Fingerprints & Playlists (originally written 2012)

I have been thinking on this for a while now. I have been struggling with what to write on this first issue of the blog. Alas, I have not had an avalanche of ideas.

Lady Exo & The Professor

Lady Exo & The Profess

     Tonight, I couldn’t sleep. It seems late at night is when the best ideas come for many of us. And, while it may not be spectacular, it is one of the things I first think of when I think of music.

     As it has often been said the Playlist of my life has been amazing”.  It has. Each song on this playlist in some way defines me as a person, or is the melodic theme to an important memory. I can give you hundreds of songs, but will name only a few.

     The first was The Doobie Brothers. What A Fool Believes is the first song I fell really in love with. I danced for the first time in my mother’s sitting room, alone, sparked by the melody and the vocals of Michael McDonald. Next was a vacation I took with my family to the Beach. I walked alone on a virtually deserted shore in the Carolinas trying to avoid the crabs that were along the waterline. With the water lapping and a full moon, I heard music coming from a nearby tent.  Christopher Cross’ ‘Sailing’ My first album was Journey, and I listened for hours.

     I loved Elvis and the Beatles. Then came Motown. I stood in awe listening to the Supremes, and thought Smokey Robinson’s voice was like a cold glass of water. Led Zeppelin’s “All Of My Love” hit me square in the eyes, while RUSH made me see colors. Crack The Sky made me smile a little smile. Then came the Sex Pistols and the Dead Kennedy’s. Seeing ZZ Top in the eighties with a bunch of friends I grew up may still be one of the most important nights of my young life. When I was eight months pregnant, I saw Steve Perry sing “Oh Sherry” and watched as his famous long red tuxedo jacket came from above the stage down next to him.

     All this music helps to identify me. From classical to punk, big hair, and bubble gum pop, you can tell a lot about a person from their playlist. It would seem to be a ‘musical fingerprint’ if you will.  With time, this print changes, as we add new music to our collection. The people who know us best like to ‘Turn us on’ to new music. My seventeen-year-old daughter is forever posting links for me to check out.

     A couple of months ago my fiancée, business partner, and also a disc jockey, played music for me. He knows already that I love Abba and the like. But he played song after song of music I had not heard yet. He was excited that we both loved the Pet Shop Boys. He played Tracey Chapman’s ‘Talkin’ Bout A Revolution’ because he knows me that well. I’d never heard the song before and adore it now.

     …so I thought about it. We all have musical fingerprints. They include music from all over the planet. I want to experience music from everywhere. I want to know different cultures around this sphere we call home, and how we all interact with music. We have friends from all over, and music is a common theme for us.

     This is a new venture for us, and we excited to share, listen and engage with new and old music. We are interested in what you have to say about music and how it is influencing your life. All of our fingerprints are varied and interesting.. Exosphere hopes to offer a place where we can all get a chance to check out each other’s playlists, and maybe add them to ours.    K.A.H.

 

 

In My Life

Image21 Gaudy red and silver tinsel is wrapped around the plastic christmas tree, and the nativity scene at its base appears to boast four wise men (including a token ethnic minority), a sheep, a cow, Mary, and an indiscriminate infant, all tastefully laid on a bed of freshly fallen cotton wool.

 

I can only assume Joseph must have been called out to a carpentry emergency, sadly causing him to miss his share of the gold, frankincense, myrrh, and what appears to be a box of black magic chocolates (borne by the fourth, and altogether more sinister, wise man).

This is Christmas, 1976, and the vision of it is so clear in my mind, even here in the heat of July 2012.

During the blistering hot summer of ’76 there had been a massive relaunch of The Beatles back catalogue of singles from the previous decade. I had been swept up by this, having been too young to have fully appreciated them during their brief recording careers together, and I spent much of the latter part of the year scrimping and saving my pocket money to build up my collection of their albums.

I do not remember what my main Christmas present was that year, but I do remember very well that my most prized was the copy of Rubber Soul that I unwrapped on that December morning.

As my parents bustled around carving the turkey, polishing the best cutlery, and the myriad other things that they seemed to deem necessary for this one day of the year, I sat there on the corner of the sofa, watching the disc spin at its unerring 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, surrounded by the tinsel and baubles, slightly disturbed by the absence of the carpenter and the usurping of his role by a strange oriental candy-bearer, and totally transfixed by the music

… but I’ve got a driver, and that’s a start …

I sit here now, thirty-five years, hundreds of miles, and countless memories later, looking at the image of the album cover as the tracks play on my mobile phone

… she told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh …

.. and still, every phrase, every bar, every note, transports me right back there. I can see each detail in total clarity, I can smell the turkey, hear the voices, feel the bite of the winter chill in the air …

Whether it is The Beatles, Mozart, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed ….. it really doesn’t matter .. we all have our different tastes, different cultures, different fashions … but the fact remains that music holds that power to transport us back, to instantly access memories we ought long ago to have lost. The wondrous complexity of the human mind, and the sheer beauty and power of  music to unlock and navigate that complexity will never fail to strike me with awe.  It’s a kind of magic, a wondrous kind of magic, and it is ours for the casting … whether you create music, study music, debate music or simply listen to music … above all enjoy music, enjoy this amazing magical gift, which brings with it the unique power to unlock the deepest treasures of our minds.

… I’ll never lose affection for people and things that went before … I’ll often stop and think about them …. In my life … I’ll love you more

TB.