‘Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days’ – Doug Larson
There’s something about the autumn that makes me start to feel nostalgic for some reason. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of going back to school, where I didn’t have to wear a uniform (lax army base rules) and got to wear all my new wooly tights from the Grattan catalogue. Or perhaps because it feels like Christmas is round the corner and I get to have loads of friends and family time and drink cava with my mum until we fall over. Either way, when I’m in a nostalgic mood the first thing I do is put some old music on.
Music has always been a massive part of my family’s life. We lived abroad and as such went on regular long car journeys to travel back to England. Thus bore the invention of the ‘car tape’ which was essentially just a mix tape my dad would put together of all our favourite songs to keep us all entertained (with couple by ABC thrown in just to wind my mum up). And as, most of my dad’s tapes were made up of songs recorded from the radio, there are certain songs that when I listen to now, I can still hear Bob Harris talking over the outro or songs my dad had to fade in or out in order to hit them on the end of a tape (it was only recently that I realise Wind of Change by the Scorpions had a 3rd chorus!).
Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were also a firm family favourite, where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though, and listing all the tracks as YouTube videos, just so I have somewhere to put them all, for prosperity sake. Happy times.
I haven’t really kept any of my old CDs or cassette tapes, slowly through the 00’s I uploaded my entire tape and CD collection to the computer and now have them all as MP3. There were a few CDs I kept for prosperity reasons, my Backstreet Boys CD collect for example signifies years of going straight to Blaze in Cramlington after school on a Monday to pick up (both versions) of their latest single. How could I part with the one thing that exemplifies the only time I’m my life I’ve shown any type of tenacity?!
My absolute most prized possession in my music collection however is this: My ‘Now That’s What I Call Music 14’ VHS video. I must have watched this video a zillion times back in the 80’s before we had MTV and VH1 (even before the days those channels actually played music videos – that’s how old I am!) Even the songs that in hindsight didn’t turn out to be massive hits (does anyone else but me actually remember ‘All She Wants Is’ by Duran Duran?) are still on my music player to this day and, not that they come around that often as I tend to have all my 4000 songs on shuffle, but when they do, I smile a little and remember pausing the video every 20 seconds to write down the lyrics to Buffalo Stance.
A couple of years ago I downloaded the entire ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ back catalogue (number 92 is due for release on 20 November 2015) and I buy each new one that comes out, although it’s all digital now of course. I’d seen an advert for the new CD and it made me nostalgic for my old precious video that once meant so much to me. In the past I’ve often thought about selling it, as some kind of prehistoric artefact from the 80’s but you can already get one on ebay for about a tenner, and I think my fondness for this old VHS, even though I have no device on which to play it, is worth more than that.
So for memories sake, here are the songs that feature on that video and some of the questions their videos raised in my 6 year old mind:
1. Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
I genuinely thought Neneh Cherry was a group consisting of two women who looked vaguely similar (one with her hair up and one with her hair down) and the male DJ. I wasn’t the most astute six year old it has to be said.
2. Marc Almod & Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart
Me and my brother used to duet on this song and we would argue over who got to be Marc Almond because neither of us wanted to be the old guy. Oh how we laugh about that now!
3. Erasure – Stop
Never was my favourite video on the, er video but loved the song. Always felt sorry for Vince Clarke, he looks like he’s embarrassed to be there, although if Andy Bell was dancing round in front of me like I’d look embarrassed too!
4. Bananrama – Help
I asked my mum who they other 3 ladies on the video were (Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French and Kathy Burke) and my mum said they Bananarama’s friends and I thought how nice it was they’d ask their friends to be in the video. The concept of the Charity Single was obviously something I was yet to grasp.
5. Hue & Cry – Looking for Linda
So many questions; did they ever find Linda? Why didn’t he just phone Linda’s mum? Why doesn’t he wait until it stops raining to look for her? Why was she spending £35 on one pack of CD’s?
6. Roy Orbison – You Got It
When I asked my then 9 year old brother why old Roy was wearing sunglasses inside he confidently told me it was because he was blind. Moral of that story, don’t believe everything your 9 year old brother says no matter how much authority he speaks with.
7. Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy
My mum always says that this song reminds her of me because I was apparently a rather rambunctious child, hard as that maybe to believe. That’s nice isn’t it?
8. Duran Duran – All She Wants Is
Best song The Durans ever did in my opinion, and I was always amazed at how clever it was they got the floating lips at the end of the video, CGI at its finest I think we can all agree.
9. INXS – I Need You Tonight
More questions: why is Michael’s hair so long? Why aren’t the rest of the band in the video very much? What’s he done wrong to be put behind bars? What the mouse all about and (more of an observation than a question) if he’s wearing that leather jacket without a t-shirt underneath he’ll be freezing when he goes outside.
10. Then Jerico – Big Area
In hindsight I’m not entirely sure it was appropriate for Mark Shaw to be singing about his Big Area to a six year old girl. That was lost on me though, this was my favourite song on the video, and absolutely 80’s Classic
11. Morrisey – Last of the Famous International Playboys
I never really knew if Morrisey was the singer or the lead guy in the video or the same person with different hair (see Neneh Cherry above). I think I quite fancied the floppy haired lad in the video and very much appreciated his dancing
12. Simple Minds – Bealfast Child
I genuinely believed the boy in the video was Jim Kerr’s son, and they were from Belfast, why else would would you have a song called Belfast Child unless it was about your child from Belfast? 6 year old logic right there ladies and gents!
13. Inner City – Good Life
I loved Paris Grey’s hat in this video, loved it! She looked like she was having such a good time in it dancing round the streets of London in it. It also made me laugh how all the people in the street are looking at her like ‘ooh Jeff look, that lady’s filming something’ and I’m unsure that guy with the accordion is completely aware he’s being filmed at all.
14. Phil Collins – Two Hearts
My lasting memories of this video were the amazement of how they managed to get 3 other actors who looked exactly like Phil Collins and if that’s a Galaxy Ripple he’s eating at the beginning I hope it doesn’t give him a dry throat like it does me.
15. Sam Brown – Stop
Shoulder pads? Check! Red lippy? Check! bleached blonde hair? Check! Eyebrows dark as sin? Check! Must be the 80’s! To be honest I usually never watched this video all that often, how do you follow Phil? Plus if i was having to rewind anyway, if i skipped this I didn’t have to rewind as far. Soz Sam, if it’s any consolation this version is better than Jamelia’s!