Music That Made My Life (Part 2)

Posted: March 30, 2014 in Music That Made My Life, Short stories, starts & writing

7. Singles – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

And then came grunge! On the strength of the album Ten I got a copy of the soundtrack to the film Singles (I hadn’t seen the film yet, but I was already a big Pearl Jam fan). Singles helped to open my eyes and ears to other bands and music and stuff I could scarcely have dreamt of.
From that opening bass-line in Alice In Chains’ Would? to the last fading scream of hallucinogenic feedback in The Smashing Pumpkins’ Drown, the music on that album was captivating, has always been.

The songs seemed to be asking so many questions of the listener – all of them open-ended – and though I’ve spent I-wouldn’t-even-hazard-a-guess-how-many-hours (it’d probably be counted in days, not hours) listening and pondering over and over these last twenty-odd years, I still find great joy in putting this album on, getting lost inside my own head, and continuing the indefinite search for the answers, interpreting what I hear, revelling in my own spin on the songs’ possible meanings.

Even though individual songs on this album evoke particular memories from later periods in my life, for me Singles is synonymous with a specific few years – 1993 to 1995 (or thereabouts). This period marked the transition from high-school to senior-high, the beginning of a greater sense of independence, and a number of big life-changing events.

Very early on in this period I bagged up all of the cassingles and commercial pop garbage I’d listened to prior to my “musical awakening” and gave it to my sister (what she did with it I don’t know. Chucked a lot of it I hope. It was pretty hideous stuff!).
All of that newfound space in my tape-drawer pretty soon began to fill up with my own personal mix-tapes. Endless hours diligently dubbing tracks from CD to tape and then, oh, the unrivalled delight, the moment I unpacked my first bought-with-my-own-money stereo (it had two tape decks!)
Oh, that ecstatic moment when I discovered I could tune into ABC t.v. through my stereo (I could tape Rage!)
Oh, how I revelled in the joyous search for that ultimate mix of songs.
And how heavy, how meaningful, the making and giving of the mix-tape to a particular someone. The mix-tape I gave to the girl, the someone who, it turned out, was to become my wife!

One of the biggest events in this period was when, in the Summer, 1994/1995, my folks teed up a job for me, cleaning at the local cinema. I’d often listen to Singles on my Discman while I worked, crawling on hands and sticky knees through a sea of stale popcorn and spilt soft-drink, scooping up empty drink cups, chip packets and popcorn containers from the atrocious early-70s carpet, pocketing the loose change I found dropped under the stained seats.
Having a casual job and a cash-flow for the first time in my life, every pay-day I’d invariably end up at Roundabout Music, browsing from one end of the shop to the other, and I’d usually walk out with a new CD.

Confession time (and another big life-changing event): often pay-day meant my friends and I would be able to afford to score some weed or buy a bottle of something (or both if we were particularly flush). After school (or, occasionally, even between classes*) we’d sit around at someone’s house or in one of the storm drains under the railway yards or the fernery in the park and get high. I’d eventually make my way home with a head full of smoke and whatever I’d bought from Roundabout Music, negotiate my way past my parents, shut myself up in my room and bliss out, listening to whatever it was, cranking my stereo if it was still the civilized daylight hours or listening through headphones if it was later on.
There can be no denying the fact: I gained a far greater appreciation for the intricacies, the depth, layers, patterns and rhythms in music when I listened while stoned than I ever had before. And those final four minutes of Drown were fucking amazing!


*Out of my brain, I once broke my big-toe in a game of racquet-ball against my teacher during P.E. I was bloody beating him too! Although I ended up on crutches for a week, it was almost worth it just to watch the nervous intern spray anaesthetic across the exam room as she tried to inject it into my throbbing, misaligned toe, her timid, tentative efforts to pull the toe back into place, the advice from the passing orderly pushing the trolley-load of dirty laundry (“Ya gotta put ya back into it!”), and the satisfying crunch when it finally went. “`


Please stay tuned for Part 3…

  1. Anon says:

    Revelation Time!!!! Parents aint as deaf,dumb & blind as cool teenagers believe. I remember when I was young….wait a minute! That could be a great opening line for a song!!!! Anon.

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