On Tuesday I heard some of Radio 4's series "Soul Music" which was about one of my most favourite Disney songs " Feed the Birds." A song that makes me well up every single time I hear it, I think it's the swell of the orchestra as Mary Poppins sings of the Saints and the Apostles smiling down on each person that spends just tuppence to feed the birds, that triggers some unexplained emotion in me. Julie Andrews of course sings it note perfect but I nearly sobbed when one of its creators Richard Sherman sang it, not quite in tune at a piano. This got me thinking about how music plays such an important part of our lives, a tune brings with it memories temporarily forgotten, back to the here and now, sometimes with such clarity that you are transported back to the moment that indelibly marked itself on you. Another of my favourite Radio 4 shows is Desert Island Discs, I find it fascinating to hear celebrities speak about the 8 songs they would take to a desert island and why, it gives such a personal insight into them as individuals and can tell the listener a great deal about the type of person they are.
Since starting our adoption journey I have been fascinated about how we are all shaped and marked by our experiences, even if we cannot articulate the memories we may have, so after two days of thoughts and difficult decision making here are my Desert Island Discs, I wonder what they say about me.
Secretly, I always wanted to be a little bit wild but was too scared. I was and probably still am a little in awe of Blondie and Wendy James of Transvision Vamp. Which to choose? It really had to be Blondie's Heart of Glass, the minute I hear the opening drum beat then the guitar overture, I know exactly which song it is and it takes me back to the time I was moving on from primary school. It takes me back to playing "he on the lines" handstands into bridges on the grassy slopes of the school field and hanging upside down on the bars of the climbing equipment. A time of innocent fun before the trials and trauma of secondary school life.
When I was 11 years old my Dad picked me up as I walked home from school, he was buzzing with excitement and so was the whole house when I walked through the front door. We had our very first colour TV, not like today's at all, in fact my mum still laughs about how you couldn't see the tennis balls during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. The first movie we watched that very afternoon was an Elvis Presley one, all I remember was the blue, blue sea and sky. I would guess that it was Blue Hawaii but couldn't promise. We must have watched every Elvis movie, my mum was a huge fan but my most favourite was King Creole, I used to dream of visiting New Orleans and explore the French style side streets and eat the crawfish. That opening scene in moody black and white with Elvis singing "Crawfish" from a wrought iron balcony a foil to the beautiful crawfish seller will voice and in actual fact Perfect is not a favourite anymore, I prefer her more haunting melodies and lyrics, the one I attempt to sing along to, when it's just me and her is Comedy Waltz, it's my go to song when something has riled me, it's a looking for something funny or good when things aren't kinda song. One that plays in my life more often than I want, yet it makes me smile and helps me move on. It reminds me of my 18th birthday party a time that in many ways life was beginning, a time when the world was my oyster and I could be anything I wanted to be. Wow!
When I was 23 I bought my first house a small terraced ex-council house Every Friday night my friend Jo came over with a bottle of wine, I would cook us dinner, we would drink the wine, pull on our jeans and cropped tops and with £15 tucked into our back pockets, keys in front left pocket and in my case a pack of
silk cut in the other back pocket we would stroll the 20 minutes to La Mirage our local nightclub, if we got there before 10pm it was free so we would say hi to the bouncers and buy our first bottle of bud of the evening and would hit the dance floor, beer in one hand, cigarette in the other and then we would dance all night, leaving when the lights started to be turned on. I had an amazing group of girlfriends "the coven" who I holidayed with to Portugal, Corfu and Ayia Napa inCyprus and the song that transports me back to those days of being young, carefree, irresponsible and a little bit drunk is Degrees In Motion - Shine On. Oh the memories. It was at a pit stop in our local on the way to Mirage that I met an old primary school mate, little knowing at the time that he was going to be my husband. Scribbling my number on a strip torn off the top of my cigarette packet was to lead to romance and wedded bliss. We managed our wedding on a shoestring, money that our parents and my aunt gave us. We had a yellow rolls royce, something I had always dreamt of after watching the movie of the same name, a church wedding and the celebration after in the Town Hall. It was market day and the yellow rolls royce dropped us in amongst the flower stalls that were sited outside the entrance. What a stir we caused. The song We chose for our first song was "Make Someone Happy" by Jimmy Durante.
Whilst I was pregnant with our first three children, my husband, a bit of a music snob used to play his favourite tracks to introduce his offspring Ito "real" music, I had no taste you see. Child 1 loved Beck, child 2 Beastie Boys but child 3 showed no exciting moves in my bell you on matter what he played. It was when I, heavily pregnant took a 7 year old child 1 to watch Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty that she finally showed some interest. I was secretly so pleased that one of my children had some old fashioned classical taste. My favourite Tchaikovsky ballet is Swan Lake, particularly the bit that Billy Elliot finished on. I wanted the film to continue into the ballet. There is something so magical about the ballet, you can lose yourself in the mythical world of the fight of good versus evil that always has a happy ending.
I'm Walking on Sunshine, whoa, I'm walking on sunshine whoa - Katrina and the Waves is a tune full of joy for me, it's a does what it says on the tin kinda song. Happy, go lucky and one to dance too.
This one must be one of my all time favourites, it's played at all the events I go to. Christmas Parties, Wedding's, 18th, 21st, 30th 40th etc etc. It just seems to tie in with so many celebrations and makes me wanna dance.
My last choice has to be Silent Night, every year we sing this at the Christmas Eve Vigil Service, it's at every Carol concert and as someone who insists on carols being played throughout advent, along side Phil Spectre, Now Christmas and Frank Sinatra's Christmas Album it is something I hear every year. A reminder of what Christmas is about. It for me slows the fast pace of Christmas down for just a few minutes bringing calm and gentleness to where we are. The story behind it is beautiful, in 1816 a Josef Mohr after seeing reanactment of the Nativity was sitting at the top of a hill over looking Oberndorf and he remembered a poem that he had written and he wanted it put to music but the organ in his church was not working so he asked Franz Gruber to put the words tomusic, Gruber using a guitar and came up with the melody. A few weeks later a well known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived in Oberndorf to fix the organ, Gruber tested the organ by playing Silent Night. Mauracher was so impressed that he took a copy back to his alpine Village where two well known families of singers heard it and included the new song into their Christmas season repertoire and now it is sung the world over.
So there we have it an insight in to the workings of my soul, I wonder what my children would chose and what sort of insight that would give me of them - something to consider perhaps a talking point on a long car journey maybe?
PS the book I would take would be L M Montomery's Anne of Green Gables, the whole collection if I could as its my most favourite and my luxury item a never ending bottle of ice cold prosecco.