Archive | March, 2011

Tonight I’m cleaning out my closet. Pt1.

3 Mar

When I returned for a visit to Casa Sanderson  recently, I had a little rummage through my wardrobes. It’s amazing some of the stuff I’ve kept all these years. I had great fun rediscovering my old Yamaha keyboard, something I had a go at playing from the ages of about seven to twelve. I remember exactly when I decided I wanted to learn to play; a bloke came in to our school and did a few after-classes lessons. Isn’t it sad that something like that automatically sounds laden with paedo-based connotations these days?

Anyway, he was quite young, had wildly curly hair and wore glasses and I think he was a bit of a proto-hipster. He taught us how to play what he called ‘the music from the Guinness ad’. I remember being convinced he said ‘The Ginnysad’ and then assuming it to be some sort of play for grown ups or something. I later realised my mistake, but was bolstered by the fact that this chap has also been wrong cos it was in fact the music from the ‘Felix’ ad. Small victory, a few years too late. Regardless, I would then go on to have Saturday morning lessons with Mr Stanbury for some years, and to this day ‘Memory’ from Cats still manages to escape through my fingertips when sat at a set of keys. Quite a fitting song to be able to remember so well.

So it was along with my keyboard, my shoebox of sentimental trinkets from the relationship with the teenage love of my life, and a box of CDs that I spent time appreciating the value of memories. I’m not prepared to publish the contents of said shoebox, sorry. It would probably make me do a cry and you do a sick. However, I am quite happy to talk about the CDs. I was rooting through and as I picked up each and every one I was instantly taken back to a certain time, a certain place and a certain age. It was weird. If it was a film there would have been some sort of ‘schllooom!’ sound effect and a trippy journey down a computer generated time tunnel before reliving a scene from my past.

There’s three lots of these so here’s the first. I’d like to clearly reiterate that these were from a certain time and place and it doesn’t mean I still like them all now… the phrase ‘the folly of youth’ springs to mind in some instances…

So, starting left to right…and they aint chronological:

Robbie Williams, ‘Life Thru A Lens’ (1997)

I was never a Take That fan. I was a half-arsed East 17 fan, but mainly because I thought that if I didn’t like Take That, I was supposed to like them instead. However, I loved Robbie. I didn’t actually buy this when it first came out, I got it after falling in love with ‘I’ve Been Expecting You’, which was possibly one of the first albums I bought on CD. I remember vividly looking at it and reading through the tracks in the Music & Video section of my local Asda. To this day I have never seen Robbie live, but I feel that for my twelve year old self’s sake, I really should do at some point. I still have a Robbie doll (not a rude one) kindly given to me by my friend Fiona, that I especially doctored the arms on, doing tattoos  in biro.

Various Artists, ‘Shrek 2: Motion Picture Soundtrack’ (2004)

This has the potential to creep into that territory I was trying to avoid with that shoebox I mentioned…

The longest relationship I had was from the ages of 16 to 18. We were the sort of couple that made others jealous but at the same time people liked us being together cos it was all that good. Looking back as an adult, I’m even envious of my younger self and the carefree deal she had back then. Anyway, this was a present from said former love. I daresay it was just an ‘I want to buy you a present’ present, which makes me even more sick thinking about all the chaps of recent years. It is, of course, a pretty dire film. But there’s a song on there called ‘Accidentally In Love’ by Counting Crows that made us even more sappy. I’ll stop so you can empty your bucket. Oh, ‘Funkytown’ is on there too. I had a bit of a thing for that song for some time.

Foo Fighters, ‘There Is Nothing Left To Lose’ (1999)

See, this is one which you feel happy to report as existing in your old CD collection. Makes me sound a bit cooler than when I admit that “Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)” was the first single I ever bought. ‘Stacked Actors’, ‘Next Year’… and of course, ‘Learn To Fly’ are all on here. I remember this being an album that made me fall in love with music with a bit of balls and plenty of guitar.

Outkast, ‘Stankonia’ (2000)

This is another classic I can credit to Asda’s music section. I’m pretty sure it was a couple of years after it’s release I picked this up, and was dubious about doing so given that within that time I had got sick of ‘Miss Jackson’. Perhaps not quite as much as anyone actually called Miss Jackson, who will forever have people going ‘ooooh!’ after someone apologises to them. My friend Jade is a Miss Jackson…and a teacher. She’d be best to ask on the matter. ‘B.O.B’ from this album is a true keeper.

Arctic Monkeys, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ (2006)

I have a vivid Arctic Monkey memory. In the summer of 2005 (well…I’m pretty sure it was then…) I was sat in my parents house, downloading.  Shush!!! I had heard of these funny named characters after happening upon their myspace and got my mitts on a couple of their songs for my shoddy not-even-a-pretend-ipod mp3 player. I thought they were pretty swell. This was just as I was about to head off to Manchester for university, wholesome and naive. Zip through three years and multiple trips to places like 5th Ave and 42nd Street and I’m frigging sick of ’em. I oft think back to the time when I thought they were exciting. It helps.

Craig David, ‘Born To Do It’ (2000)

I remember watching Artful Dodger performing ‘Rewind’ on Top of the Pops and this handsome young chap with some pretty ‘fly’ moves bobbing about in a little beanie hat. I fell for Craig David. (I even owned Artful Dodger’s album I think… but that really is a little too rich to admit.) He was a bit of a modern day Barry White, or ‘Chef’ from South Park perhaps- all this talk of love making all the time. Yeah, ‘7 days’ is on here, and upon reflection there was probably something rather wrong about all the little’uns singing along to that. Now if I think about Craig I just wonder if Kes is alright.

New Found Glory, ‘Sticks And Stones’ (2002)

Would you believe that when I picked this album up on a whim that I knew very little about these New Found Glory characters? I went through a phase of buying a few CDs a week  in those good old days when I used to be at a bit of a loose end when it came to spending my pocket money. Anyway, this was a case of instant love. I listened to this CD on repeat on my ridiculously heavy portable hi-fi, but made the mistake to listen to it as I fell asleep once. It was then that I discovered the secret track pinned on the end, which starts with a creepy whisper of ‘ someone’s in your house’ before screaming. Needless to say, I near soiled myself as I leapt out to attack the ghosts I thought were milling around in my room. I will never forget that, but have long since forgiven NFG who will forever remain to be one of my favourite bands.

A, ‘Hi Fi Serious’ (2002)

You know what, ‘Nothing’ and ‘Starbucks’ are still really good little songs. And the best part is, when the latter was released, Starbucks were still relatively novel.I’m pretty sure it was around the time this came out that Epsom went and got one, the rubbish measly excuse for a Topshop being shut down in favour of this pocket-draining outlet stuffed full of caffeinated treats. Jason Perry put us all off getting jobs there though.

Coldplay, ‘Parachutes’ (2000)

I’m not one of those people with an almighty connection to this album. It is nice to think of a time where Chris Martin wasn’t despised by everyone. He is kind of the musical equivalent of Ashley Cole. I feel for the guy sometimes. I do remember choosing this album to do an illustration of for research for an art project, thinking it would be easy. It looked like I’d forgotten how to draw.

Sum 41, ‘Half Hour of Power’ (2000)

I went back and bought this after falling hook, line and sinker for ‘All Killer No Filler’ along with most other fourteen year old girls. The artwork looks as DIY as it sounds too. I’m going to confess now that I did use to have an almighty crush on Deryck ‘Bizzy D’ Whibley. Yes, the squishy faced one that looks like the runt of the litter. I cannot express the rage I felt upon hearing of his betrothal to that harpy Lavigne. I had an inexplicable hatred for that woman as soon as I heard ‘Complicated’, and I think it mainly stemmed through my dislike of her pinching my style. Much in a way Rihanna enrages me now. Although I secretly adore her.

Andreas Johnson, ‘Liebling’ (1999)

I daresay I think I must be the only person you will know that owns this CD. I did, of course buy it on the basis of a) loving ‘Glorious’ and b) thinking he was quite the dish. I have just checked, and he is actually on Spotify. Incredible. But further research tells me that he is now FORTY years old. Jeez. Still definitely would. I remember when I used to thumb through the album sleeve to look at his lovely face that it was that nice rough pulpy paper that smelt really nice like a new art sketchbook.

Another Level, ‘Another Level’ (1998)

I can feel you judging me from here. Remember, this was in the days prior to Dane Bowers becoming a national laughing stock. It was before he did that peculiar teaming up with Grumpy Spice and a vocal distorter. They had young ladies screaming at them and such as they offered to ‘lick them up and down til you say stop’. To be fair, upon reflection I’d probably said stop around the mid-shin level. It’s quite a strange offer when taken out of a steamy context.

Stereophonics, ‘Word Gets Around’ (1997)

I will defend this album for its brilliance til my last breath escapes me. The fact that Kelly Jones was one of the ultimate dreamboats through my youth is in fact, a simple side issue. This was one of the first albums where the story behind the wordsmithery involved really drew me in and at one point, I could have recited every single lyric. I used to listen to this on repeat as I did my art homework in the kitchen, swooning as I did so.

Daft Punk, ‘Discovery’ (2001)

‘Aerodynamic’. I remember (or at least I think it’s a proper memory) transferring this onto a mix tape to take in the car on what felt like the epic drive to either Devon or Cornwall with my family that year. It’s incredible how drives can seem to treble in the mind of a youth. On those sorts of journeys my Dad would often lose his rag, the air would turn blue, people would complain as to whether the windows should be up or down; but I was quite happy to inflict Daft Punk on everybody.

