Like it is for most young people growing up, music was an integral and influential part of my existence throughout my teens and into my early 20s. The bands and artists I listened to with my friends really were the soundtracks to my life. Every road trip, party, adventure, crush, and breakup had a song that felt like it was written for that very moment and just for me, or for us.
Between the ages of 16 and 18 I spent, on average, three nights a week going to gigs at Fibbers in York. My best friend and I were on the Street Team for the venue which meant we could get free backstage entry to every gig in return for spending a few hours handing out flyers to promote the venue. Trying to balance A level course work, classes, an evening job and going to as many gigs as possible drained the life out of me and I spent most of those years zombified- a fitting state to match my emo style. But it was worth it. I got to see so many awesome bands, watch sound checks and meet the bands and artists backstage including Badly Drawn Boy and Graham Coxon.
We went to see Less Than Jake every year, went to Download and Leeds Festival annually and knew the words to every song they played at our favourite alternative club night at Ziggys in York. My gig ticket collection grew month-on-month and I still have the 5 framed montages of tickets up in the attic.
When driving my car I had The Prodigy, Coheed and Cambria, Blur or The Used blasting from my stereo and every morning I woke up to a mixed CD with Blink 182, Pappa Roach and Slipknot every morning.
Fast forward to today. I’m now 29 years old and I haven’t got any music on my iPhone and my CD player is still packed from when we moved over 18 months ago.
Music used to lead my life yet now I have to make a conscious effort to listen to anything.
On reflection there are 6 main factors that have contributed to my music-lacking life.
1. My 16gb iPhone is filled with so many apps and photos I don’t have any space for music.
2. I can’t bare the thought of setting up my Hifi because I always get the speaker wires in a tangle and one has to be wiggled in just the right place to get the whole darn thing working.
3. Working from home means I no longer have a commute where I can listen to music.
4. Our internet download is limited because we are on 4G and can’t get normal broadband because we live in the middle of nowhere.
5. Copying CDs from my mates meant I had a constant stream of new music. Now, no one buys CDs, CD burners are old technology and it’s also illegal.
6. My music taste is quite different to Dave’s. I don’t think he would appreciate me singing my guts out to The Used.
I’ve been aware of the situation some time but haven’t put my mind to sorting it out. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t a biggie. However, I’m conscious that music is a good for the mind and can help one relax. I want music back in my life.
The topic came up in discussion with Dave one evening and, since music is a big part of his social life (he’s part of a soundsystem crew), we both are keen to listen to more music. It’s useful that Dave has an interest in technology and speakers and he’s been talking for some time about investing in a good music system that sounds good, puts music into every room in the house and can compile all our music into one place. I’m not techy, but it sounds ideal.
We’ve been looking at different wireless speaker systems and the ones that Panasonic do are reasonably priced and would solve my ‘tangled wires’ syndrome. Although they are sleek-looking we want to customise them to fit in with our décor. The idea is to make wood casings for them so they either look like they are made out of wood or just look like logs. I’ve been pinning away on Pinterest for inspiration and there are so many cool ideas for wood speakers.
We don’t spend much time watching TV but we are both guilty of spending a lot of time on our laptops and mobile phones. With this blog and my own business to run I feel the need to be ‘always on’; checking out my social media channels, reading other blogs and responding to emails. As part of my plan to ‘regain my passion for music’ we are going to ban mobile phones from the bedroom. We wanted to ban them as we know they will be effecting our sleep. Many studies show that looking at screens in the hour before bedtime reduces the quality of sleep. Instead, we will listen to music and truly relax rather than watching our screens which are proven to disrupt sleep. I reckon my music project will actually have a benefit on my health.
Another great thing about music is that it can provide entertainment while I do something dull, such as cleaning or cooking. It sounds obvious, but I genuinely forget to put music on at such times. I think a lot of it is to do with habit. As a teen I would automatically reach for the play button on my stereo or pop my earphones in when on the move.
I’m excited to rekindle my relationship with music. I’m looking forward to dedicating time to listening to music with Dave. I know I’ll benefit from music being a part of my life again.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has also found themselves drift away from music, especially if it was such a big part of your life when you were a teenager. It would be interesting to hear about how you tuned back in and made music a part of your life again. Please leave me a comment below or send me a Tweet @MissJTulip. Thank you.