Monday, 29 May 2017

Summer Strum Bank Holiday Monday Missive - 29th May 2017 - Ain't Music Great?

Ain't Music Great?

Music. Ain't it great? Like what we wear, music is pretty personal stuff! So, what does music mean to you? Answers in the comments please! Summer Strum would like to know!

Here's what it means to me ... whether you care or not!!

When people ask us about music they almost always say "what sort of music are you into?" It's always been a question I have found quite hard to answer so I say "oh I like all types of music" except I don't really! I don't particularly like Northern Soul having had it blasted at me (literally it is used as a weapon!) by the next door neighbour every summer for 6 years; I'm also not a fan of 'grime' which the 6th formers seem to be so fond of - it really does 'give me a headache. Please would you turn it down!'. Neither genre speaks to me but obviously it does to them! For the neighbour he is obviously pining for his teenage dream remembering that life was once sweet - I just wish he would do it with a pair of headphones on; for the 6th formers the music fills them with energy and it must be played loud in order to pierce their very core - and my eardrums! People's boats are floated by all kinds of music - some we like, some we don't. That's why there is so much of it! Music literally caters for everyone.

When I was an introverted youngling I found that music was my main way of engaging with the world, or perhaps disengaging with the world! When I played music it meant that I didn't have to talk to people and if I am honest it's probably why I was drawn towards joining a ukulele band as an adult rather than, say, a book club (although I like books just as much as music)! From the moment I heard my granddad's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on vinyl, from the moment Bing Crosby crooned his way into my life in all those musicals, from the moment the awesome music of John Williams made my heart soar I knew music was going to be important. Then came James Galway  - playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons on a golden flute! OMG! I wanted me some of that. It became an obsession and I still remember the joy I felt when I opened my Christmas presents and James Galway LP's were among them! Some might say "that's some mixed up kid"! Hey - I played with Sindy dolls too and climbed trees, had water fights - but I had found James and it was good! Not until I learnt to play the recorder would my parents buy me my first flute (not golden!) and I would play along with James for hours! He was, and still is, EPIC!

Then came 'pop' - first it was the pop my mum listened to (Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran) then Abba (listening to those little singles with the orange centre as they dropped down one by one onto the turntable and Super Trooper - the first LP I bought - on New Year's Eve with the babysitter), then came Buck's Fizz (my first ever gig at the Stour Centre! Bobby Gee soooo dreamy!). Top of the Pops! Smash Hits! Look-In! Taping the Top 40 in my bedroom! Growing up in the 70's and 80's was a musical privilege full of wonderful memories.

I obsessed over certain groups that spoke to me over the years, as we all did -  Duran Duran as I crossed from primary to secondary School and my hormones developed an almighty crush on John Taylor; The Cure as I gratuitously wallowed in my teenage introversion and let Robert Smith's lyrics speak for me; Julian Cope who broadened my mind in so many ways - a true Floored Genius! Nirvana as I moved away from home and life got a bit scary and panicky; then Americana, most notably Neal Casal whose songs just tapped into my mellow soul (yes it was still there somewhere!) and chilled me the hell out!! But throughout, my musical taste remained eclectic and I listened to music across the spectrum.

What about the mixtapes given to you by other people, and treasured because it feels like someone has let you see into their soul? Hearing new music that sometimes felt like the missing part to a puzzle - click - "ah! that's what I have been missing all this time". The Doors, The Beatles, T-Rex, The Kinks, Love, Family, Television, Nick Drake, Black Sabbath, Nine Inch nails, John Martyn, Vetiver, John Prine, Hank Williams - I could go on! For all of this I thank all the people in my life who love great music and have shared it with me! 

There is so much music out there it makes your head whirl thinking about it doesn't it? Do you sometimes regret that you are never going to hear it all; that what if there is something really really extra special out there that you are never going to hear? I do. And it blows my mind like physics or life on other planets.  

I feel sorry for the people who find themselves in a rut (next door neighbour again!). They think they know what they like and like what they know and will never venture outside the genre but if they would only just open their minds and see there is so much more out there - the possibilities to expand their souls are endless. But if their rut is keeping them happy then who am I to judge?

Whether your musical tastes be eclectic or limited, though, there is one cardinal rule. Don't ram your music down other people's ear canals. What may be sending you to seventh heaven may not have the same effect on others. And its simple - all you have to do is turn it down - music doesn't have to be heard at 2000 decibels to make it better or, if you believe it does then listen with earphones - don't use it as a weapon to stake your territory! It's called respect for others. I personally keep Julian Cope to myself and make an effort not to play his music when the family are at home because I know they don't appreciate his greatness (for whatever whacked out reason!?). Likewise I wouldn't blast out Metallica in the back garden ALL day. It's just polite isn't it? Okay you can see I have a problem with my neighbour can't you!? It's cool - really! 

I'll leave you with a heart-warming tale instead. I am sure she won't mind me telling you this (it is very unlikely she will read it anyway!) but it always makes me smile when I think of my mother-in-law in the 80's doing the housework singing along to Motley Crue's 'Bastard' thinking they were singing "Faster". Whatever the word - this song, way different to what she was used to listening to, was giving a 50* year old woman the drive to get through the mundane before her husband returned home to tell the kids to "turn this bloody rubbish off".

A quick Summer Strum parallel!

Come to the Summer Strum - open your mind! You will be surprised (pleasantly we hope) at the eclectic mix of music you will hear. There is definitely something for everybody - that's a promise!

Love Emma (the awkward one) xx

* she was probably younger actually - my age in fact - but back then 40-50 seemed really old! Eek!

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