I’m probably older than most contributors to this great website. Others writing here about music from the 80s will be throwing in a significant slice of retro fondness, but as I sit here as a 40 something year old, the 80s aren’t retro: I lived through them! But more than that, my love of music was birthed early in that decade.
I was born in the early seventies and music was not as readily available then as it is now. By the time I’d learnt to walk, talk, and use a toilet, my listening choices were pretty limited. The only music source in the house that I had any control over was a blue Dansette record player, and a random box of singles that had been accumulated over a number of years. There must have been 30-40 singles in there, maybe more, but this was the first time that I had any choice of listening.
And what a diverse choice it was! Some of them were relatively mainstream, such as ‘Please Don’t Tease’, the classic 1960 number 1 from Cliff Richard; the UK’s 1971 Eurovision entry ‘Jack in the Box’ by Clodagh Rogers, and ‘Two Little Boys’ by Rolf Harris, which spent 6 weeks at number 1 in 1969! This was joined by some really random things such as ‘The Big Red Bus’ by Jill Adamson and Mary Elaine, and my personal favourite at the time, ‘Me and You and a Dog Named Boo’ by Lobo. And the Dansette was a great piece of kit. The sound quality was crap, and the knob on the front marked ͚Tone͛ made no difference, but you could stack half a dozen singles up and it would play them in order. Who’d have thought that playlists were invented in the 1960s?!
Anyway, enough of the 60s and 70s, it was in the early eighties, 1982 to be precise, when I started taking a real interest in seeking out my own music. It started with recording ‘Top of the Pops’ onto cassette each week with a portable tape recorder and a microphone balanced in front of the TV, and by the end of the year I had actually purchased my first ever single (take a bow, ‘Our House’ by Madness). I was at middle school, and there was a lot of love for the nutty boys at the time. This was before I even had a record player of my own (using the Dansette would have been an insult to Madness), and I had to very carefully use my parents’ ‘music centre’ in the living room. I remember playing it over and over again, writing down the lyrics so that I could learn them and sing along word perfectly.
I was quickly begging my parents for my own hi-fi equipment for my bedroom, and rapidly collecting singles and LPs. My first album was ‘Human’s lib’ by Howard Jones, closely followed by Queen, Thompson Twins, Genesis, Madness, Ultravox, Yazoo, and so many others. This was the birth of my love of music that is still with me today. I’ve probably listened to about 3 hours of music today (including now, as I write this), which is a pretty normal occurrence for me.
My music, these days, is all digital. I know some people like the ceremony of putting on records, and will say they prefer the sound of the music playing. But for me, the sheer convenience of my whole music collection being available at the click of a mouse is unbeatable. And of course, it͛s also on my ipod/iphone, and I never leave home without my earbuds.
So yes, music, every day please! Live, studio records, strange bootlegs, I love it all. It affects my moods, it brings me joy, it helps me work things out, it inspires me. It’s a huge part of my whole life, and long may that continue.