‘Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun’—this is one of my favourite lines from Shine On You Crazy Diamond (yes there are lyrics eventually) which is one of my all-time favourite Pink Floyd songs.
My aunty also had a record player. When I was about eight years old, I remember playing one of her 45s (‘a single’) over and over again. It was I am a Rock by Simon & Garfunkel, the lyrics for which are still in my head today. It is a song about being alone—“I am a rock; I am an island. And the rock feels no pain, and an island never dies”—perhaps I was always destined to write a book titled, Being Anti-Social.
When I think of it, music played quite a part in those formative years even though we didn’t have portable music players in the 60s-70s. When we went up north to my grandparent’s hotel/motel in Mirriwinni for school holidays, we would listen to the songs on the jukebox in the lounge area, and play on grandma’s white piano. I wonder if the hotel patrons thought those two kids (my younger brother, Mark and I) thrashing away on the piano keys were a nuisance—certainly I would have thought so.
For my sixteenth birthday I received a ‘cassette’, The Best of Carly Simon which I still love today. I recently purchased it again as a CD. It’s amazing how music can make you feel exactly how you felt when you first listened to it. Other music obsessions in my early teens were Sherbert, Split Enz, Peter Frampton (he still looks and sounds incredible), Cat Stevens and Bread. Bread helped me through my first broken heart in 1979 … actually I think they made it worse. In my teens, I had one crush I recall—I was pretty sure I was going to marry Darryl Braithwaite. I didn't have bands or singers posted on my bedroom walls (like my best friend whose walls were covered with The Bay City Rollers). Instead there were posters with messages like, "Don't drift through life, sail through."
In those days, bands just played—there was no need for elaborate or excessively raunchy videos—is that really what's required to sell a CD these days? It's lucky I'm a writer. But then my grandmother, who loved Perry Como, Vera Lynn and the Barbershop Quartet, felt the same way about our music.