My late teenage years were dominated by the music of the very end of the 70s and the early years of the 80s. The age of The New Romantic and synth-pop sound – Ultravox, Duran Duran, ABC, Blancmange, Soft Cell, Japan, Heaven 17, Talk Talk. And Gary Numan (OK not a New Romantic but, hey, I was smitten).
I have lovely memories of getting dressed up in all the gear:
- pedal pushers, frilly shirt, boots, scarves for a New Romantic evening out and black jumpsuit, black boots and red accessories for a Numan gig;
- getting the make-up just right – white pancake, blood-red lipstick and masses of black eyeliner; and, of course,
- whilst waiting for my friend Sue to arrive, making sure my hair was just so – and inadvertently killing the household plants with all that hairspray in the process.
Ahh, happy days!
The muscle memories of dancing to all those uplifting tunes never fades and whenever I hear a track from those days I not only hear the songs, I feel them too. I remember how that music transported me to another dimension – somewhere deeply rooted in the present but most definitely “sent” somewhere glorious by the music and the dancing.
It still has the ability to take me to that special place.
Such is the power of music that it is never just an aural experience. It stirs up the senses until they become inextricably linked forever.
As a youngster I was never a fan of progressive rock. Yuk! All oily and scruffy and unreachable. Ewwww! And so it remained for many years until I met my husband who has introduced me to the world of the most kaleidoscopic lands that are the music of Yes, Genesis, Focus, Jethro Tull, Camel and Mike Oldfield to name a few.
Last night we listened again to two favourite albums: “Going For The One” by Yes and “Wind & Wuthering” by Genesis and I was sent again somewhere glorious but this time only by the music as I’ve never danced to this music. However, there is a different muscle memory in play and this one seems to be much older and deeper; an opening of the solar plexus where it grabs you and dances with your emotions. Listening to these two albums, back to back, having known them for a few years now, was a joy which was much magnified somehow as well as filling me with such opposite emotions all at the same time.
Music has the capacity of filling us with joy and at the same time it can make us cry tears of happiness and bittersweet memory together. Indescribably beautiful melodies can elevate our mood when we are feeling down, and vice versa.
I love that chameleon-like quality of music and also the way that we don’t have to remember the words or a song or when we first heard it or even where we were when we heard it last.
The memory of it lives inside of us forever.