If I like I song, I will listen to it over and over and over again.
Music can evoke such strong memories in me that I am instantly transported back to the place that I listened to the song most on repeat.
So, for example, when at the tender age of 14 I travelled to the UK with my mum to visit my sister (the first to leave the nest), the Christmas single was ‘Stay Another Day’ by East 17, who I absolutely adored at the time (and I even saw Brian from East 17 looking like a right chav while shopping in Heal & Co. on Tottenham Court Road – OMG the FEELS I tell you).
That same trip was also punctuated by frequent trips into every single HMV that I passed on the isle of Britain in a desperate search for the ‘Last of the Mohicans’ soundtrack, which I had taken quite a shining to. (Or it was Daniel Day-Lewis who I took a shining to – yes, yes I think it was. And I died with jealousy when big sis came home and said that she’d run into him on the street and gotten his autograph! Ack!)
Not only that, but mum, sis and I embarked on a whirlwind tour of England and Scotland, and in preparation for the trip my sister made a mix tape – which subsequently was the only CD we had in our possession for the next week. Songs such as ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’, ‘Miss Chatelaine’ by K.D. Lang and some Pogues I’m sure, I just can’t remember which one. Not to mention this awesome track – ‘Here to There’ by Michael Nyman, from The Piano soundtrack – which I can remember listening to while laying on the couch in my sister’s cosy and quite posh little flat in Fulham at 4am when I woke up with jetlag.
On a trip to Thailand and Laos in 2004 we purchased a few CDs and as a result the theme song for the trip was ‘Jacqueline’ by Franz Ferdinand. I still remember the first listen, laying on a bed in a relatively cheap bungalow up the hill on Koh Phi Phi, watching geckos run across the ceiling. Ah memories.
When I moved to Ukraine in 2006, the theme song for those early months was ‘Yankee Bayonet (I will be home then)’ by The Decemberists. It was a nice moody track that got me through the first few months of isolation in a new city in a new country halfway across the world. At minus twenty degrees.
A couple of weeks before we were due to leave Darwin, I was driving up to Spotlight to buy some fabric for my stash (a whole other story) when a song came on the radio – 105.7 ABC Darwin – that was just such an amazing song that I had to sit in the car after I reached the carpark and continue to listen to it. It was ‘Even Though I’m a Woman’ by Seeker Lover Keeper. And in lieu of having a theme song since our arrival in Dili, I’m still obsessing over this one.
There are so many songs in my life I associate with different times and places, that I couldn’t mention them all here. Although when I was drafting this post, I tried, trust me. In the end, I delved into my iTunes library and got lost for half the day, hence why I’m publishing this post a day after I actually wrote it.
And after the retrospective, I think I want to go buy some new tunes to make some new music memories.
Oh and PS – I still use the word ‘Walkman’.