Time for a little much-needed levity on these pages. Last week I dug out my mix tapes from twenty years ago. Some of you might remember these things – you bought the singles (or the albums), or borrowed them from friends and then recorded them onto cassette tapes so you could play them on a walkman or anywhere else on a ghetto blaster.
So I listened, horrified, to the music of my late teenage years once again. There was Kon Kan’s “I Beg Your Pardon”; “Push It”, by Salt’n’Pepa and even a little 80’s hair metal in the shape of Guns and Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine”. Most of the tunes had aged horribly and I was glad to have forgotten the. Others, especially Prince’s “Batman” Theme, sound as fresh and edgy today as they did then. But most of them did no more than remind me of the happy times I’d had in amongst all my teenage angst and shyness: running around getting drunk, fooling around and the rest of it.
All of which might remind us of Larkin’s “Love Songs in Age”, though I hope with a more positive reflection than that offered by Larkin’s “to relearn how each frank, submissive chord/Ushered in each sprawling, hyphenated word…/…was hard, without lamely admitting how/[Love] had not done so then, and could not now.”
Rather, I’d like us to remember how the songs of our youth can remind us that– whatever we might like to think– our pasts are probably neither endless landscapes of joy, nor scenes of unremitting misery, but a mixture of both those emotions, and many more.
Those of you seeking to roll back a few years could do worse than to check out these gems: