Here’s another linky that I couldn’t resist joining. It’s been a great excuse to take a break from the relentless packing. The opportunity to blast music from the past comes from Nicola over on SimplyHomemade and the prompt is simple – what’s the playlist of your life? Songs that have significance because we associate them with times in our life, and songs that trigger specific memories. Here’s a selection of some of the songs on my life’s playlist…
Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Marc Almond and Gene Pitney
Certain songs conjure up early memories for me of sitting in the kitchen with a small static-filled cassette radio player. Painstakingly turning the knob a millimetre this way and that in fruitless search of a clearer signal. My finger poised above the record button in the hope that some chatty radio presenter wouldn’t ruin the recording by talking over the end of the song. Piracy in a simpler age. This is one of those songs from that time. YouTube tells me it was 1988. This, then, is when I first started listening to popular radio songs and began developing my own taste in music.
Mary Black – Song for Ireland
The first song that I was taught to play on my guitar. It reminds me of all the after school lessons in primary school. Just a handful of us perched awkwardly on wooden desks. Some were more musically inclined than others, but this wasn’t a competitive class. It was my teacher that set me down the path of playing right-handed based on it being easier to pick up anyone’s guitar if I wasn’t used to playing one restrung for left-handers. I still often wonder if I should have learnt left-handed instead. Either way, there’s no budding music career ahead of me, but I still enjoy picking up the guitar and (badly) playing the old songs on occasion.
Watercolours in the Rain – Roxette
Joyride was one of my favourite albums when I was younger, and one that was surprisingly popular with all six occupants of the crowded family car on road trips. Many childhood hours were spent in the car heading to and from holidays in Curracloe. Sitting in the back seat of our ancient brown Ford Escort with not a seatbelt in sight. Sweating profusely in the heat when the only form of air conditioning was to roll down a window. My younger brother sprawled asleep across us, damp heavy head on my lap. The car stopping every twenty minutes as my sister succumbed yet again to motion sickness, which only added to the already lengthy journey way back when motorways were unheard of. It was all long queues of traffic winding through narrow country villages. If we were lucky we’d stop off in Gorey to get a kebab in Uncle Sams.
Everything I Do – Bryan Adams
Here’s another song that conjures up summer memories of walking along the beach road to the Winning Post. The (only) local hangout for teens that was also referred to as ‘The Winner’. The kids clustered in groups inside and out. The locals, us regular summer residents, and the random blow-ins of that year. It was never quiet with the smack of balls on pool tables and the noisy arcade machines jangling and humming. The smell of vinegar and chips mingled with the smoke drifting in from the open doors. This song seemed to be on continuous repeat on the jukebox one summer to the point of not being sure if you loved or hated it. The Winner is still there, refurbished, still full of teens. It’s totally different to what it once looked like, yet exactly the same as it always was.
Head Over Feet – Alanis Morrissette
This song is all about the teenage secondary school years for me. A typical Irish single sex Catholic school with a dwindling number of nuns each year. It reminds me of the screech of chalk on blackboards and raised voices. The teachers of varying interest and aptitude for their role. Some feared, some hated, some loved. The hours of homework and study in practice for wrist-aching exams. The boredom of staid scratchy uniforms and packed lunches, filing in and out of rooms to the shrill clang of the bell. The camaraderie of cold winters spent on the hockey pitches huffing and puffing away those summer excesses. The brief summer afternoons chasing in circles for a game of rounders, frantically encouraging those who didn’t usually relish the mandatory sports classes. Finding and settling into groups based on various social currency only for Transition Year to rip them asunder and stir up brand new cliques. The minor weekly happenings of a large group of girls being blown up into dramatic teenage angst. Trying to keep track of who was best friends with whom this week, and sworn enemies the next. Alanis was guaranteed to be blaring from at least one classroom during lunchtime.
