Sunday 12 February 2012

On the Stereo: the soundtrack to my life!

Ever since starting this blog, whenever I write a post with a recipe, I include "On the Stereo" at the end.  I love to have music playing while I cook or while we eat dinner.  We should each have a soundtrack to our life!  I thought it might be fun to write a post about the music in my life.

Music has been part of my life from singing along with a Rolf Harris record, accompanying my sister to K-Mart to watch videos of Wham, living with a New Order obsessed housemate, watching my brother's folk band at Port Fairy Music Festival, participating in Top of the Pops chats while working at the BBC website, making friends in London with Blur fanatics, standing in a muddy field at my first Pulp performance, and travelling from Scotland to Ireland to see a Will Oldham gig. 

E is first and foremost a musician, even though he now has a day job.  Years ago he had an album released on vinyl.  He goes through phases of listening to different genres which since I met him have included: lo-fi, country and western, blues, Americana, American folk, Celtic folk, industrial, krautrock, electronica, classical, post punk, progressive rock, reggae, funk, psychedelic, turntablism, neo-folk, jazz, ukelele, easy listening and lots more. His tastes are eclectic and account for a lot of what we hear. I love Britpop, folk and indie music, but listening to E’s selection has broadened my tastes.

We don't go to gigs as often as we used to but we still love music in my household.  We can easily get into a rut with albums.  Amazing, given that we had over 800 CDs which I did a quick count a year or two ago.  (All my music is on CDs rather than an ipod or digital, though E is more digital savvy.)  On the Stereo' challenges me to listen to more of my albums, and gives me a reason to insist on a change when E has an album on repeat.  It has also given him a great excuse to buy new albums - as if he needs any.  I don't have an ipod or download music from the internet. 

Earlier this year when we drove to Orange, E didn't quite understand my request for driving music, so I spent hours listening to a cassette mix that I made a couple of decades ago.  I was pleased that it still sounded ok.  After all it is the soundtrack to my travels.  Rather than expect you to read my scrawly handwriting, I have typed out the list for those who are interested:
  • Morrissey - Now my Heart is Full
  • Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
  • Greenhouse - See Saw
  • Rob Clarkson - Great Day Alright
  • Pet Shop Boys - Suburbia
  • The Cranberries - Linger
  • Beautiful South - Let Love Speak Up Itself
  • Kristen Hersh - Your Ghost
  • The Drunk, The Monk and The Spunk - Pretty Hot Corn Girl
  • My Friend the Chocolate Cake - A Midlife's Tale
  • Pale Blue Eyes - Another Rainy Day
  • Beautiful South - Lips
  • REM - Perfect Circle
  • The Church - Metropolis
  • Hummingbirds - Blush
  • The Welcome Mat - Play Me
  • Teenage Fan Club - Escher
  • Killjoys - Shibboleth
  • Madonna - Oh Father
  • Club Hoy - You Promised, You Said
  • Billy Bragg - Warmest Room
  • Penelope Swailes - Strange Hands
  • Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart Again

Music is more than sound.  It is also a culture that develops around musicians, bands and genres.  I am fascinated by it.  I love hearing about crazy experiences that music brings to the lives of the stars and the fans.  Here is a snapshot of some musical material culture that has interested me in recent years.  Lists are an important part of music culture so here is my five lists of five.  As you might notice, these lists are eclectic and there are many gaps.  I have much to hear, see and read!

