Monday, 29 March 2010

Music: the soundtrack of my life

[First posted 16 February 2010]
Today I rediscovered how large a role music plays in my life, and it was refreshing. Using blipfm I posted a lot of my favourite tracks to Twitter. Many were from the 80's, my punky/goth/alternative phase! Dressed mainly in black, with spiky hennaed hair, I had a surprisingly fun time. Preston was a good town to be a student and the Warehouse was a great club despite the metallic dancefloor. With occasional trips to Manchester and Liverpool for bigger gigs, most of the bands I saw during this period were in either Preston or Ireland. I was lucky enough to be around when Killing Joke, Southern Death Cult, Theatre of Hate and Teardrop Explodes played the Students Union... thanks MB, you had very good taste, with hindsight. 

I find I can recall specific places, people and events when hearing familiar songs. A good example is 'The Rite of Spring' by Stravinsky; this was the music played as Siouxsie & The Banshees came on stage at Manchester Apollo during the Kiss in the Dreamhouse tour. First time seeing Siouxsie live, I was blown away. I can even remember where I was seated... to the left of the stage, about 1/3 way back. And everytime I hear that particular piece of music I am transported straight back there, in my long black lace dress and pointy boots wafting patchouli oil with every step... and yes, I had the silver bangle habit even then! 
Strangely I didn't embrace the grunge scene in the 90's at the time, that came later. I was more into the britpop and indie dance scene then. The influence of MS, I suppose. Though Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Oasis, Elastica were all quality acts, however, I still found myself drawn to darker, heavier guitar bands like Therapy?, Skunk Anansie and Green Day. I also discovered Led Zeppelin around this time, as, apart from the TOTP theme and Stairway to Heaven, I had never listened to them before. One double Remastered CD later (the one with the crop circle cover) and I was hooked! Kashmir, The Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker... these were all new to me. And there is something very special about hearing a classic rock band like Led Zeppelin for the very first time. It wasn't until the late 90's that I embraced grunge. 

New influence, PC, made me a mix tape (remember them?!) with Soundgarden, Screaming Trees and early Nirvana on. There is something about the grunge sound that reaches deep inside me. I love the soaring vocals, driving guitars and heavy rhythyms combined with dark angst-ridden lyrics.For the last decade, grunge and rock have dominated my listening, mainly via PC's love of all things dark and heavy. Korn, Monster Magnet, Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails remain firm favourites today. 

So despite my punk rock roots, I am now unashamedly a rock fan. New bands like Kings of Leon, Muse, The Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian are great, and sit well with classic acts like Thin Lizzy, The Doors, Pink Floyd and AC/DC. The iPod has changed how I listen to music, and to have tracks from the last 40-odd years nestling together, waiting their turn in the shuffle, is bliss. I can indulge my love of music, which began under the covers listening to Radio Luxemburg, then Dave Fanning/John Peel, by allowing me to choose from 1000's of songs, or by letting the machine choose for me. My own personal, portable playlist, available anywhere, at any time. This is the future, and I like it!

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