Sunday, January 23, 2011

Smells like teen... um, I can't remember.

We had a musical challenge in our office this week. After a heated debate on the importance of Radiohead’s 'Ok Computer' (we are such wankers) the challenge was set to spend the weekend listening to a definitive album from another person’s youth. 

Luckily this isn’t a music blog (or you’d be hearing my review of Suede’s ‘Dog Man Star’ right now) but what this musical reminiscing did make me think of was how often the weather had been a part of our seminal music moments. (Of course I thought that…) When you draw on your favourite musical memories where does the weather feature? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the answer is, more prominently than you think. 

Here are a few of my examples to help you jog the memory bank.
  • A scorching Adelaide Big Day Out wearing the skimpiest of outfits along with five girlfriends (clearly all matching). Trying to squeeze doc martin clad feet into a jammed pit for Smashing Pumpkins, sunburn and sweaty, huge, shirtless men with Southern Cross tattoos be damned. I WOULD be at the front for 1979.
  • The six hour, 13 chilly degrees line up for Red Hot Chili Peppers wearing naught but a Hole-era floral dress and the aforementioned doc martins, which turned into a sweet love affair with a boy and his Offspring hoody. Went downhill when a full beer was pegged at me for being a precocious little twat during Regurgitator’s support.
  • One summer (which coincidently is a great Darryl Braithwaite song from my youth) when I tried to sneak in underage to The Mavis’s concert in Victor Harbour and had a deluge of rain to thank for granting my passage. (Pitying security guard and sodden skirt over pants outfit also given gratitude.)  
  • The amazing weather performance during The Strokes at the Sydney Big Day Out, which saw them playing in a dramatic and violent thunderstorm only to be followed by Metallica and the weather turning it up and putting on a lightning show!! Exit light indeed.
  • The day I discovered Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ and broke up with a boy, made all the bitter sweeter by the raining drifting like my tears down the bedroom window pane (okay I’m getting ridiculous here, and possibly channelling an episode of Dawson’s Creek. I don’t think this ever happened).

The point is that the weather can be a memory stimulator.  We feel the weather with all our senses. We hear the rain coming, we smell it’s scent on hot asphalt, we can taste it’s icy form, we watch it filling up puddles and feel it dampening our back as we run back from getting the washing in. The weather can help us conjure up a time, a place, a person, an outfit, an embarrassment, it helps us rebuild our memories in all it’s forms. 
What do you think the jogger is for you? Is it the night flower (I’ve been told it’s jasmine) whose scent wafts during the first, darkening nights of summer? Is it the gentle patter of rain above, transporting you back to your grandparent’s farm? Are the first icy winds of the coming winter making you want to pull out a photo album of browning polaroids and old Christmas cards? Well next time you reminisce, give the weather a little credit for bringing it all back.

Remember how awesome the weather was that time? 

London tomorrow, more of the quite pleasant winter weather we’ve been having, bit sunny, bit cloudy, bit chilly. There is a northerly a blowin’, so if you have a compass walk south. 

(And for those wondering, yes, I was told to listen to Suede’s 'Dog Man Star'. Never really being a Suede fan I found it surprisingly sophisticated and Bowie-esque. Myself? I passed on You Am I’s ‘Hourly, Daily’. Sigh.)

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