Monday, 16 May 2016

The Soundtrack Of My Life

*Self indulgent post alert!!*... and also because I am still on weekend brain and procrastinating! Mondays are bleh.


The other day my son came to me and asked me to make him a list of songs that I feel everyone should have in their collection because he wants to 'download them for posterity' hehehehe He also wanted to know which songs inspired me through my life... Pondering this I have noticed that each different chapter of my life had more than one anthem but instead of putting ALLLLLL of them down I will do my best to only choose one. It's going to be pretty tough methinks but my son will get the entire list of songs I think are epic. Songs by artists like Rodriguez, Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen, Elton John, Guns 'n Roses, Lenny Kravitz, Led Zeppelin...

The first one absolutely has to be 'I Can See Clearly Now' by Johnny Nash. My late gran told me that I would walk around the garden singing it to myself when I was about 3 years old and to this day I get a feeling of comfort mixed with a touch of melancholy whenever I hear it. 


In primary school I started doing modern dancing. It was very popular in the late 70's/early 80's! I loved every single thing about it. Every. Single. Thing. Besides, I was way too much of a tomboy to even think of doing ballet like most other little girls. One of the dances we were taught was the epic one from  the movie Flashdance, 'What a Feeling' and every time I hear it I wish I could still do it. I would probably break a hip now if I attempted it hahaha #AgingSucks At the time I also used to go ice skating at our local rink in town once or twice a week and whenever they played it I would try and emulate the bits from the video. It's a miracle I never broke a limb. 


I met Hubs in high school when I was 13 and he was 15 and about a year or so later the movie 'Highlander' came out. We went to watch it and I was completely bowled away by the soundtrack! I'm sure I heard Queen before then but that soundtrack made me an instant fan for life. 'Princes of The Universe' was unlike anything I had heard before and Freddie Mercury became a god in my eyes. 


In high school I was the poster child for "Rebel without a clue" (naturally I blame Hubs, I was a straight A student until I met him, one of those nerds who would get a badge every term) and spent far more time than I should have at our local night club, Jacqueline's. I was way too young to be there but Hubs and I never got stopped at the door, so technically it's on them right? They had an afternoon session on Saturdays for 'teenyboppers' but I wouldn't be caught dead there! I mean really, you couldn't even buy beer. It was around that time Madonna released her first album and I was hooked! The movie 'Desperately Seeking Susan' came out and that's when my inner dufus got wings. 'Into the Groove' was my song back then. I would spend hours getting my look just right before heading to the club, copied the dance, everything. But the absolute worst *cringe* moment thinking back was that I would also turn the hand dryer in the bathroom upside down to dry my hair and underarms like she did in the movie. All the while thinking I was super cool! #TeenageFails


When Hubs was dispatched to the Angolan border just after we got married he told me on his first pass home that the very first night he arrived there he was lying on top of the barracks roof with his parabat buddies passing a blunt around and they had a tape deck up there with them. He says that almost at the exact time 'No Woman No Cry' by Bob Marley started playing mortars started flying above them in the night sky and every time he hears it he gets catapulted back in time to that moment. I can't even begin to imagine what a mind fuck that must have been for a 19 year old boy from the suburbs! As a 16 year old bride it made a huge impression on me and that's why I chose it for this particular chapter. The almost 2 years I was alone while my husband did his duty to God and Country. 



Shortly after Hubs got back from the army we moved into our first flat. It was a block away from Pretoria Central Station and the area was a bit erm... dodgy. nasty, trashy, dirty, slummy, urban. It's faaaar worse now but back then it was more entertaining to hang over the balcony watching the people than watching telly. We were young, very young, and having that sort of freedom we really didn't pay much mind to those who were horrified at where we chose to live. It's not like we had a budget for much better though, our only furniture when we first moved in was a mattress on the floor and 2 fold up garden chairs. What made it very convenient was the fact that the local weed dealer plied his trade on the corner so scoring was no problem. What? I've never been secretive about the fact that I used to smoke enough weed to make Bob Marley proud! Anyway, I seriously digress. One night in said flat we had a bunch of friends over and we all got stoned out of our minds. 'Purple Rain' by Prince started playing and I was so stoned and just so into it that it honestly felt like I was right there on the stage with him. It was awesome. 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant and I spent the next almost 9 months having nightmares about my baby being born with an extra limb or something. Apart from an attempt that ended with me hitting my head on the edge of the toilet seat a few years ago the night that was playing was the last time I got stoned but I have always loved that song. I loved it so much that I used to play it to my pregnant belly every day. My son can't stand it though so go figure! Maybe I overdid it hahahaha When I was about 4 months pregnant Hubs slipped in a hobo's pee on the stairs and that was it. We moved right away! Childhood was officially over. 



