Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The soundtrack of my life

In response to Jim's challenge and Suzie being the first to accept it, I offer this.

Jim's challenge is as follows:
Would any if you like to contribute/submit a 'Sound Track Of My Life' to the hOME website and/or discussion group? Each 'Soundtrack' must/could comply with the following rules...
1. Must not a personal 'Top 10', but rather a narrative journey of when and how you were introduced to a song/band/genre.
2. Must be 10 songs long.
3. Must be in chronological order according to when each track was important to you.
3. Each track must be accompanied by one of the following; a) the personal story behind why it's in your soundtrack, b) the reason why the track is on your list, or c) the name of the boy/girl who meant sooooo much at that time
4. Narrative can also include band trivia (one for the boys there).

So here they are:
  1. 1984. Van Halen's Jump. I remember this being the soundtrack to the LA Olympics in '84. I also seem to remember a man in a rocket pack flying round the coliseum. My brother's comment at the time was that this song was 'made for sport'. It was about then that my love affair/addiction to sport began. Years later, someone once observed that the US hosting the Olympic Games is a bit like inviting your friends round to watch you masturbate.
  2. 1986. Debby Harry's French Kissing in the USA. 1986 was my final year (there were only two) at Hutt Intermediate School. I'd had a great year with phenomenal classmates (some of whom I wonder about now and wonder where they are) but at the end of '85 things changed. My friends discovered girls and somehow I didn't. In my naivety, I knew things were different, but I knew not how and what to do about it. This song is symptomatic of the pain and confusion I felt at the time. Like a bad experience I once had with rotten tomato juice, when I hear this song I know exactly where I was. Lost and lonely on the way back from the stock cars at Te Marua in the back of a car with my friends, not knowing if they were friends any more. Awwww, the pain...
  3. 1989. Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, or, as it became known to me, Smurf Music due to the violin part in the middle that also featured amongst the La la la la la la's in the theme music to the Smurfs. In fifth form at Naenae College, Lower Hutt I studied School Cert music. My teacher was the wonderful and late Mr John Hendren. We were given ten pieces of music to learn that year. Among them was Bach's Toccata and Fugue, Handel's Halleluia Chorus, Beethoven's Piano Concerto in C Minor, an unpenetratable (sp?) piece by Penderecki, and the Smurf Music. I can probably name most of the rest of the ten! Mr Hendren was an exceptionally gifted musician and a man with infinite amounts of patience and integrity. I remember us performing parts of Les Mis in the Christchurch town hall in 1987 and him insisting we remove the blasphemy from one of the pieces. That was the only time he ever imposed his faith on us. He was found dead of a heart attack in front of his computer in 1992, aged just 42. His death still guts me.
  4. 1991. Robbie Robertson's Soapbox Preacher. The (equal first) CD I ever bought. From his Storyville album. I've liked RR ever since I first heard Showdown at Big Sky in the late '80s. I bought it with a new Philips mini-system that turned out to be a lemon. There is not a bad track on the album and I love the story in this particular song. It was my first year at university and I believe the student loan that remains the millstone around my neck contributed to both CD and stereo. Oh well.
  5. 1993. Midnight Oil's Forgotten Years. In the summers of '93, '94 and '95 I lived in the small central Otago town of Roxburgh. My summer job was to work on an apricots orchard as part of the Apricots Lifestyle Evangelism mission. The grand scheme was to be a good Christian witness while working hard on the orchard. I think that in the first summer I failed both tests. The second summer I came back as a lone ranger (not as a member of Apricots) and did pretty well at both. In the third summer (and following winter) I was an excellent worker and a rather intoxicated Christian. But it is for that first summer, those salad days, that I choose this track. I had a great cottage, great cottage-mates, the summer was long, there was cricket to listen to, touch rugby to play, apricot and cheery crumbles to cook, floods to divert into the neighbours place... Probably the best summer of my life, and all the time accompanied by Midnight Oil's Blue Sky Mining. These shall not be forgotten years...
  6. 1997. U2's Wake Up Dead Man. Muzz Sheard played this at a Cityside service as he placed quotes on the Overhead Projector. It made me realise that church music was not (whoops, left the 'not' out in the first post!) restricted to 'Christian Music'. Among the quotes he put up was one from I know not where that read 'The highest building in a city is the temple to its god'. The Sky tower had just been finished in Auckland. At its base is the Sky City Casino. Muzz is still a large part of my life, and a man for whom my world will always be a better place. Cityside is also one of the most important communities I have been involved with. Quality from alpha to omega.