Four Seasons in One Day – Crowded House
Crowded House reminds me of my College years. A lot of time was spent on buses as I crossed the city in the morning, and returned late at night after training practice. There were all those regular travellers whom you might never speak to, but whose absence you would note on the daily journey. Enough empty seats and you’d find yourself checking if you had got on the right bus. There was no direct bus to college when I started studying. The bus home to my house left from the city centre. Often at 11:25 in the evening I could be found jumping off a late bus into town and sprinting down O’Connell Street hoping to catch that vital last bus home. Frantically waving and hoping that one of the regular drivers would be on duty. They were less inclined to pull off just as you reached the stop and leave you stranded with a lengthy walk home. An mp3 player and headphones were a necessity travelling on Dublin Bus. Or just big headphones connected to nothing that still gave the illusion you couldn’t hear that racist scumbag passing comments, or the friendly but very tipsy middle-aged man who had decided that setting up two strangers sitting near him was to be his good deed of the day.
Drops of Jupiter – Train
This album was my soundtrack for Australia on a post-college graduation trip with various sports teams. We were in Melbourne when 9/11 happened, sitting in cabins watching the same footage repeat over and over as some waited fearfully for news of relatives. I stayed on to do my first solo travels up to Sydney. I explored while listening to these guys, and constantly looking over my shoulder to pass comment on the sights only to remember that my group had all returned home. After getting used to never being alone in Melbourne, it was eerie to suddenly have not a single friend or relative on the same continent. This was the short gap between student and working life for me.
Sad Eyes – Josh Rouse
You know that mournful look your dog gives you as they eye up that dinner you’re callously eating in front of them? That gentle nose-nudge to remind you that they’re still there if you try turning away to ignore them because they’ve already eaten well. This song belongs to our high maintenance but loveable dog, who has always known how to make those big brown eyes work to her advantage whether it be for food, walks or a cosy place to rest her head.
Fugitive Motel – Elbow
Brodie and I separately discovered this song when it was released. It’s the first song that reminds me of Us. We realised we were listening to the exact same music at the same time during a text conversation one evening while I was on work training in London and he was at home. We both tried to recommend it to each other. This was a very rare occasion where I was the one away travelling for work. Usually it’s me at home (now with the kids) while he jets off to far-flung places. We’ve since seen Elbow play live a few times together, but this remains a special song.
I blow you a kiss It should reach you tomorrow As it flies from the other side of the world
This is Beautiful – Tyrone Wells
Our wedding song. We spent an hour sipping cocktails in Mauritius and carefully choosing a wedding playlist that we were both happy with. This was first on the list as we walked out together onto the beach for our wedding ceremony. It’s one of my favourite songs. It’s also the one we chose for our ‘first dance’ back home.
The Bare Necessities – The Jungle Book
This one’s dedicated to my first-born baby. I used to dance around the sitting room with him when he was too young to walk. He practised his wobbly first steps watching it play on YouTube. He still loves to shake his bootie to the Bare Necessities while his baby brother gives him the ‘you crazy!’ look. If you’re ever having a bad day then this is a tune to cheer you up. We all need some ‘happy songs’ on our life’s playlist…
Rock A Bye Baby – Wendy Wiseman
Hours and hours of my life have been spent sitting in a darkened room with the Rascal trying to lull him to sleep while this played on continuous repeat. He still has it every night, and will croons it to his baby brother while making it very clear that it’s HIS night time song. (Boo prefers Hush Little Baby anyway).
Better Together – Jack Johnson
We saw Jack Johnson in Dublin many years ago. He’s one of Brodie’s favourite musicians. When we took the Rascal to the Maldives on holidays a couple of years ago his music was always playing in the bars around the island resort. His laid-back style is perfect for tropical island-living. Now his music always brings me back to sitting in the shade with a mocktail or icecream cone and watching the blue ocean waves crash onto pristine shores in front of us. As for the sunsets, well you need to see those to believe them.
Breathe 2AM – Anna Nalick
I had a playlist of some of my favourite songs ready for both my sons births. It was never used in the hospital, but I connected my phone to the speaker as the pool was filling for Boo’s birth. It was playing away in the background during the labour and birth. I’ll admit I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to background music most of the time, but I do remember one of the midwives commenting to the other at how apt these lyrics were at one point. This song now reminds me of all that breathing it took to finally get to the stage where I watched my second son float up to me and take his own first breath.
“And breathe, just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe
There’s a light at each end of this tunnel
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out”
To Build a Home – Cinematic Orchestra featuring Patrick Watson
Myself and Brodie are fans of Canadian Patrick Watson. I expect the haunting sound of his voice will inevitably become the background theme to our new adventures in Montreal as we build a new home for ourselves over there next month.