Five phases of music in my life
Not a comprehensive list but it covers some of the people I have been excited by over my lifetime.  I thought of a list of 5 best gigs but it was just too hard to choose.  But many of these bands would be included.
  • Youth: Patsy Biscoe, ABBA, Danny Kaye, Rolf Harris, Bushwhackers, Wham, Billy Joel
  • University Days: Killjoys, Wild Pumpkins at Midnight, Billy Bragg, Paul Kelly, Rob Clarkson, The Smiths
  • Travelling/Edinburgh: Pulp, Divine Comedy, Belle and Sebastian, Blur, Scott Walker, Will Oldham
  • Return to Melbourne: Jarvis Cocker, Reindeer Selection, Decembrists, Missy Higgins, Barb Waters
  • Recently: Beirut, Franz Ferdinand, Glen Hansard, Amanda Palmer, Regina Specktor

An extra 5 modern composers I love to listen to: Max Richter, Hans Zimmer, Phillip Glass, Michael Nyman, Ólafur Arnalds

      Five interesting music documentaries
      Talking heads, archival footage and retrospective angst.  Almost as good as being there!

      Five fascinating books about music
      Since reading music reviews in InPress and Beat street magazines, I have admired how words can be used to describe what we hear, and how the background stories make the music more interesting. 

      Fantastic films about music
      These films illustrate the passion and pathos of both the stars and the fans.

      Five entertaining Youtube music videos
      I don't spend a lot of time watching Youtube or music videos.  If I had all the time in the world, I would link to videos or audio for each album I mention in my On the Stereo section.  Instead I leave you with a few quirky vids that I shared with my niece Quin recently.  She is a fan of Korean pop which explains the third vid.


      1. It's always interesting going through someones cd collection...flick, flick, flick. We've probably got about the same amount of cds too, Mr Chocolate would NEVER get rid of them, me... quite happy to have a digital copy and use the extra space :-)

        1. Thanks Brydie - I love peeking at others' CD collections - in fact it is one reason I dislike ipods and itunes because it feels more invasive to flick through others collections - E has sold a lot of his CDs so if he hadn't he would have many more and a lot more vinyl (he loves telling me he used to have an album on vinyl but we don't have a record player right now)

      2. I ADORE music and love your On the Stereo blurbs at the end. Plus. Hey Jealousy = love love love.

        And Michael Nyman = love love love.

        1. Thanks joanne - I think I heard that song and loved it, bought the CD but didn't like the other songs so I taped it and took it back to the store to get my money back - I can't remember doing that with any other albums but I think I was a bit impulsive with that one. Would never do that with any Michael Nyman CD!!!

      3. I love these all-encompassing posts you do occasionally about specific topics. They are always so inclusive and contain so much information that's new to me, and fascinating! If I didn't know that you were putting the band first, song second, I wouldn't have known which was which in many cases above!! My tastes are obviously much more mainstream, but the HH has expanded my musical horizons as well, particularly with classical and jazz. Love the homemade cassette! :)

        1. Thanks Ricki - I love doing these all-encompassing posts too but they take more time as they are often in draft for quite a while - I realised that I always put the album title first in On the Stereo so to put the band first in the cassette list might be confusing but I was confident most people would have heard of at least one artist (Madonna is in the list after all). My tastes would be very boring and narrow if not for all the people who had made me listen to other music during my life!

      4. I love listening to music when cooking-it's a little more user friendly than having the tv on as sometimes you have to stop what you're doing to watch what is happening! :P

        1. Thanks Lorraine - I also listen to talk back radio too more these days but love it when I get out a favourite album - they often bring back such a vivid feel for a time in my life! I only cook with tv on when I am going very slowly and something really good is on!

      5. Aww, how much do I love this post! :D I love music since I can remember, and I have music around me many hours a day. Music for cooking or walking is great. I also like to include YouTube links into my blog posts.

        My taste in music is rather broad, but also very selective. Genres I like the best are classical (especially from the 19th century, but I also love music from the other epochs), electronica, trip hop, downbeat, singer/songwriter, melodical house, independent, dance hall and turntablism, jazz, soul, funk, and also music from other cultures (Indian, Celtic, etc).

        I'll check your links out later today. Thank you for sharing this! :D

        1. Thanks Kath - I like "broad but selective" - you sound like you do indeed listen to a lot of interesting music - hope you enjoyed the links


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