Flash forward a couple of years to when Hubs and I were both working full time jobs and with a toddler and all the responsibility that comes with taking care of your own selves life could be a bit on the dismal side sometimes. Especially when one had to be up at 5am every morning to go to a job you absolutely hated! Most of our friends were still living it up without a care in the world while pretending to study on their parents' dime and since neither of us was born with a silver spoon and since we didn't have anything remotely resembling a safety net we had no choice. I don't know if it was the moon or what but some days the drudgery of it all really got to me and I had a few go-to songs that I would play before my day started. To help me sack the fuck up! There are quite a few but this one was the best of all, P.M. Dawn 'Gotta Be Movin' Up'. I STILL play this sometimes because quitting is not an option. Ever! 



When I told Hubs about it he told me that he would play 'Bat Out of Hell' by Meatloaf in the car on the way to work every morning to pump him up for the day. Funny thing is that we both had songs to boost us but never discussed it until recently. Maybe we both thought that we each had enough on our own plates to deal with so we decided to self motivate in our own way :) #Love 


When our son was 5 years old we were both earning very good salaries but living past each other because of brutal work hours so we decided it wasn't worth it and we relocated to Cape Town. We packed our kid and whatever possessions we could fit into the car and left. It was the best thing we could ever have done. Terrifying but liberating at the same time. We literally started over. Our first place there was a tiny furnished garden flat in Glencairn and life was beautifully simple. I discovered my inner hippy and my days were spent combing the beach with my son and watching the sun set over the ocean every night while Hubs and I either drank wine or Irish Coffee. Weekends were spent visiting the local library, nearby parks and also hunting for mussels at Misty Cliffs which we would braai in the garden on Saturday nights. At the time Hubs was working for a start-up company who were supplying wine on tap machines to local bars and restaurants so we had a constant supply of red wine and ice cold white wine on tap. The flatlet didn't come with a telly but it had a stereo and we played a LOT of Scrabble. We were poor yet rich, if you get my drift. My son says that when he thinks of those laid back days he thinks of Crash Test Dummies because I would play it often and his favourite song from back then is 'God Shuffled His Feet'. So, a no brainer then that this is the song I choose for that particular chapter.


When our son was about 10 years old Hubs got an opportunity to work in Barcelona and history repeated itself when we packed what we could take on the plane and left. I always laughed at myself when I would play this very late at night when I was rather well lubricated *ahem* and get all emotional and shit about South Africa. In retrospect I suppose that despite it being one of the best adventures of my life I felt a bit isolated and that had a lot to do with not being able to do much more than order a beer in Spanish at first! So... 'Africa' by Toto most definitely has to be on this list.



A few months after we got back from Spain my beloved Gran died and I was broken. She was everything to me that a mother should be and more and to this day there are still times when I reach for my phone to call her. I remember her telling me when 'Holy Mother' by Pavarotti and Eric Clapton came out how much it reminded her of her own late mother and now it reminds me of her. I took a boom box to her funeral and insisted they play this loud! It's seriously one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and just like Oumie with her mother, the part where they sing about hands always gets  me... 


About 10 years after we got back I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and this song was my anthem for months before I knew what was going on with me. Let's just say that I completely embraced my craziness and when I first heard 'Crazy' by Gnarls Barkley it promptly became my anthem. Now? It's a reminder that I'm one tough bitch! 


After my operation I was stuck on the sofa for months, safely tucked into a hazy bubble of morphine and codeine based painkillers and I honestly can't think of a better song than 'Afternoons and Coffeespoons' by Crash Test Dummies to commemorate that particular chapter. I was so far removed from my surroundings and thinking back now I don't know how I didn't really go insane. I also had bleeding on the brain and being rushed to hospital at 4am wasn't exactly what I would chalk up as a fun time. I guess that's also why I love this video, I think it's hilarious! #DarkHumour



Hubs eventually suggested I start a blog. That's when GeeGee was born and I gave my inner Drag Queen wings, especially after I loaded a whole lot of Disco songs onto my iPod and discovered 'I Love The Nightlife' by Alicia Bridges. To this day it's still the one song that I am absolutely incapable of sitting still through. The boa's have to come out! Thankfully Hubs is used to my antics so if I've embarrassed him he's been gracious enough not to say anything about it. 



Right, there are a ton of other songs and I don't know yet which one will remind me of this chapter of my life but I guess by the time this chapter is done only my son will be the recipient of it. Hopefully by then I will also have a better answer than "the 80's were a very innocent time" (insert halo caption over my head when I said that) when he asks me again one day what wisdom I can impart having lived through so many decades *cough* Cheeky little shit! 

Live well, love much, laugh often and always remember to dance!
GeeGee xxx

4 comments:

  1. Awesome post! I really think exploring someone's music gives quite a lot of insight into who they are. I like your soundtrack so far! x

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  2. Awesome, Gee! It's amazing, you start thinking back over it and realize that yeah, we all do have certain anthems for certain times in our lives...oh Gawd, I feel a Nostalgia Moment coming on! Love the boas and the nightlife, and Bat Outta Hell as loud as it be cranked! xo

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    1. Thanks Dev! Yeah, gotta love those nostalgia moments hey? I've been having far too many of them lately. Or is there such a thing? :p xx

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