Big 50 Volume 12: Music

Oh where to start on this one??

I have always said that I would rather be blind than deaf, simply because I couldn’t live without music.  It makes up some of my earliest memories, has punctuated my life, can change my mood in an instant, and is the thing I turn to in times of celebration and need.

I learnt music when I was a kid.  Many, many years of it.  I learnt the organ.  I know!  For a few years while I was at a very good music academy, my teacher, a deliciously camp man named Francis (we once had a fundraiser to buy Francis a pair of purple leather pants.  I kid you not.) allowed me to play any instrument that interested me at the time, so long as I didn’t tell my mother.  I really liked the saxophone, violin and drums.  I think that’s what made reading music “click” in my head, trying it out on various instruments.  I remember him saying I had a natural gift for the saxophone.  I asked my parents if I could switch from the organ (cringe) to the saxophone, but they wouldn’t let me.  I can still play the piano and read music (though I’m a little rusty).

I used to play a game as a kid called “What’s that song?”  The idea was to listen to the radio and the minute a new song started, I’d have to name it and the artist before the intro had ended.  I was always REALLY good at it too.  Could remember hundreds.  I used to play another game where someone would give me a word, and I’d sing a song with that in the lyrics.  Another one I was really good at.

In High School, I was known for my weird music collection.  I’d have badges stuck to my bag of bands that my peers had never heard of.  Nobody of my age knew who Frank Zappa was at school, and I had some pictures of him stuck to a folder, with his name underneath it, and suddenly my nickname was Zappa.   The jerks turned it into an insult, but it was the first time I’d been given a nickname that I loved.  I was weird and it was worth it if I got to listen to awesome music.  Later my love of “weird” music made me some awesome friends and a couple of great boyfriends too.

In my early 20’s, I had a music store.  It was only a small one in a country town, but my passion for music meant that I really engaged with customers because I had such broad tastes.  I made a lot of friends through that store.  It was a bit of a haven for all the odd-bods and offbeats of the town.  You can imagine in a country town, a lot of the population is pretty conservative, so being offbeat is tough.  Where better to head than the music store?

My music collection is huge.  I have boxes and boxes of CD’s.  I have stacks and stacks of vinyl.  I even still have a shitload of cassettes.  Don’t ask about my iTunes.  A friend of mine used to rifle through my CD’s and say “Geez Kath, you’ve got something to offend everyone in here.”  I took it as a compliment, which is how he intended it.   I love something from every genre.  And some things that defy genre.  I have some stuff that is so middle of the road you’d want to puke.  I have stuff that I bet you’ve never even heard of.

I can’t live without music.  I have it playing more hours of the day than I don’t.  It’s my lifeblood.

What does music mean to you?  How significant is it in your life?


November 23, 2010. Big 50, music.

One Comment

  1. kate replied:

    Ah, the blog I have been waiting for – yah.
    I too have a huge passion for music and it’s also in the vein of eclectic, although I suspect no where near as diverse as yours.
    I teach music to preschoolers and so sing all day, but waht do I do to let off steam – sing.
    I recently went through a fairly rough patch and all I could cope with was silence at the end of the day, but a light was switched on a few months ago by a friend saying waht truly makes you happy – I said listening to music, and with that I got my ipod loaded up and now have music on wherever and whenever I can. I also have you, kath, to thank for introducing me to Duffy and revisiting my love of Dolly.
    So I say to all and sundry “Thank you for the music”.

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