Thursday, 13 December 2012


I’m sitting in a cafĂ© in Fitzroy, and a beautiful song has just come onto the sound-system. I'm jealous I didn’t write it, but also happy someone else did (see previous post ‘I hate you, Regina Spector').  I don’t know who it is, but if there was a soundtrack to my life, I’d like for it to be in the mix.

I write music and play it. I also sing it, dance to it and generally enjoy it’s being around.  Like most people, I associate bands, songs and albums with the people and events that have populated my life. Like any good soundtrack, they have enhanced these experiences and relationships.

And they are mostly folk-pop (kidding… maybe).

Since I was very little, the soundtrack to my life has been quite nice.  I can remember watching my anonymous mother Susan dancing around our lounge-room to Paul Kelly’s ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ (there were many large and repetitive arm movements involved). I knew dinner was ready when ‘Passionate Kisses’ by Mary Chapin Carpenter came on the stereo (a great dinner song, I swear).

To me, home sounds like Paul Kelly, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys and The Indigo Girls. Family holidays sound like Crowded House and Things of Stone & Wood. Holidays with friends sound like Paul Simon, Flight of the Concords, and the Big M ad (“Amy was a girl on the side of the road, I picked her up and away we go, I 'm leaving home without you I know…”). Trips overseas sound like Bon Iver. Ex-boyfriends sounded like Ball Park Music, Laura Marling and Vince Jones.  High school sounded like Harvey Danger, Blink 182 and Something for Kate (maybe just a smidge of cheeky Hanson for good measure).

My liking of nice music (please ignore earlier Hanson reference) (…actually stuff it, they were awesome - you know it and I know it) was largely influenced by my anonymous father (my mother’s only record being the Beaches soundtrack). He regularly sang to my two sisters and I at bedtime, in a vocal style that I thought was purely ‘Dad’ until I released it was mostly ‘Neil Young’. Our favourite lullabies were James Taylor’s ‘Sweet Baby James’, Jefferson Starship’s ‘The Baby Tree’, Donavan’s ‘Circus of Sour’. And strangely enough, ‘Big Ted’s Dead’ by The Incredible String Band. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realised that these were interesting choices of lullaby. My sister even had a Big Ted. Must’ve been tough to sleep after that…

He also played guitar (though mostly this was limited to The Beatles’ ‘Rocky Raccoon’), which I thought was pretty darned-freakin’ cool until the 'my-dad’s-a-rock-hero' illusion was recently damaged when, while “jamming” (and I use this term so so loosely), he shared with me his theory that all songs are made up of just two chords: G and C.

They are not.

But apparently Rocky Raccoon is.

I was surprised, in 2005, to find out that my father was a music-bully (MB). I was visiting his brothers and sisters in the US when they decided it was the perfect time to tell me about this  One story (told with not-just-trace amounts of real bitterness) involved him chasing his younger sibling with a chair, threatening her safety should she attempt touch any of his records, with particular emphasis on his Bob Dylan collection.

I can relate.

My relationship with music, particularly CDs (I know I know… ‘streaming’, ‘internet’, whatever)  is quite emotionally charged (though perhaps not ‘chair-wielding’ charged). Many of the bands and CDs that I have mentioned throughout this post are ones that I now own, simply because home doesn’t seem like home without them. And so I feel pretty lucky that home was filled with such great music. 

But then again, quality is in the eye of the be-listener.

…because no matter how hard I try not to, I freakin’ love Taylor Swift.  Freakin’ love her. 

She can be in my soundtrack for sure.

Passionate Kisses, Mary Chapin Carpenter

Private Helicopter, Harvey Danger

Circus of Sour, Donavan

Rocky Raccoon, The Beatles