Various Artists, ‘Ministry of Sound Ibiza Annual’ (2001)

Given my music taste these days tends to involve plenty of guitar and sweat, it may come as a surprise that I used to listen to a lot of House and Garage back in the day. Yup. I remember Roger Sanchez’ ‘Another Chance’ being something of a favourite that summer…although I have to admit that looking down the track list there’s little else I can recall. Denial. It was my best friend from the upper eschelons of childhood, Emma, who got me into this nonsense. Her Dad had loads of CDs and tapes we used to listen to from the age of about ten to, apparently, fourteen. She is also responsible for my getting into Jamiroquai. She should be burnt for her witchcraft. We used to put them on in her living room and office and watch Sister Sister and the music channels cos the novelty of going to a house with Sky TV was almost too much to bear.

The Futureheads, ‘The Futureheads’ (2004)

Now here is a band I am quite happy to say I got into from the off. They featured prominently in my competitive quest for then-mildly-obscure indie band supremacy betwixt me and my on-off-sort-of-best-friend in secondary school. I’m sure everybody has one of those friends, don’t they? One you are apparently super close to but at the same time have a smouldering and inexplicable undercurrent of resentment towards? One minute we would be kipping around each other’s houses discussing the universe like crap but better versed versions of Hawking; the next we would be competing against each other in everything from grades, to fashion, to music taste… but in that way where we would never let each other know that’s how we felt. It’s funny to look back now and I totally don’t care. BUT I GOT THIS ALBUM FIRST DAMMIT!!! Ahem. Eh?

Finch, ‘What It Is To Burn’ (2002)

I need to write my brother a much-delayed thankyou card. Nearly ten years ago, he pinched this album from his little mate Simon, who I do believe had nicked it off his older brother. It was through this chain reaction of tea-leafing that I ended up getting my paws on what remains to be one of my most favourite albums. With one listen of ‘Letters To You’, I was hooked, but it would be the rehashed and much noisier version of the title track that would creep its way into my top ten songs of all time. This became one of the first CDs to get played on repeat in my first car, an apple green Toyota Yaris. Other favourites included ‘The Best of Wham!’ but that’s coming up later.

Yellowcard, ‘Ocean Avenue’ (2003)

If I’m not mistaken, I do believe the first I got to know of Yellowcard was when I discovered them to be supporting Feeder on their headlining tour sometime around this album’s release. I know. Weird. This is one that belongs in that glowing era of teenage fickle fancy and underage drinking with that aforementioned gent whose influence on my younger self induces queasiness across the land. This was bought on a trip to HMV in Sutton in his car that stank of a free air conditioner he got in a McDonald’s Drive-Thru where his mate used to work. We would then spend many a Saturday morning obsessively playing Mario Kart on the Gamecube wrapped up in a purple duvet listening to ‘Ocean Avenue’. So much so that whenever I hear the opening chug of the title track I can still picture Yoshi zooming around a dirt track corner, evading rolling barrels on the Donkey Kong level. Yellowcard and Mario Kart are forever inextricably linked- like a more shiny version of Harry and Lord Voldemort.

Dashboard Confessional, ‘A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar’ (2003)

Oh hello, emo Lucy. Okay. Just so you know, I do still love this album really. If you can overlook the whining it’s some good old-fashioned pop rock in there from one of the dishiest whingers the world has ever seen. ‘Hands Down’ became a song that meant the world to me at one point to the point where I couldn’t listen to it for a while ‘cos it made me want to do a cry. Jeez. That’s some pretty strong emo. I’m surprised this album isn’t only available on the black market. I saw these play at a dinky little gig in Shepherd’s Bush Empire which was amazing and stole my voice reducing him to a measly croak. However, for some reason it sticks in my mind as probably the last gig I can vividly remember the atmosphere from having the majority of the crowd sparking up cigarettes all around you. It’ll be one to tell the grandkids.

Gwen Stefani, ‘Love. Angel. Music. Baby.’ (2004)

Gwen Stefani has been my longest standing girl crush. Yes it’s true that Katy Perry, Kat Von D and Jessie J have joined the ranks- but Gwen is queen of Lucy’s Lesbianism Land. I have always found her fascinating to look at. She’s not stereotypically beautiful, but there is something about the silver screen glamour mixed in with tomboy streak that made me adore her. Her style, her attitude…she’s just gorgeous. Whenever I see the ‘Hollaback Girl’ video I still can’t take my eyes off her. I think… I think I love her. I’m going to sign this off on a swoon.