There’s a ‘note’ going around Facebook at the minute called ‘Fifteen Albums’. The idea is that you list the fifteen albums that will always stay with you, then send the list to fifteen people. My muso friend Rob passed the note to me (Hello Rob, should you be reading this! – Haha, now I feel like a DJ doing a shout-out – apt as I’m talking about records!). I haven’t done this note – not because I’m particularly embarassed about my muscial tastes, but because I feel my favourite albums are something very private that I wouldn’t want all & sundry being able to view. Furthermore, I don’t think my fifteen favourite albums would make sense to anyone else. My choices wouldn’t even particularly reflect my own musical tastes. My favourite albums are less about music and more about life. I guess the two are always intrinsically linked. What I mean is that the ones I’d choose would be based upon specific memories and moments in my life: the ones associated with a holiday, or a relationship, or a rite of passage. The list certainly differs from what I would suggest if I were ask to come up with the fifteen greatest albums ever made, although the album shown – Joan Armatrading’s Love and Affection – would undoubtedly be my selection for the top of both lists.
I rarely buy a CD & I don’t know how to download music. Serendipity dictates any new music that I listen to: friends send me albums that they think I’ll like and inevitably I do – partly because they’ve chosen well, partly because the kindness of their gesture means that the album will nearly always be automatically marked as a ‘happy memory’ album.
The extent to which music and memory intertwine for me probably says a lot about my disposition towards nostalgia and melancholy. It’s not just music that is so loaded with memories: my lunch (being eaten as I type – a bad habit that results in an unhygienic keyboard) has also set me off on a trip into the past. I am eating a Cup-a-Soup & the smell immediately whisked me back seven years to one of my favourite ever jobs. I worked as a book-keeper/accounts clerk for a firm & really enjoyed that time – both the job & life in general. While I worked there, I went on my last ‘proper’ diet & a Cup-a-Soup with some bread became my lunchtime institution. I haven’t eaten one since, but here I am – back on a diet, back on the soup in a mug. Well, I say ‘here I am’, but my brain is confused – the smell makes part of think that I’m back there, stilettoes tucked under the desk rather than slippers. Even if I was back there, Love and Affection would still top my list of favourite albums. ‘I am not in love, but I’m open to persuasion’ feels like the soundtrack to my life.