Music & memory

Twas a busy day in the shop yesterday and it wasn’t till near 10 that I left. That time of night of a Saturday and the roads are quiet. People are either out having a good time, or home having a quiet time. I enjoy driving when it’s like that. On winters days like what we’re having I feel cocooned in the car with the heater on and the music playing and my foot pressed against the accelerator.

There were great songs on the radio last night. First up was a Marvin Gaye song Mercy, Mercy Me. Now if you don’t love Marvin you don’t know music. He’s one of my favourites all time, but there was one particular phase of my life in which he was the soundtrack. Late eighties, early nineties I think, lot’s going on, busy socially, out and about, striving at work, and busy with the girls. I was in love I think and Marvin touched a nerve and that was that.

Next song on was another all time favourite, Moondance, by Van Morrison. I got my first ever CD player about 1991. Fuck that seems a long time ago. I remember it well, bringing it home and unpacking it from its box. It was a Yamaha, which a paired with the NAD 3020e amplifier. Good unit.

I bought a bunch of CD players to go with it. Probably about the 8th CD I ever bought was a Van Morrison compilation. Shoot, I bought one by James Taylor too, and not long after the aforementioned Marvin Gaye. I remember those days so well, the apartment I was in set amid a garden in Kensington Road, South Yarra. I remember bringing the girl home night after night and drinking plonk together and telling tall tales and sometimes on the old couch, and the music.

Moondance was always a great and rollicking song, but later I would listen to Shower the People by Taylor and think of the girl, and sometimes Fleetwood Mac singing Go Your Own Way (great song), these songs playing over and over again late in the night and in my head the next day as I went to work. I recall one hot day when I thought she had broken my heart again, wondering if I should go out into the blinding sunshine and meet her at the beach, and instead listening to Dionne Warwick singing Walk On By, and then Alfie, as if I couldn’t understand.

Little did I know then that there was so much more water to flow under that particular bridge and other homes and songs that came to represent a time (Losing My Religion by REM was big in that). All these songs came and went, as did the times, as did indeed the girls, but Marvin was there throughout like my personal musician.

This morning driving into the shop it was foggy out, and once more the roads were sparse of traffic. The trees overarched the road bare of leaves and winter stark. The odd cyclist pedalled by. I passed people walking their dogs, and crazies in their shorts going for a stroll. The radio played and I listened and I switched stations till I got something I liked, Crying, by Roy Orbison, which, gee I hadn’t heard for so long and somehow reminded me of my grandmother. Did she love Roy Orbison?

Then an old Creedence song came on, just about my favourite of theirs, As Long As I Can See The Light, listening quietly as the car purred through the suburbs, contemplating the lyrics and remembering the time not so long ago I saw Chris Cornell perform a great version of it live and gee whiz, I love music.


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