This post with thanks to YouTube.
Whenever I walk into someones home, I snoop. Not medicine cabinets or underwear draws, but music collections. Clothes maketh the man I've heard it said, but music often influences the fashion. There is much information to be garnered by a persons taste in music.
I've been going over my music collection recently. Adding a few things to my ipod that I'd missed, replacing scratched cd's, or finding that something I'd been after for ages was finally available digitally remastered and re released. I've been playing more vinyl too. Searching the net on sites like itunes, and browsing cd and record stores has rekindled my love of music, (it had started to be something in the background when doing housework) and sparked some memories that had lain dormant for decades.
I started to think back to the time when a boy starts to like music. It's a time before girls become interesting, but prior to experimentation in foreign cheese or art films. I suppose it's very different today, but for me it began with Blondie. I remember what I assume was around 78 or 79 listening to the song on a small battery powered transistor radio with my mate Nick. Although Blondie received a bit of stick for embracing the disco sound, being far more regarded as semi punk/new wave, for me and Nick it was the song that laid the paving at our feet as the journey began. Blondie is still on high rotation at my place.
That and the movie Grease were my main memories before the family up and moved to England in 1979. When we got back in 1984 I realised that there had been a huge amount of good music in Australia which I had missed out on, but England was the foundation for my musical education, and it went a little something like this.
Adam and the Ants had a big impact on me. The whole New Romantic period had a big impact on me. It also had an impact on my mothers make up collection. Between Adam, Duran Duran (and this technologically amazing video), Toyah Wilcox (who popped up on the entertainment channel the other day talking about great moments in entertainment and looking very old), Altered Images (I only worked out the lyrics to this song a month ago) and Visage, I whiled away my days in an audio, and due to the emergence of the music video, visual euphoria.
But as the makeup faded like the careers of so many of those listed, I began to delve into the past and the influences of my favourite bands. The punk era, in retrospect was Adam Ant's finest hour, and I had sadly discovered it a few years after its demise. I delved into the Sex Pistols and a few other Malcolm McLaren proteges, but soon found myself choosing which of the antipodean extremes of music and fashion suited me best. These extremes had passed their heyday in my parents generation, but were still alive and well when I went to Chichester High School for boys. They were, of course, Mods and Rockers.
I went Mod. I preferred the music, the dress, and the majority of my peer group had leanings in that area so I didn't get beaten up by them. Mod sort of fused with Ska and ran from a heavy Jamaican feel through to angry young men railing against society. From the Specials to the North London Invaders who became those seven magnificent nutty boys, Madness (and a very out of tune live version of Johnny the Horse) I found a subculture that spoke to me from my ears to my shoes, and to fulfil the angry young man sector of my teenage angst I employed and enjoyed the social discourse of lyrics by The Jam.
Madness and The Jam I brought home with me to Australia, and I'm glad I did for the saturation was less than adequate back in Old Sydney Town. Not being one to stick to a specific musical genre excluding all else however, I also came back with a great respect for David Bowie, most notably the album Aladdin Sane, and David Sylvian of Japan fame.
The first concert I was taken to back home by my uncle was Elvis Costello at the Sydney Opera House, starting an affair which lasted until another concert a year or two back in Sydney in which he seemed not to really give a care whether it was good for the fans or not. We've made up since, but only based on the quality of his his early work.
I've never really got past about 1986. I tended to stick with what I knew in other formats. Paul Weller after The Jam with the Style Council, then as a solo artist. Madness as they reform and part ways to reform yet again. The only band that I have really got into recently (I mean since 1986, but not actually recently) is The Beautiful South who are basically a revamped Housemartins.
I think there is a fairly even 50/50 proportion in my music collection of stuff that I like because it had something to do with my youth, and stuff that I like because it is actually good music. Being of the generation that saw video almost literally kill the radio star, the visual is sometimes as important as the song.
Other than the New Wave style makeup and less hair, I think I am still the person today that was expressed by the music and videos I've listed. Vaguely flamboyant (New Wave) with a slightly anti disestablishment bent (punk), imbued with a dress sense still based on Mod neatness, and a voyeuristic tendency brought on by associating music with mini movies.
Plus I enjoy music. The worlds most succesful art form.
But don't we all?