  7. 1999. The Mutton Bird's Last Year's Shoes. 1999 was my final year of seven at Auckland University. I was burnt out on study at this point. Throughout my seven years the Muttonbirds were a big part of my musical and university world. I can remember my friend Malcolm joyfully showing off that he had learnt the chords to In My Room by the Evangelical Union noticeboard. But LYS has a particular resonance for me. It brings back very fond memories of my girlfriend of the time, Jolinda, and how I learnt a whole lot about life and the universe with her. The only sermon I have ever preached (it was at Cityside) finished with this track. The song is essentially about change, and I find it reflects the change I was going through at the time: "lace up last years shoes, and see how they feel, you're not the same person anymore". As part of my final year I had to do a whole lot of work in a flume, shifting sand. One day I thought I was about to walk onto dry sand, but instead, to my humility, discovered that the sand was wet, and in front of a tutorial, disappeared up my waist in wet sand. "You're going to stand, in the sand, and watch them go". One of the all time great songs in my life and for so many different reasons and places.
  8. 2000. Groove Armada's Chicago. The track that changed what I listened to and the opener to a fantastic album. I was working for Harrison Grierson in what became known as 'the Cave'. One of the people I worked with was Lance Gore (now based somewhere in the far east) and he was very influential on what I listened to (I had no choice, he'd just crank his speakers up and we'd get all sorts...). He didn't introduce this to me, rather it was Mark Pierson (another for whom life is vastly the better for him being in it), the then pastor/curator of the above mentioned Cityside Baptist. He'd lent me Vertigo (and Pitch Black's Futureproof) so that I could use them for background music for a labyrinth service. I wasn't convinced by the cover of Vertigo, but the opening hum and then drum and guitar had me hooked for life. In one moment, my music appreciation was blown wide open. I mention Lance because he fed me more and more like it. And that year in the cave in Newmarket was a hole lot of fun. Pun intended.
  9. 2002. Mark Knopfler's What It Is. In November 2001 I moved to Edinburgh. A few months later I went home to see my sister get married. I, and my friends Sarah and Craig, were worried that I might enjoy NZ too much and not want to return to Edinburgh. I bought this on the way out and the lyrics resonated with me. I couldn't not come back after this. Whenever I hear this song I think of Edinburgh, and what a great town it is: High up on the parapet a Scottish piper stands alone and high on the wind the highland drums begin to roll and something from the past just comes and stares into my soul. Edinburgh will always be dear to my heart as will the people I shared it with for too shorter time.
  10. 2005. Coldplay's Talk. The integral song to my soundtrack of 2005. Much of the last year was spent flying to and from the UK on Singapore Airlines. In their music on demand section was X&Y. Whenever I hear this piece I think of a 747 barrelling down a runway in the dark as it takes me home. It's that little Kraftwerk sample that keeps reappearing that does it for me. Everytime I hear it, I know where I was, and how content it made me. And it follows Fix You, with the lyric 'Lights will guide you home'. Last year they did, home to NZ and back home to Oxford.
Wow, that was some process....

7 comments:

Jim said...

Beutiful, just beautiful. This was really what I intended to happen with this idea. I feel like I understand you a little better. THANK YOU.

richard said...

Thanks Jim, for the feedback and the idea. It was a very interesting process. Now... where's your list??

Sarah O said...

Thanks Ricardo.. a great read. I have just enough time to drop you a comment.. can't see how I'll have time to compile a list for, ooh, about 17 years!

Mark said...

A wonderful reminder of why I love you so much... and of what Cityside was always intended to be... and the kind of people it was meant to sustain...You have often been an inspiration to me. I'll be over for a beer in August. Your shout.

richard said...

wow. thanks for the comments. In response to Sarah, surely ALice will be off dating before then??? Kids, they grow up so fast these days. And Mark, you flatter me. and i like that. Beautiful times. And i'll shout you as many beers as you like. It's like i'm basking in the distant but very present glow of lovely lovely people.

ahhhh.....

jon said...

hey dude...will you accept the challenge? - it's similar but not as time consuming...

you've been "tagged" - click here for more info...

http://www.aboutlife.com/jonmarch/challenge_accepted

richard said...

yeah, but you gotta do mine too...