Reverie09 January 2016
I’m simply not going to list the deaths of well-known individuals during 2015/early 2016. Each has a place in my past, however small that place is. I have no doubt that all have enriched my life by some variable, though small, amount…
I led a happy childhood; not the rose-tinted view of a time ripe to be torn asunder upon discovering a dark secret much later in life, but a genuinely carefree time.
Allowed to play out; free rein to go as far as my and my childhood friends’ imaginations would allow us, we had it all. My parents, both working class (not that it matters), made sure I always had enough to occupy me and that I was safe…
There’s no doubt it was a different age.
The television then wasn’t by any means new, but I remember our black-and-white set and the occasional moiré pattern leading me to think colour was, impossible as it sounds, just about to break through!
It never did.
The number of TV channels wouldn’t have retained a modern consumer’s attention for more than a few minutes. Throughout the entirety of my childhood we had three (3) channels to choose from! My parents picked our programming wisely, using the Radio Times & radio guide extensively.
There are too many things to list, but a brief conversation earlier reminded me of the magic of 1970s TV. Of particular significance, though I wouldn’t expect many to understand why-for-me the unmasking of professional wrestler ‘Kendo Nagasaki’; an amazing bit of television unlikely to be repeated today.
To fill the entertainment void between TV programmes and living our lives we listened to the radio; music, lots of it, and BBC Radio 4 for talk, news and of course drama.
We had a record player with a storage capacity of, er… ok, capable of playing 78s, 45s and 33-1/3 vinyl records. Amazing sounds from a black plastic disc, and especially the rich, unsurpassable bass and frequency range when played on my Auntie & Uncle’s ‘Radiogram’; from-memory almost identical to the one at the top of this ‘Radiogram Days’ page.
Incidentally, rather than me telling you what my parents and I listened to, just take a look at that page. It sums up the era perfectly.
Ok, to give you a clue, my parents had me later in life than the average. I listened to a vast range of music, first theirs and gradually as my tastes developed…
A range spanning my Dad’s jazz to songs from the shows, rock & roll, classical to avant-garde, through the big band sounds to American easy-listening to…
Ok, given a huge range of influences I chose as my first single…
Elvis Presley’s ‘Suspicion’ - I suspect because, faced by the unaccustomed freedom and the choice in the shop, I simply couldn’t decide.
But then my teenage years arrived and with them the train-wreck of inevitability. Of course I stepped away from the earlier path set up by my mum and dad. Had to; to establish my sense of ‘self’, or something.
Music became an important part of my life. Unfortunately the path I chose through its many genres, styles, influences, wasn’t the same as my mates, colleagues, family. No matter, it helped my sense of identity grow.
Yes, I was a bargain hunter, regularly rummaging in Woolworths’ wire baskets to find the stuff no-one else wanted.
Earlier this evening, a little while before my Bluetooth headphones’ charge finally ran out, I was at a loose end and searching for something ‘different’ to listen to.
Looking through the albums I’d queued up on Amazon Prime Music, Isao Tomita’s Snowflakes Are Dancing stood out as something I’d grabbed to stream eventually, but at the right time. It’s an album of Claude Debussy’s music, Tomita’s being a 1974 electronic variant - and one I remember listening to as a child, bought by my uncle when still brand-new.
It’s one that captivates me still.
So why now?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s the right season to reminisce; and though year-ends usually bring out the strongest emotions, this music has opened up a good-few links back to my dim-and-distant past.
Its all good; it made me who, and what, I am.
To everyone who contributed to the making of this blog post: thanks!