“make sure you don’t forget me…” pop music, memory, and becoming a grown-up

grow up

So I was helping out for a lovely event yesterday in one of the fine museums here that was all about music, memory, and the things we collect & keep throughout our lives. It started (too) early in the morning with an active retirement group who brought in objects they have kept over the years to do with music, ranging from an array of 7″s and LP’s, to birthday cards signed by Tony Bennett, Al Jolson wrist-watches, and wonderful stories of pianos being brought outside for sing-song street parties after the war. I really loved the morning group. The facilitators had to bring along objects too, and so I brought the only music related item (non-CD/vinyl) that I have moved over here – a little notebook that had found its way here by being stuck between some academic rabble.

Inside the notebook was all the songs I’ve ever written, from unused lyrics, to unheard melodies, some hastily scribbled letters & numbers on the back of envelopes, clothes-tags, stickers… It has become a kind of silenced diary, filled with sounds that are yearning to be made out loud but that will probably never happen. But then there are a few songs that have been heard, and heard in some strange places. I haven’t listened to or heard these songs in such a long time, and yesterday got me thinking about why that might be. The lyrics for one song were written on a payslip for a job I had many moons ago, complete with my name and my national insurance number, but what is even stranger about this is that it’s not my handwriting. And so I’m instantly transported & can suddenly remember exactly where I was, the time of day, who was there, how it was written…

Then there’s the fact that the actual date of writing is printed and documented on the payslip – May 18th, near four years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago now. Little did I know then, that sunny afternoon sitting in the back yard, that days like that were oh so very rare. And even rarer still, that a chance date later that night would result in the kind of first kiss fairy tales are made of, leading to a hiatus in South-East Asia sometime later, developing a terribly sweet-tooth, and a marriage proposal (of sorts)…

All this change in only four little years.

So anyway. Here’s some of the words from one of the songs that I revisited from yesterday. Funny how lyrics can carry such different meaning with even a little bit of distance. Originally called ‘Paul Simon (I Love You)’, it was decided that we all felt more love for Chevy Chase instead. If you want to, you can hear the song here.

You say what you want to always… 

This is our one and only chance to make something out of ourselves

But still we’re trying to pretend that this was worth it in the end

As the sound of my voice rings in your ears make sure you don’t forget me

This is all I ever want for you

This is all I have ’til you refuse

Everything that once went through my head

The letters that you wrote…. we will…

This is all I know to make this true, this is what you said you understood

Things like this they happen all the time so let’s just do our best

To move on

mkl xx

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Doo-Wop, Sh-Boom, oh life could be a dream indeed sweetheart.

I’ve decided to learn a new instrument.

So, I start lessons on Wednesday, after I get some silly exams out of the way tomorrow (why am I writing here instead of actually studying?) I’ve been listening to lots & lots & lots of Tina Weymouth & decided I want to be able to play like that. So that’s a little project for the summer. (I’m not actually deluded enough to think I’ll master it that that much time, but I’ll give it a shot for sure).

I’ve also wanted to learn ISL/BSL  for ages now (I can only sign about five words at present), as well as learn Tagalog properly – I dislike not being able to speak a language that is meant to be half of who I am. So if anyone out there has any suggestions on how to learn any of these three things quickly and effectively, I’m all ears!

Meanwhile, I’ve been increasing realising that I was born in the wrong era (and the wrong country). My current playlists are almost exclusively made up of Doo-Wops, Shh-Booms, and Ring-A-Ding-Dings. Here’s some wonderful spring/summer listening that will melt even the  of hearts – Mister Fred Parris and the Satins singing (and dancing to) ‘In The Still of the Night’.

The song literally makes me weak at the knees, but the video is really intriguing for many reasons, of which I won’t bore you with now. Just go listen to this and time travel back to the 1950s…

mkl xx

The sunrise is just over that hill.

Thank goodness for the spring sunshine.

Out of the darkest months of hibernation, I have tentatively crept out and faced the outdoors. And it feels damn good.

I’ve been re-listening to lots of old favourite songs & albums since I got new ears over a year ago.  It’s been amazing hearing the wonderful intricacies in some pieces that I had genuinely never hear before, particularly in the higher register – sounds like bells, glockenspiels, triangles and the like – since my ears don’t hear things up there at all. But that’s another day’s post.

Today I’ll share a track from Cursive’s album Ugly Organ that I hadn’t listened to for the longest time. I’m filled with a fuzzy teenage nostalgia every time I hear it, especially when the ‘Doo Do Doo Do’ vocals reappear at the ending, counterbalanced with the little winding ‘cello motif. Just lovely.

 

So, incase you’re wondering, will it be okay?

You’ll find the answer here.

mkl x

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