Why do people look strangely at you when you have a conversation with someone you can see and hear but they can’t? Has it got something to do with the fact that you’re different, or is it just that they consider such behaviour as a manifestation of lunatic behaviour? All I really know is that when I’m troubled or feeling stressed, then I see my mum and have conversations with her which make sense of the madness I feel all around me. Is this madness? Maybe it is, but it eases my anxiety to converse with someone I shared a lifetime of love with until her too early demise at 57, the age I was last year.
The things that always bring mum to mind are music (the radio was always on or else my mum would sing to herself) I remember there was always music around even before we got our first tv from radio rentals, a huge box on legs with a tiny screen. In those days there was no colour, programmes were only broadcast at certain times of the day and channels went off around midnight. Thursday and Friday tea times there were the music shows Top Of The Pops on the BBC and, the more popular, ITV answer Ready Steady Go (your weekend starts here). On RSG the groups and audience were together and you could see the likes of Keith, Mick and Brian from the Stones dancing with fans from the audience. Much more laid back than TOTP and featured the same presenters every week. When the BBC felt threatened by the competition (not just from RSG) they pushed the Government to pass legislation that music on tv had to be live, knowing the big attraction for RSG was the fun behind their use of records and allowing the stars and audience to mingle without any worries of lip synching or instruments being plugged in or even being played.
However, I digress, I think my catholic interest in music stems from all the exposure I received during my formative years. Even when travelling to Newcastle every summer, we’d all sing most of the way. I spent hours in the company of my older cousin and her girlfriends listening to Buddy Holly, the Crickets, Cliff Richard and Paul Anka, at least until she started dating.
It was around the same time, I think, that she taught me to read, before I even started school. Thus starting my other big passion – books – that, sadly, hasn’t survived. I used to read avidly anything I could get my hands on, nowadays, I read till I get tired or my eyes ache which is generally only about 15 to 30 mins. I enjoy movies more than I used to in my youth. I would only go to the cinema once a month or less with only the tv to watch films at home. I now own a collection of blu-rays and dvd’s to watch when I’ve got time.
Do I miss the old days of vinyl? Not really, I’ve got a 2Tb hard drive almost full of music and if these albums were all on vinyl I’d need a bigger flat to store them all. In that respect I thank the gods for mp3 files, I do miss being able to hold a physical cover while listening to the music but that is a minor thing as the music was always more important than the covers.