A thing I love about music is it keeps us ‘auld yins’ thinking young. One reason is because our memories are autobiographical, and cues help us remember certain events vividly. Smell is a cue (the smell of gorse takes me back to my walk to primary school, does it yours too?), as are sounds. A school bell. A song played at a christening / wedding / funeral – “birth, love and death, the only reasons to get dressed up” (Bills Wells & Aidan Moffat The Copper Top).
And so once a year, on our birthdays, my buddy Ian and I exchange three pieces of new music that we’ve loved over the past 12 months. Of course, being blokes, there are rules to be followed. You have to own it yourself, and it can’t all be same genre, so given we like lots of similar stuff avoiding a “doubler” is pretty hard work. But the process of finding that music is enlightening in itself and takes a fair amount of thought, research and planning. A side benefit is that it also encourages you to listen to lots of new music. Over the years our hit rate is really impressively high, though Ian will not let me forget the filthy electro of The Octagon Man’s Magneton – mate, that was 2003! 😀
Over fifty years or so there are actually very few songs I can say have had both an immediate “fuck me … what is that!!” moment and lasted the test of time. I’ll name six in no particular order.
- T. Rex Solid Gold Easy Action
- Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK
- Donna Summer I Feel Love
- Buzzcocks Boredom
- New Order Blue Monday
- David Bowie Five Years (thanks for the mixtape sis! 🙂 )
Image (c) http://www.instructables.com
Of course the observant amongst you will note that the last of those was released 36 years ago, but I guess the point about autobiographical memory is that it is particularly strong in our formative years.
Late last year I was starting to panic as I was running out of time to pick the birthday choons. Clur was away for the weekend and catching up with her brother, Mick, over an Erdinger, and Mick mentioned a band that he’d recently come across. Clur had a listen, agreed it was outstanding, and sent me a text thinking it might be a good fit for Ian’s triptych. The song was Protected by Thee Deadtime Philharmonic from Estate of the Heart. The lyric above is the first line of that song.
Time passes and I know Murdoch, the songwriter, reasonably well now – enough certainly to tell him honestly he’s not quite made my top six yet. (The competition’s tough, so I think he’d settle for top ten!). However I think he’s underselling himself. Music is about making a difference to people, bringing people together, making people happy (or sombre, or reflective). The thing is that it’s a personal experience and we experience it differently because our biographies are different.
Protected was a “fuck me, what is that!” moment. So my life path has changed in ways I didn’t think possible since I listened to those two lines. Or more accurately, hadn’t thought about at all.
I now manage Murdoch and the band. Clur, Mick and I are massive supporters. Murdoch mate, my message to you is that you have changed a world, and your music will change the world for others too.