where the music came from


Our lives, as measured by mediums of music. Record, 8 track, tape, cd, mp3, ipod. Not necessarily in that order. Markers for moments and memories. I'll break it down for me. Where do you fit in the continuum?

Record : 1986

The first real memory I have of listening to records is when I asked my parents if I could have their record player in my bedroom. I distinctly remember listening to Three Dog Night and Cher but most notably, Crystal Blue Persuasion and Crimson and Clover by  Tommy James and The Shondells . These songs are imprinted into my psyche. Where I lived, clinging to a dying medium was the norm, and I felt real cool with my hifi bedroom. Thus, I played with my Barbies, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcakes and She-ras all to the stylings of the 1960's and 70's.

My dad looked like Kenny Rodgers.

Tape : 1987

I wish I could remember what my first tape was, but I know that I somehow acquired Belinda Carlyle's Heaven on Earth and Corey Hart's Fields of Fire. I remember doing half assed cartwheels in the back yard listening to Circle in the Sand and Heaven on Earth over and over again. When I was lucky, I'd hear Madonnas exotic La Isla Bonita from over the neighbors fence. I wasn't allowed to own a Madonna album because I was 7.  Around this time, I was invited to a number of mixed birthday parties, where we danced to The Loco-Motion by Kylie Minogue and Venus by Bananarama, stuffing our faces with cheese puffs and adjusting our bananna clips. I thought very reasonably that I should probably look into getting a boyfriend. If I preformed a wicked dance routine at the school talent show, it would probably happen.

CD : 1994

It took a while for us to get a CD player in our house, and when we did, it was SO FAR AWAY in our basement. I never went down there anymore so I was still in tape mode. In fact, my last tape purchase was Pearl Jam's Vitology. Considering that compact disk became available in the mid 80's, I'd say that I was a bit behind the times. My parents caved in and bought me a CD Walkman, so I could enjoy listening to Kurt's gravelly voice sing Heart Shaped Box, while I avoided homework and cried about being so alone, unloved and ugly. It didn't help that my parents DIDN'T UNDERSTAND ME! I wore thrift store polyester pants from the 70's, haggy shaggy wool cardigans, my dad's plaid shirts, and over sized everything. I loved my best friend in the world, and we spent all our time in her basement watching Much Music (the Canadian version of MTV). A total mid 90's caricature, but only in hindsight. It was all very intense.

I met Todd in the summer of 1995. He laughed at my Vitology tape.

8 Track : 1996

Here's where music medium chronology goes astray from my little timeline. When I was 16, my dad allowed me to drive one of his cars. It was a 1979 Lincoln Continental, with remotely adjustable white leather seats and a pretty serious 8 track system. Although we tried having passengers hold a CD stereo on their lap during the drive, listening to Black Hole Sun with repetitive skipping is only tolerable for so long. I picked up some 8 track tapes from Value Village and


that Jefferson Airplane album. White Rabbit is still a favorite of mine to this day.

MP3 : 1999

When I was 19, I moved out. Todd was always on the up and up technology wise, and Napster was his playground. Having access to any single album or song I wanted was a dream come true, especially since I was working minimum wage paying jobs as a receptionist at a resort timeshare company and a used CD store. These hands have touched more second hand Robert Plant and Limp Bizkit CD's than is reasonable or healthy. But when I came home, it was all shiny blank CD's with ink jet printed labels. Mix CD's anyone?

Ipod : 2007

My first Ipod was a Nano, and I dug it. The future was NOW! Luke was two years old, and we had been in our house for a few years. Napster was dead but others took it's place. We put our collection of hundreds of CDs in the storage room, and there they collected dust until just a few years ago when we let them go for a buck each at a garage sale .

I do miss the cover art of those CD's. I also miss the excitement of spending my allowance in grungy basement music cellars, under the glowering eyes of guys more punk than me who questioned how deserving I was of owning that NOFX album. I miss taking hard risks, like buying 7 Year Bitch's Gato Negro and being pleasantly surprised, or Meat Puppets and being sadly disappointed. Nowadays, what adventure is there in acquiring new to you music when every song is a single, a nameless faceless option on an alphabetical list ? Don't get me wrong. I love the convenience. I guess, eventually, you just get nostalgic.

Record : 2010

Last year I began to take record collecting seriously. Over the years we had both bought them here and there, but I didn't have a hifi to enjoy them with. One day, shortly after my first mobile shop setup at the Fringe, I decided to invest in my musical past. I bought a gorgeous German made hifi in a slick teak cabinet. It sits in our living room and Eve and I enjoy it every day.

Our collection has steadily grown with some old and some new. It allows me to expose our children to the musical past in an authentic way so that they understand the concept of an album in it's entirety. Not only this, but the six year old in me feels so cool to own my very own hifi.

* Throwback RVC boom box and light show record player live at my cousins beach house, and inspired this post. Hope you enjoyed it! Do you have any memories to share?