This has been swimming around in my brain for a long time. We got onto it in therapy and I thought it’s time to get my head round it.
I didn’t grow up around music. My parents listened to very little, and that only classical for many a year although they eventually started listening to jazz. II don’t remember my elder sister ever talking about music or bands. My middle sister gave my half a dozen mix tapes when she was giving up childish things for university and I was grateful. If my parents went out for a few hours I was very likely to play Vivaldi full blast and dance around the room.
Having my own radio cassette player gave me the chance to escape into music, which I did. Especially the added headphones so I could listen late at night. I was very friendless as a child and young adult so I didn’t have people to listen to music with or talk about such things with.
Spending half my childhood abroad also means that I have different musical experiences, with my formative years spent listening to music in all languages from all over the world. Restricting yourself to English songs seems so limiting. I missed out on Duran Duran who never made in in Europe (how sad) and Wham also almost passed me by.
There’s no great loss with those two but it makes me feel as if I missed out on growing up with my peers. I can’t sing along with my peers to songs because I don’t know them although everyone else grew up with them. I didn’t spend years sharing music with other people and going to gigs. I barely bought any until the last 20 years and there are many songs that I know the lyrics to but have no idea who sung them.
This sounds so trivial. But it’s not. Music is about emotions, where you were at that time, the songs you associate with incidents in your life, the people you were with at the time. I didn’t have those shared connections. I like music from all decades going back to the twenties. I like all sorts of music.
But music makes me feel lost. Especially in company. It makes me feel that I’ve missed out on life, on people, on shared experiences, on happy silly evenings. I’m trying to make up for it now. My son’s got me on Spotify which I stopped using several years ago for reasons that escape me. I’m finally putting together a play list of the songs I like and know as well as the songs I like but don’t really know. And if the shuffle plays Fred Astaire after Aerosmith that shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me.
I’ve also started going to gigs more, taking 3son with me. He’s inherited some of my eclectic taste but has made it his own and is already taking his friends to their first gig. So he’s not alone with it. We talk about music and bands, play each other songs. 1son introduces both of us to new groups. his first gig was The Magic Numbers at The South Bank after having played them for me.
I love live music. I love watching musicians play and I love the “proper” gigs just as much as the joyous sense of community in a pub when people are dancing and singing and having fun with music. It’s taken me years to get used to the fact that people over 20 can enjoy music and dance to it which just shows how far I’ve had to come. I never will catch up with some of my music nerdy friends who know their stuff. I haven’t quite got used to the fact that I never will.