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Music and Memories

Thursday, 14th May

In my last post I wrote about a book called The Art of Making Memories and how it got me thinking about memories and what trigger them. And then yesterday, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia for different times in my life and it made me think about what Meik Wiking - the author - says about music and memories. It's been a long time since I've listened to a lot of music. To cut a long story short, I had to upgrade the software on my laptop and move the entire contents of itunes and have never managed to get it back. As my dad says, 'only in your life, sweetheart.' I didn't know what I was missing out on. Yesterday I was reminded.

I tuned into my free Apple Music subscription and found a playlist. Easy Listening, it was called. Terrible name. Sounds so bland, and seems to sentence some brilliant music to a pedestrian reputation. Anyway, each song came on and took me by surprise, because I hadn't heard it for a while. And I found myself transported back, like with the moth balls (previous post), to different times in my life. Dido was my first term at Uni, getting ready to go out, and my friend Emma Kellas-Kelly. Because certain albums are also often people - especially if they were the ones who played it, back in the day when people had a CD player. Dido was also my loft bedroom at Uni, where I played her album, borrowed from said friend. David Gray was the year before I started, but he wafted into the first year of uni too and hung around for a bit. Aerosmith from a time when I was 17... Even though I've played the songs since, they'll forever be cemented in that epoch.

Sometimes, certain songs or albums bring to mind my much-missed friend Jonny, who I spent so much time with in my twenties. Belle and Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister does it, though I can't even remember listening to it with him. It just must have been one I played a lot at that time. Hallelujah will always be Jonny singing at the end of a night's busking in Leeds, on Albion Street, just between Boots and Starbucks. I miss those days.

Wiking tells of a lady who makes different playlists every few months, so that she can always remember that time in her life when she plays it back. My friend Melanie and I did this, though in a less planned way, in our 20s. When I flew out to America to visit, we always had a mixed CD we'd play in the car on our road trips. I would play those CDs when I got back and it brought back fun times. Jack Johnson is still Virginia, to me. I wonder if we'll lose this, with the disappearance of mixed tapes or CDs and however many million songs at our fingertips with Spotify and the like. Will we ever get to know albums in the same way? We have more choice, but will we enjoy it more? I think we had one CD for our car when I was a kid. It was Paul Simon's Graceland. We definitely got our money's worth out of that album and yet I still love it. It will always be my family, and that car, with the exciting spotlights at the back, somehow.

Anyway, looking forward to making some more playlists with my new Apple Music subscription and if I can't make too many exciting memories during this lockdown, at least I can reminisce on some, hey.

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