Saturday, 30 November 2013

Some of My Earliest Musical Memories

  1. The house I grew up in was an old Queenslander. The underside housed Dad's shed, full of his tools and the work benches he built himself. The laundry was concreted behind timber slats, and the dark green paint curled and chipped. Redback spiders built their webs in the gaps between the slats, and an unseen insect made cone-shaped holes in the sandy soil. Glass pyramids refracted light in Mum's studio; one red, one dark blue. There was a box of old records and, somewhere in the memory, a record player projecting 'Here Comes the Sun' by the Beatles.
  2. Dad brought home 'Mule Variations' by Tom Waits. We sat around together and listened gleefully to 'What's He Building In There?'. It was characteristic of much of my later fields of interest. When a performance of my poetry I gave a few years ago was compared to Tom Waits, I strove to find someone who would appreciate the significance of the comparison, but was found wanting. Controversially, I still prefer the album to 'Blue Valentine'.
  3. Dad would unwind in the evenings with 'No More Shall We Part' by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley or 'Sweet Nothing' by Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses. These albums bring up complex emotions for me, both because they are of themselves emotionally complex and because of the strange feeling of nostalgia and longing they bring. I listen to these albums with by boyfriend, forming new associations while hoping not to lose the old. 'Sweet Nothing' is that rare thing: a perfect album.
  4. There were, of course, children's tapes, 'Teddy Bears' Picnic' on cassette and 'Surfing With the Seagulls' forever on the stereo. When Mum was out of the house we'd listen to 'Mr. Boombastic' by Shaggy, an album that is, in retrospect, perhaps not the most suitable for children, but my brother and didn't understand what any of it meant. The first album I ever owned was Aqua's 'Bubble Party Mix', given to me at my fifth birthday party. While very particular in my taste growing up I was certainly not very original, but I still have what my parents gave me, and I like to have a soundtrack for the important moments.