Monday, 26 March 2012
New York, London, Paris, Munich, everybody talk about pop music
These trousers (and the wall) are not dissimilar to the colour of my legs, so despite the wonderfully warm weather, I can't get them out until I've slapped on some fake tan... I'm hoping to distract you from the dull bottom half by a frenzy of pattern on the top - has it worked?
1960s dress (vintage fair), 1980s sunglasses (vintage shop), kimono-style jacket, knit trousers, leather belt, bangles, bead necklace, patchwork leather bag (charity shopped), Art Company sandals (some website sale, worn to death)
The lovely Vix tagged me a while back, and as it's a music-based tag, I've tried harder than my usual lazy response (ie. complaining it's too difficult, I caaaaan't, and then ignoring it).
I'm not repeating all the rules or tagging anyone else, I'm just inflicting the tracks of my teenage years on you.
But it's been a tricky task, it really has. How do you narrow down your teenage musical tastes and influences to a shortlist? Do you choose songs which meant the world at the time, but you never listen to now? Or those songs/albums which you continue to enjoy? Oddball one-hit wonders which are completely of their time? Or serious musicians with long illustrious careers? Aaagggh!! I can't decide!
Now is probably the time to come clean and reveal how terminally uncool I am. Laugh all you like, I'm used to it. I utterly refuse to go along with the notion of guilty pleasures. If you like it, you like it - nothing to feel guilty about. They're only songs.
My grammar school years were 1976 - 1982. Just so you know the context.
Abba's glory years were probably the mid to late 1970s, and I adored all those songs; SOS, Fernando, Mamma Mia, Knowing Me Knowing You, Dancing Queen, Take a chance on me, The Name of the Game, Summer Night City, Gimme gimme gimme, Chiquitita. It's a shame they have been rendered hackneyed and boring by repetition and over-use, because they are perfect pop songs which take me back to the long hot summer of 1976 and beyond, to those early, emotion/hormone-fuelled years of "big" school.
My next selection is Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street. While my friends were donning ripped t-shirts and pogo-ing in 1978, I was in love with this song. I have no idea why a song about separation, deluded dreams and failure so appealed to me, or why a grumpy, bearded alcoholic Glaswegian bloke spoke to me in a clearer voice than the angst-ridden teenagers of punk, but there you go. I was an old soul.
Another 1978 record was Kate Bush's The Kick Inside. I loved this album, all of it, but particularly The man with the child in his eyes. Kate's work is unique, individual, inspired and intelligent. This song is hauntingly beautiful and I still love it, and her quirky genius.
Everyone owned a copy of Dare by the Human League in 1981, so I have to choose Don't you want me? I'm sure it was a subliminal reason for opting to go to university in Sheffield. I imagined I would be bumping into Phil Oakey in the supermarket, and he'd ask me to join Joanne and Susanne as a backing singer. I'm still available, Phil.
Songs to Remember by Scritti Politti was the accompaniment to my A Level revision. My mum insisted I couldn't possibly concentrate with loud music playing. I could then, probably couldn't now, but I still happily listen to this album. The Sweetest Girl remains a gorgeous track.
And finally. I first heard Dimming of the Day as an album track covered by Any Trouble, a little-known, barely successful Manchester band of the 1980s, loved only by me, I think. I adored this song, and noted it was written by "R. Thompson". To my shame, I didn't know who R. Thompson was. I went on to discover the whole wonderful catalogue of Richard Thompson's melancholy genius, with Fairport Convention, ex-wife Linda, and his solo career. Dimming of the Day still makes my soul contract with joy. It's beautiful.
This was such a difficult but enjoyable task - thank you, Vix, for taking me back! I wanted to include some Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, the Grease soundtrack, Gary Numan, Adam and the Ants, Blondie, Roxy Music, Fleetwood Mac, Robert Palmer, Squeeze, Any Trouble, Heaven 17, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood...
I could go on and on, and you'd all die of boredom.
So why not listen to the 1979 one-hit-wonderness of M? Shoobedoobedoowop...