January 11th, 2004.

An unfinished 'Meanwhile.'

The following article was left unfinished and unedited and should be read as such. Notes can be found below the article.

I've loved music since I was a kid. I remember how I used to dance around my bedroom decorated with zoo animal wallpaper, bright orange curtains and a deep brown carpet, listening to music on a old wood veneered wireless radio given to me by my grandparents. It seemed that the only station I could get that played music was Radio Luxembourg, and even then the signal would fade in and out slowly, one moment clear the next distant, like the sound of waves making their way to the shore then retreating back to the sea.

The first music I ever bought was when I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was a bright red Spanish flamenco cassette tape I found at a jumble sale. I remember looking at the cover of the cassette box, a woman in a elaborate red dress was dancing with a man in traditional flamenco attire playing guitar beside her. It cost me 2 pennies, a bargain even by 1978 standards.

A couple of years later I discovered The Police, a post punk British rock band headed by a young and spiky haired man from Newcastle who curiously went by the name of Sting. One Saturday with my mom and my young sister, I went to town and with some record tokens I had saved I bought the Regatta De Blanc album on tape along with a new battery powered cassette player.

In the warmth of the summer sun as we made our way home walking along the "Bunnies Walk" path by the river and the railway. I enthusiastically raced ahead of my mom who was pushing my sister in a stroller. I would run ahead and then sit down and listen to a few moments of my newly purchased tape before Mom caught up and I repeated the process again.

Some time later I got a small secondhand record player. Without any records of my own I browsed my parents' record collection which was located under the glass covered record player in the living room. The collection was small and featured artists like Harry Nilsson, Boney M, The Beatles and Abba, and a Rod Stewart record that seemed out of place because it pictured Mr. Stewart groping a woman in leopard-skin lycra(?!).

One record that caught my attention was the classic Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. I must have played it thousands of times on that little old record player. I'd never once heard this album played by either Mom or Dad, so without asking I appropriated Rumours, deeming that this LP would be the one which would set the foundation for what was to eventually become an extensive music collection. Indeed, despite no longer having anything to play it on, I still have that record.

U2 took me through the mid 1980's and into the 90's. The Joshua Tree formed an inspirational cornerstone of my collection, as it did for so many of those born in the early to mid 70's. Depeche Mode earned a there rightful place on what was becoming the soundtrack of my life with their album Violator. Other bands followed providing anthems of the age, underlining the fact that music is uniquely powerful in its ability to attach itself to events and whole chapters of your life. Now, forgotten memories can be reconnected in an instant simply by hearing a track significant to that memory. I close my eyes and am no longer just remembering, I'm right there in the moment once again.

Like many teenagers I made mix tapes for myself and my friends. But unlike a lot of my friends this was something I never grew tired of. In fact, my tapes became labors of love, carefully pored over and intensely thought out. I would hunt for obscure music, 'B' sides and rare tracks by popular artists. I wanted to do more than simply share some music with friends. I wanted to engage them in some way, to provide them with music that could possibly become an idelible part of their life.

To this end I would go to the effort of not simply producing a carefully compiled collection of tracks, but also cover art and sleeve notes. I wanted to make something that could find its way into a music collection and earn its place among the mass-produced CDs and tapes that would always outlive their 'mix tape' neighbors.

As you put more years under your belt, though, time becomes strangely scarce, and my friends and I have outgrown the days when we would sit in one another's bedrooms listening to music allowing hour upon hour to ebb away like the scented smoke of an incense stick. Music is still hugely important to me though. My life will probably be forever punctuated by the music around me. It seems that life's most inspiring of moments have some kind of theme whether heard at the time, or somehow applied later in memory.

The soundtrack to my life would thus far form an already voluminous box set. Unlike motion picture soundtracks, the listener would be unable to put each of the bizarrely heteromorphic tracks in context. While they might simply be able to enjoy the music on its own, the scenes and stories to which each track is umbilically joined to would be lost.

But who could even put together a complete soundtrack of their life and hope to share in in context? That's the beauty of making and giving away a great mix CD, while its context in relation to you might quickly be lost, it has the possibility of finding its way into someone else's soundtrack, someone else's memories.

--- Article Notes ---

Time of death : 21:13 (December 15th, 2007)
This was the first draft of a subject I wanted to come back to. I looked at it a few times, added and deleted a couple of things here and there, but ultimately I never got it anywhere near a point where it was ready for publishing. I declared it dead when I posted my final 'Meanwhile' in December 2007.