Reading the Rip it up and start again-book made me thinking back lots, as i wrote yesterday. Being a witness of this period, but from such a distance it lost its depth. It felt like a watching a movie from the backrow. Reading the book makes me see it from behind the scenes, see unexpected threads connecting.
Being born halfway the 60's, my ealriest memories are a thick LP with a red label with Dutch children's songs on it ("In de speeltuin", "Toen onze mop een mopje was"). I also remember a double single from the Beatles, with a booklet inbetween: Magical Mystery Tour. That was fascinating to me, i used to leaf trhough it, it had such pretty colours, enchanting. I also remember a single from the Beach Boys, Good Vibrations. These were both from my sister. Her being nice years older than me, she was the most important influence on my childhood music memories. So its twofold, on one side the music from the charts: George McCray, Rock you baby, Boney M. on the other hand my sister's music, American westcoast music mostly: Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Loggins and Messina, Little Feat.
A memory still clear: me watching ABBA perform at the Eurovision Songfestival. Being 10 years old, it was still exciting for me to watch it, comment on every song with the family, none of the campy sentiments surrounding it today. You actyallu wanted your country to win! But in 1974, i remember being swept away by Agnetha's blue satin trousers and white boots, the little cap on her head, the long blond hair and pretty face. Long before i bought Dancing Queen the single at age 12, ABBA was destined to win, i was sure of it! Another mention goes to Jesus hrist Superstar, the first record i remember singing along with. My favourite part ofcourse Yvonne Elliman, I don't know how to love you. I really don't know how doing that affected my mental state, singing Maria Magdalena's part that young. Not raised in an overtly religious family, but the Calvinistic tendency in Dutch society was felt throughout.
Some 20 odd singles later - Tavares, Heaven must be missing an angel; Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Make me smile; Fleetwood Mac, Go your own way. Inbetween the chart singles and westcoast music, suddenly Saturday Night Fever and Grease. On holiday with my parents on Tenerife, we tried to dance John Travolta-like in our appartments on the cassette i taped before we had left. I'm not sure what i made of the movie, only when i saw it again much later i relaised it was much more mature than i probably realised at the time. Grease ofcourse was happy fluff!
Another milestone: Seeing Nina Hagen on a Dutch televisionshow presented by Sonja Barend. I was hooked. This screaming shouting Unbeschreiblich weiblich singing, beautiful woman with her black edged eyes and black lipstick, her tightfitting shiny black pants in one smash made me enter adolescence in one night. Gone were the old west coast music, the charts singles, this was something i liked. Another irreverent Dutch band from that time, Gruppo Sportivo, making fun of the record companies, exposing some of the mechanisms behind charts music made for the perfect music for a 14-year old girl.
But still, a time without internet, the only available information for me still was the radio. Not having a radio of my own, it was Madness, the Specials and the Police, the alternative pick of chart music which ruled my world. Only a couple of years later, having a bit more money, access to information through Vinyl, a Dutch early 80s postpunk magazine, getting friends, going to gigs and listening to Spleen on the radio (or go to the live transmitions broadcasted from Parkzicht on the sunday afternoons in a sunny summer 1983). This, to me, was the most exciting period of my music listening live. Going to the record store on thursday afternoons, going through the 'new releases', going the to public library for some back cataloguing, but not much, cuz there was always something new to discover. From the poppy end, starting from XTC Black Sea, bought when i was 16, to the dark corners of Throbbing Gristle and Test Department, almost getting to Captain Beefheart, but not quite, there was Prince in the end, with ofcourse a romantic movie and music which made you wanna dance and be happy.
And then the final blow to my music investigating days - apart from me moving out of my parents house and having no money, something i will conveniently forget for now. Summer 1985, Scritti Politti. Most importantly, it was music that made me think, that confused me. It didn't seem to lead to a definite conclusion, it questioned itself mostly, and boy did i like that. For a time i defiantly turned against the prominent music of the time and read Smash HIts in the canteen of artschool, singing along with Whitney Houston and Kylie & Jason. Guess i somehow wanted to go against the grain one way or the other. I started to like music that made me feel happy, with a little bit of irony. I tried to listen with an open mind, forget any preconceived ideas i might have. Around this time i noticed the Pet Shop Boys, who i really really liked - i remember a rather fierce argument where i defended them, i doubt with any success...
The 90s went by too fast going over into the 00s, just some standard fare, a little of Beastie Boys, Massive Attack, Portishead, Radiohead. No real interest, a bit of Beatles and Beach Boys research, some soul music. At this very moment blogs spark my interests in dance, M.I.A., Girls Aloud, and i'm actually discovering the fun in listening to new music again. Oops, its the end of the line, seeya tomorrow! lfs, Ellen