It’s a crazy thing to say, but in the last five years or so I really went off listening to music. I don’t know if it was because of the endless conveyor belt of manufactured pop that seems to be churned out these days or because I’m in an age group whereby I don’t get excited about things like I used to. (I’m nearly forty).
When I was younger if somebody said to me they don’t like football/soccer, I thought they were having a laugh; more recently, I would sometimes get that reaction when I told people I just wasn’t into music anymore. I’ve been apologetic for it at times, maybe because I couldn’t fully understand why myself.
Instead, I immersed myself in film and anime more and more. Especially with anime, I’ve been able to find those rare little gems to watch. It’s a feeling that is akin to when I used to hunt around in record stores and dig out a rare b-sides CD from one of my favourite bands. Such a thing shows that whatever the thing is I enjoy – be it music or film – it must have the capacity to connect with me in different ways: finding those musical rarities was just as important as listening to them.
It’s true that there was nothing stopping me from going to gigs or hunting around record stores, but for reasons still unknown my music tastes were in recession. That all changed recently, though, when I was browsing through the Amazon Kindle music store looking for something new to listen to when I found the first rock album I bought when I was sixteen or seventeen.
‘Sebastopol Road’ by Mega City Four was a seminal work for me. I was devastated when I lost it (and a number of records) in a house move during 1997. Over the years I would look in record and charity shops for it, only to give up hope and forget about it after a while. Then, after years of hibernating, there I find it staring alluringly at me from my Kindle screen. I bought it straight away.
Listening to it brought back memories long buried and reminded me of those awkward teenage years fuelled by the twin forces of wanting to be accepted and trying to find my own way in the world. Instant access to a database of thoughts and feelings that I can use for writing. Chuffed.
I started to remember other albums I used to own. ‘Doppelganger’ by Curve, ‘Spooky’ by Lush…. so many different memories attached to each record. How did I lose them all?
I’ve heard a lot about using your own personal experiences in your writing, it has to come from the heart, etc. Music definitely has a part to play in that.
So, although my music tastes appear to be lost in time somewhere around the early to mid-1990s, I think I’ve tapped into a near-infinite source to keep my writing ideas fresh for a while.