Music has got me through another difficult month. Driving with my Raybans on and the sunroof open, pretending not to be a pensioner. It used to be cassettes and a Walkman. Now my playlist starts when I switch on the ignition and my earbuds are always handy. For a while I had stopped listening to music, sticking to audiobooks. But music is taking me back to places I’m happy to revisit. Each of these tracks is playable but you might not want to listen to all or any of them. Featured image shows our home-grown freesias in the greenhouse. For me, an incredibly nostalgic scent. My mother loved them.
As a wee girl I loved to sing and dance. At nine I taught myself to play the ukelele and worked on my Tommy Steele impression. Shaking my unruly dirty blonde locks, I swivelled my skinny hips, (how I longed for a pair of jeans!) strummed a chord and belted out: ‘We..ell…I never felt more like singin: the blues…’. I even learned to whistle for the intro! Note: this is a link as I couldn’t post the audio file. Please scroll down to select the track.
As a teenager I remember seeing the Rolling Stones on TV and instantly switching allegiance from the Beatles. They are still brilliant performers.
The 70s and 80s were the decades of family life and shared music on car journeys. Abba was a favourite. This song always gets me on my feet till my knees give out.
Soul Asylum‘s Grave Dancers Union was our album of summer of 93 when Daughter and I went to California. She was supercool and impressed the American teenagers with her grunge look.
In the mid to late 90’s I was on my own, coping with major life changes. Female vocalists got me through. especially Tina Turner. This was the song I played on repeat.
One of many Leonard Cohen songs I love, Cannyrob and I danced up the aisle to this at our wedding in 2013. We also have this Jack Vettriano print.
Daughter and WeeBoy went rollerblading recently, with some elegant moves and only a few tumbles. I remember associating this Dire Straits song with Daughter at 9 rollerskating everywhere.
Our current Netflix bingewatch is Peaky Blinders. It was something we hadn’t got hooked on before. It is gritty, visually stunning and strong on storyline and characters. Sad that Helen McCrory is gone.
There are songs that always make me laugh like the Ying Tong Song (The Goons) and songs that always make me cry like Father and Son (Cat Stevens) I think I am using music to access my emotions. They have been shut down while I’ve coped with difficult stuff.
I am still listening to audiobooks. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates is a fictionalised biography of Marilyn Monroe. Incredibly real and very moving. Portent by James Herbert, published in 1992, describes a climate catastrophe not unrelated to the present day. My non-fiction choice ( I also bought the print book) is New England Bound by Wendy Warren. Using contemporary documents, the author tells the story of the enslaved people of the 17th and 18th centuries and their Puritan masters. I was shocked and intrigued by the term Chilld of deth used to describe a runaway slave girl. This meant she had a death sentence imposed on her due to her parents being rebels, Native Americans who had fought the settlers and had already been executed.
I am reading again. My top choice is Rizzio by Denise Mina, recommended by my pal A (we often like the same books), a minute by minute account of a historic murder. Katherine Rundell’s adventure novel for children The Explorer is a great read for any age. Graves of Whitechapel by Clare Collins is a Victorian crime story with a twist. I just discovered Gillian White, a fomer journalist and television writer. Her dark exposure of reality TV in The Witch’s Cradle had me hooked, as did Refuge, an all too credible story of child crime.
Having managed to avoid Covid, I’ve had my first cold for three years, coinciding with family birthdays and visiting children. Missed seeing Son for his birthday, but managed to give WeeBoy his big yellow beanbag. I’d love one but would struggle to get out of it!
We are watching Love Island as a way of avoiding the awfulness of national and world events. Trains and Covid permitting, Cannyrob and I are escaping to London next week to visit some exhibitions and do some family research. I love that dusty summer city heat. Maybe because I live by the sea? Will collect postcards and sketches for next blog. Happy summer!