January 19, 2009

"I like Chopin".

Music is important to me. It always was and always will be. I love the way my body reacts, making the hair on the back of my neck raise, when I hear a melody that is just right. When either the music is composed in a way that appeals to me, or when the lyrics reflect the state of my mind.

My radio is always on. There is music in my house at all times, except when I sleep.
When I was young, there was no internet and no iTunes. No mp3s. Any music we wanted to own, we had to purchase by buying a full LP. Or a single. Remember the vinyls?
Of course that was not possible, as in no way could I afford that. But then there were the cassette tapes. We could always tape the music we liked from the radio. I remember owning a small radio with a tape recorder, together with my sister. We would constantly fight over it. In the end we developed a schedule, where we would alternate using it every other week - she had it one week and me the other. Particularly weekends were important. The radio stations would be broadcasting charts and top 20, or top 50 pop music countdowns. And we would be ready with our empty tapes to capture our favorite tunes.

Yesterday, after not sleeping much during the night, I experienced a wave of nostalgia and decided to play a bunch of my 20+ year old tapes all over again. It was indeed a bit bittersweet to listen to the ancient, dusty tapes, which were filled with static, songs cut into by the talk of the DJs and sound of utterly poor quality. But exactly these faults made the whole experience magical. Some of the recordings originated from "Radio Luxembourg", a popular European radio station, that unfortunately stopped broadcasting in the early 90's, when the television, internet and the videos took away the allure of the radio. It was a truly melancholic moment for me, sitting there among the old tapes, realizing that a part of my life is forever gone.

Below is a typical Italo-pop tune that used to drive both me and my sister crazy. We loved it and played it over and over. Titled "I like Chopin", performed by Italian Gazebo, it is a typical 80's track (1983).
Watching it, is for me a deliciously lovely walk down my "musical" past.


Diane said...

Another way we're different... I spend my days in silence (well, except for Sundance, snoring beside me... or days when Ryan's home, as the talking never stops ;). I like music... love music, really, but I just never seem to need it.

Noelle Chantal said...

oh, the vinyls are really cool! my sister actually bought some of it for collection and display. i was really into music and dancing as well. i studied ballet for like 12 years and 2 years in the college of music.

it was really nice reading your post. you and your sister must be very close! reminds me of my sister too. we constantly fight over about anything haha!

i miss my old tapes. and my good old days too. :)

see you around!

carmilevy said...

Ah, you speak my language! I grew up taping my favorite songs off the radio, too. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the stereo, waiting for what seemed like ages for the right song to come on, then hoping I was fast enough to get the tape started.

Thank you for unleashing a happy memory. As convenient as downloading MP3s and burning them to CD is today, it lacks the same soul.

Melanie Gillispie said...

I've been trying to clean up and pare down my belongings, and in cleaning out one of my closets I found these little wooden crates that I stored all of my cassettes in back when I was a teenager. I still have about 50 cassettes in the crates, most taped from my friend's actual artist tapes since we couldn't really afford to buy new music either. I'm both thrilled and a little appalled by my music choices back then.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Bliss for me during puberty was a tape recorder and Radio Luxembourg and whole evenings holed up in my bedroom, discovering new favorites. Bliss now is buying those same tunes one by one from the iTunes Store. I never outgrew my RL days. :-)

Rosa said...

Thank you so much for the sweet comment. My grandfather is doing miraculously better; he may even be able to return to his home this week.

It's bittersweet and fascinating how music can transport us into bygone days of the past. I tear up sometimes when I listen to certain songs that bring me back to experiences that I know I can never have again.

Your blog is very interesting; I'll be sure to visit soon again! =)


Zuzana said...

Diane, I could not be in a quite house at all, I need some sort of background noise present. But I guess if I would have a lively child and a dog, I would not need additional sounds.;))

Noelle, thank you for that great comment! 12 years of ballet, you must be quiet a dancer then.;)
And aren’t sisters just great? I miss mine very much; she lives about 2000 km away from me. Hope your is in closer proximity.;)

Hello Carmi, happy to have contributed to a nostalgic walk down your memory lane.;) And I do recognize that wait for the tape to start and also for me to push the record button at the right time. I agree, the digital sound appears at times to lack something; perhaps soul is the right term.
Thank you for stopping by.;)

Mel, that sounds so familiar to me! When I moved back t Europe, I re-discovered my old possessions that were stored in boxes in my parent’s basement during my stay in the US. One box was full of old tapes and I can remember sitting for hours going through them all. Except I still do like the same music. In my opinion, the 80’s music rocks, they don’t make music like that anymore.;))

Keera, how great to meet someone that still remembers Radio Luxembourg and is as an avid fan as I am!;)) And I share your sentiments about being in my room with just the bad radio transmission on, waiting for new music to be broadcasted. I even remember the commercials in between the songs.
I did not outgrew my RL days either.;))

Rosa, thank you for those wonderful words; I am glad to hear that your grandfather is doing better.
Yes music, just like a scent, has a way of bringing back memories in a very real way.
Thank you so much for stopping by and please come back again.;))

Gal Friday said...

I wasn't able to hear the music(the video was "removed"), and I have never heard of "I Like Chopin", but I can certainly relate to your memories of the radio(I was glued to it, too and taped music of it, as well!) and LP's(I remember when going into the record store was like a meeting place, almost--before the internet and iTunes, like you say. It was the center of everything--I used to buy at least one LP every week when I was a college student)

Often, there is music on in this house, but today I have the radio set to NPR(news and talk programmes) because of their coverage of the innauguation of Barack Obama.

Gal Friday said...

Sorry about all the spelling mistakes and typos..but I think yu can make out what I was trying to say... :-P

Zuzana said...

Gal Friday ( I will have to get your real name one of these days.;),I always enjoy when you stop by.;)
I see no spellings mistakes at all.;) In my posts and in my replies to comments there are plenty on the other hand - at all times.;)

Glad you could identify with the sentiments in this post; sometimes I miss the days of the vinyls.;)) And my youth as well.;)

Sorry about the video, that's the downside with youtube. I have uploaded a new version, if you care to look again.;) Not as good quality, but the80's feel is there.;)

Have a happy inauguration day.;)

Gal Friday said...

I tried the video again(thanks for re-posting it)--VERY 80's!!';-)
Yes, I miss those days sometimes--the 80's(and 70's)...*sigh*
Hope you are having a lovely day there on the other side of the Atlantic,
*Tina*(AKA "Gal Friday"--my name before being married was a l-o-n-g surname with the Greek word for Friday in it. Hmmm...one day I might get the story behind "Protege" and your name?)

Hilary said...

Great memories, except that 80's music was not my era - at all. But I do remember trying to catch songs on tape and I also remember trying to figure out the lyrics from a 45, lifting the needle and trying to find the right spot to replace it so that I could transcribe the lyrics as I listened. Who knew there'd ever be a Google to make that so much easier.