Wednesday 19 August 2009

Stop, look and listen

Downstairs, on the bookshelf, sits The Champagne Socialist single. It arrived in the post over a week ago, and it remains unlistened.

There comes a time in everyone's life when they're just too busy to remember everything. I think my brain reached saturation point some years ago, because although I can remember quite vividly what I did in August 1985, I have very little recollection of my movement last weekend.

Being busy got me thinking about things I never do any more. I don't go for bike rides any more. I don't hardly ever read books any more. And, perhaps most galling of all, I very rarely find time to sit down and listen to an album. Of course I still listen to music all the time - but it's usually whilst I'm doing something else like working or washing up or making the tea. You don't really take it all in then, do you?

When I was 15 or 16 I'd go out on a Saturday and buy a handful of records, get the bus home and sit in my room listening to them over and over again until I knew the words. And, of course, at the same time I'd memorise the sleeve notes. Everyone else did that, right?

Nowadays I sometimes don't even listen to new stuff. Not that I'm some kind of whirling social butterfly I hope you understand - more that the general drudge of life constantly gets in the way. Take the last three Morrissey albums for example; when I was a nipper I could name every song Morrissey and The Smiths had released in chronological order. Now I'd be hard-pressed to name a dozen songs off the last three records. Sure, I recognise them when they come on, but I'm not entirely sure what they're called, or even what album they're off.What have I become!

Everyone who loves or has loved music will surely recognise that sitting alone in your bedroom, in front of the stereo - possibly making a mix-tape, possibly not - was or is one of the most enjoyable things in the world.

Of course nowadays we have access to so much more music than ever before, but do we really listen to it all? Or do we just collect it? At the moment, I'm guilty of the latter, and that makes me a little bit sad, because falling in love with a record is still one of the best feelings in the world. It's intensely personal, but at the same time totally liberating because you realise that there must be other people out there that feel the same. And that feeling is all too fleeting these days.

It does come back, right?

There's too many questions here... and it's a silly thing to moan about really.


Colin said...

fantastic post - and too true sometimes. I need an extra day added to the week for a record listening day!

Pete Green said...

Aye, good post, Sam. Abundance brings its own problems.

Don't be too hard on yourself for not knowing all those recent Morrissey songs though - we may be a little less able to remember them, but they've become a lot less memorable.

String Bean Jen said...

Ugh, full days consumed by adult responsibilities and little time for the pleasures that used to happen so easily, naturally. I feel that.

You've also caused me to try to remember the last full-length album that I have fallen in love with. I'll have to think about that.

Dennis said...

Silly thing is indeed that I keep buying records, but then don't find a moment to listen to them. My record player is still not even connected in the new house. With the baby added, there's just not a lot of time left after work. Yesterday I mentioned to Franziska how much I miss music. There needs to be a solution, right? Let me know when you find it.

String Bean Jen said...

Music listening time can be sometime after 7 or 8pm when baby has gone to sleep for at least a few hours and you're too exhausted after work and parenting to do anything other than lay there, press play, and zone out to some tunes. :-)