Saturday, August 11, 2007


Although untagged, I'm picking up the baton from A Novelist and Alan. In a pioneering mood, I venture forth, dear reader, with the soundtrack to my life.
I'm getting off to a bad start here, beginning with a song out of chronological order.

I was fifteen when I first heard this record. My friend had a country compilation LP with this track on it. I nearly fell off my chair when, early on in the song, I heard my own date of birth, the third of June.

So perhaps this song isn't out of chronological order, really (though strictly speaking, of course, it is).


The early years of my life are quite horrible and, to be frank, I'm rather glad human beings don't have vivid memories of our first few years.

My Father could not be found as my Mother went into labour. As it later turned out, he was with his mistress in Wareham. Probably fucking her while my Mother was giving birth to me. Horrid imagery is conjured in my mind when I think about it.

I was a poorly child right from the start. At three moths old, my Mum was told I'd probably not live beyond my first birthday. Doctors considered removing my spleen, but then discounted the idea claiming it would neither save me nor prolong my life. But as now, I clung on to life.

Numerous blood transfusions carried me from a babe in arms to a two year old boy, nearly three.
A week before my third birthday, I went into hospital. Again. This time, no-one was really sure if or when I'd come out. Blood transfusions. Steroids. Confined to bed. But I did get better. I remember eating a whole packet of custard cream biscuits on my birthday and then vomiting up the lot in a tiny metal dish shaped like a kidney. The spew went all over my Mum and a nurse.

Actually, that's probably my earliest memory. I always thought it was waking up on my fourth birthday. Strange that only know I realise that this is not the case.

Those are my memories. The memories of others are of me and my record player. I only had two records, apparently, and would play them over and over again. Puppy love by Donny Osmond and Kiss me honey honey kiss me by Dame Shirley Bassey.

Later, when I'm probably about five or six years old, I remember playing the Bassey song in my bedroom. I remember feeling a sense of shame, hoping no-one heard me playing Kiss me... Not because I thought people might think the song was naff but because I actually thought the song was quite rude.

My Father was a strange person. His mood could change like the wind and he had a temper like no other man on the face of the earth. He made Saddam Hussein look kind.

In our car, we had an eight track cassette player. One of the many cassettes which lived in the glove box was by Perry Como. Dad loved And I love you so. I'm always reminded of him when I hear Perry, which is a shame as he's quite a nice singer and the song is actually quite beautiful.

I can't believe how often I use the word nice. It's such a bland word.

The Nolans must have come to the fore in the late 1970s and I'm in the mood... I remember, was a favourite of my sister's when she looked like this. Some of the most splendid moments of my youth were spent with Christine. She's very special to me. And some of those moments were spent in her bedroom. This special moment was spent there with her, I and Debbie. I remember having an old curtain over me. I believed I was an old gypsy woman. The three of us were dancing to I'm in the mood for dancing.

It's such an innocent memory. I had no idea, then, that people might judge someone pretending to be a gypsy woman.

I just remember us twirling, laughing, having fun.

I hated going to Sunday School. I really did. And it was a Baptist church to boot. I really dug my heels in and told my Mother that in no uncertain terms was I prepared to ever go again after the superintendent told me that my dog was indeed not in heaven (animals don't have souls and only Jews and gentiles go to heaven) and I'd been hit on the head by one of the teachers. With an umbrella. Hard.

My Mum loved music. A minibus called to pick me up and take me to Sunday School and then bring me home again. I think, practically every time I came back from that awful place, just in time for lunch, Mum would be playing The Ink Spots on our old hi-fi. The track she liked best was I don't want to set the world on fire. I used to know all the words. Sadly, I can now only remember the second line... I just want to start a flame in your heart.

By the mid 1980s, I was well into pop music. When I first heard La Ross singing Chain reaction, I nearly had a heart attack. I thought it was the best song I'd ever heard and nothing could ever beat it. I thought that if I had this record I'd never need another.


I'm never sure, dear reader, if Madonna's True blue or Tina Turner's We don't need another hero (Thunderdome) was the first record I ever bought as, strictly speaking, I bought them together. In W H Smith's in Bournemouth. Of course, the cashier must have put one through the till before the other. Which one, though, I don't know and now, never will know.

I remember there was an instrumental version of We don't need another hero (Thunderdome) on the b side of Tina's single. I'd play the 7" in my bedroom (where there were no mirrors) and then go and stand in the bathroom in front of the medicine cabinet which had a mirror on the door. I'd sing the song, pretending I was Tina. The instrumental version was no quite the same as the a side, though, and I'd often get lost somewhere with in it. I remember thinking Tina was a bitch for that.

I saw Pet Shop Boys perform their first ever UK number one single on Top Of The Pops either at the tail end of 1985 or the beginning of 1986. I'm sure, actually, it was 1985 as they weren't yet number one. West End girls didn't get to number one until the first week of 1986 when it knocked Shakin' Stevens (a guy I thought was utterly hot) off of the top of the chart.

I remember thinking that both Neil and Chris were quite dishy. And the song was something else. I'd never heard anything like it before and had to have it. Sadly, though, I had to wait a while. I saved up my pocket money and bought Please in 1986.

I'd been buying CDs since 1987. It's s sin, being the first. But the first CD I bought and played after buying my own CD player was Wicked by Sinitta. Love on a mountain top is my favourite song on that album.

The video for Justify my love was the filthiest I'd ever seen. I was desperate to buy the single and the Immaculate Collection video. Imagine my surprise, dearest reader, on having bought said single, to hear the the beast within mix. I was scared shitless.

My Mother's younger sister, Barl, died in 1986. Mum asked me to play Sarah Brightman's Time to say goodbye in the morning on the day of the funeral, just before we left the house. We looked at each other with a bitter-sweet smile and ended up in floods of tears.

After the funeral, Sue, my cousin, Barl's eldest daughter, told me that on going through her things, she'd discovered her Mum had kept a photograph of me in her purse. It was old, somewhat faded and tatty at the edges. It had been there for years. Whenever I think of that (even now) I shed a tear.

Aunty Barl was a dear woman who lived a troubled life. She was glad to die. I could never understand it when she went, but now, eleven years later, I do.

One of the hymns at the funeral was Abide with me. I want that at my own, too.

Dream a little dream of me is featured in one of my favourite films of all time, Beautiful Thing. It's very special. J'adore it - the film and the song. Ian used to sing it to me.

XWiz and I adore being Rumours Of Whores. Schizophrenic, for me, is the highlight of the experience.

As I type, It only takes a minute by Take That (it's not shit at all) is playing on iTunes (I've got it on shuffle mode). An apt place to stop.


alan said...

Wowsers, Chain reaction. Ditto. THUNDERDOME! I loved that song.

Oh, and Time to say Goodbye is so lovely!

The Nolan Sisters! Wowsers.

Excellent list Minge.

Salty Sailor said...

good post hen. I just downloaded that Justify My Love remix... it's excellent!

Lewis said...

Puppy Love? Donny Osmond! Do you want me to tell you that I met him several years ago...the very nicest of men. And pretty easy on the eyes too. I just HAD to tell him about my listening to this song in the mid 1970s on an AM transistor radio while working outside in the yard. He laughed and so did I.

A Novelist said...

Great list! I would have tagged you hon but I thought you were still away on vacation. I'm glad you resonded to the tag! ;)