Sunday, 17 January 2010

Songs and Stories (and Haiti)

Firstly, thanks to Brit in Bosnia for tagging me for this one. I love your story and you've certainly got me thinking...

The thing is, I'm not one of those people who has a soundtrack to my life.  Words are more my thing; B does the music. I do the words.  Ironic really that we met singing, but it's true to say that I can only remember a tune if I remember the words first.  No words, no tune.  When B and I were first going out he gave me some cds of music that he loved, among them Beethoven Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov Second Symphony.  Despite coming from a classical, rather than pop-loving, family, I'd never heard either of them before.

Apart from the time I played them in a concert series in Cambridge and Paris about four years previously.  A fact I only remembered when B found the concert programme a month or so after he gave me the cds. Oops.

So you'll see, I don't have a soundtrack to my life.  I don't associate particular songs or pieces of music with particular events.  So thinking about this meme has really got me racking my brains.

Should it be the first song I remember hearing on the radio - Super Trouper.  As I say, my parents are classical music people (why did they think you had to be one or the other? I'm certainly not) and we just didn't have pop music at home.  So I heard this in someone else's car on the school run.  Our dog at the time was called Trooper.  Aged 7 that was all it took to be my favourite song.  The dog must have died about 20 years ago, but Abba still reminds me.

Or perhaps the first album I bought.  Kylie. Before she was cool.  Or maybe not. Or Take on me, which is just an awesome song and reminds me of my brother and the time I went to see him sing at a concert in Egham and got on a train to Esher instead.  It turns out they're not the same place.

Or the songs that plot my relationship with B.  We met in 2002.  The first piece of music we sang together as a couple was Bach's St John Passion.  We had the chorale, In Meines Herzens Grunde, at our wedding.  But that was years into the future. In 2002 we went out for about six months and I fell irrevocably in love, before he had a moment of madness and dumped me. Fool.  Have forgiven him now, just, but at the time it felt like my life was over.  I remember days of weeping; the only time in my life I genuinely couldn't eat.  It was the Summer of 2003 and anyone reading this will be thinking "Oh yes, that was really hot".  Was it?  I don't remember.  There is a blank in my memory of about five months.  The only thing I do remember is this song.  B had bought the album just before we split up, and I played this obsessively; sitting in the dark by the stereo. Me and Nina, crying.  Love me or leave me and let me be lonely.  I'd rather be lonely than happy with somebody else.  I meant it.

Fortunately I didn't have to. He came to his senses, did the necessary grovelling and we got back together.  During the interregnum I'd bought my own flat and B came and helped me warm it.  I remember a long night of sex, drugs (if alcohol counts) and renaissance polyphony...Oh, and the Proclaimers.

Reader, I married him.  And the songs that go with the stories now are mostly to do with my girls.  Build me up Buttercup, because it's a happy song and I can't not smile when I hear it.  And because Buttercup's a happy name that we gave to our firstborn.  Yes, she really is L K Buttercup C...

Or more baby-related songs:  A&S were born by elective (consultant enforced) c-section.  We were firmly told that we needed to bring in our own cd if we didn't want the girls to be born to Magic fm (could have been fine, could have been Celine Dion (not linking that one on a point of principle)).  The last two weeks of my pregnancy, while I fussed about whether the builders would be finished in time, B was composing the perfect playlist.  I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or scared when the anaesthetist got the giggles when our cd opened with Here Come the Girls...  They were actually born to (You make me feel like a) Natural Woman, but it's Here Come the Girls that I'll always associate with their arrival.

But maybe it should be the song, with no story, that for me sums up B and me, and our family and how I feel about it all.  And it's the Proclaimers.  B is Scottish and it's a legal requirement that you can't be born north of Berwick and not be a Proclaimers fan.    I'm not Scottish and before I met him I'd have gone "yeah, yeah, 500 hundred miles, whatever".  But the thing is after nearly five years of marriage and three children, the sleep deprivation has got to me and I've realised he's right.  They're good. Very good.  And if we got married again, I'd have this as our first dance...

That's it.  Over to you:

Potty Mummy (and/or Footballers Knees) - to give you something else to think about other than whether your stuff is all going to arrive in one piece (or not, if it's the last thing you feel like doing!)
I'm a Mommy get me out of here
And three bloggers who were new to me this week and whose writings I have very much enjoyed reading
Crystal Jigsaw
Naomi de la Torre
Notes to Self, plus two (and the need for Red Shoes)


It feels all wrong to be going from recounting the ease and comfort that is (and has been) my life (in which the most difficult thing I've done in the last few hours is to find all those links on YouTube) to talking about Haiti, but then that's precisely why we must talk about Haiti. The people there need us not to forget them.  You know why.  Please help, either through the Bloggers for Haiti justgiving page, or through the DEC.

Thank you.


  1. Oh lovely, I love hearing all the songs that people have listened to. Thanks for taking on the tag!

  2. Oh I adore 500 miles, what I adore more is when all my boys sing it in the car and I feel totally loved

  3. Those are great songs ! Isn't this a great meme

  4. Hey - no idea what happened here. I have just seen your message and this post! How exciting - thanks! My first meme ... I am on it.

    :-) :-)

  5. finally I do it! It was fun thank you. I wrote so much it is now a 2 parter.


I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

So please do. Comments are great...