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Friday, 25 September 2020

Born to Be Alive...

Just drove to Pitlochry. On the way, I heard this song on the radio. It really reminds me of a time and in particular, our family at the time it was out. 

When you are young, you yearn for independence, and to know what the future holds. At the time this song was out, I was really happy in our family unit. I felt safe, happy, loved (the opposite of what I felt for a lot of time in school, but had a good circle of friends who put up with me!). I had a feeling of my world changing, but I didnt want it to, beyond the desperation to get away from school... I still hate family change. I like new things, experiences, people, but massive, long term change of family situation, I find difficult. Dad dying and not being able to visit mum as often as I would have liked, his has made this a very difficult year.

My eldest sister, had this song. She was in to disco, but had a range of music taste, and her buying the single of "Love Will Tear Us Apart," got me in to Joy Division (though most of JD's catalogue was not to her taste... I remember her sarcastically shouting through my bedroom door, "Where WILL it end, Neil?" as I droned along to "Day of the Lords...")

Hearing this song also reminded me of the relationship with music we had back then, and how that has changed. Dad had a collection of eight track tapes (younger people ... These tape decks operated like CD's... You could switch songs at the press of a button, and the tapes played on a loop... Albums could be listened to the whole way through without having to "turn over" the tape). Car journeys in the light blue Volkswagon Beetle, were family sing songs along to ABBA, Jim Reeves, Charley Pride, Philomena Begley, Big Tom and the Mainliners and others. And Karen taped the top 40, so we'd hear that (I started doing this too), and skillfully taping new songs over old, and using the pause button and winding the tape back with a finger to make sure you didnt have the Radio One DJ's voice on it at all, is a skill no young person acquires nowadays... Is this REALLY progress?

And buying music, with pocket money or low first wages was a big decision. Buying a single or two really was a massive decision , as was buying albums. Albums I wanted for ever were bought on vinyl and taped for the car or the kitchen stereo (a huge ghetto blaster thing, I remember going to a shop in Gilford with dad to buy... for him to listen to his country and western radio show on a Sunday night. An amazing thing at the time, with LED lights that pulsated to the music, and with a graphic equalizer)... Just what was that "Metal" setting for (metal tapes usually said , "do not use metal setting," on the box ... )?

I remember standing for ages in the early eighties debating with myself in Newtonards Shopping Centre whether or not to buy Kate Bush's album, The Dreaming, based on hearing one song, and based also on the fact I'd liked her older stuff... Buying albums were like that. A hit and miss thing, based on singles. I have to say... Most albums I bought were great. Nowadays, all music , including entire albums are easily accessed . If you want to buy, you've probably heard all of the tracks.

Anyway... Born to be Alive... Yes we are.


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