never ages, never grows old, never loses the power to transport. It evokes not just the visual image of a memory, but the emotions too, the scents and sounds, the reality of ‘then’.

So, my carrier bag of memories will remain safe in my attic, a tangible reminder of an era past. But those songs transcend any physical form. Even though I can’t play a note or carry a tune in a bucket, music touches me more deeply than any other medium and I suspect it always will.

2 comments:

  1. Just a suggestion but either start or end your post with "by Ashe Barker" as the blog post gets emailed out to subscribers and the email doesn't identify who wrote the piece. That way the reader don't have to go to the website to confirm who wrote the article.

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  2. Music is definitely a time machine. Many songs from my youth are associated with specific scenes. Quite a few have the power to make me cry.

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