Music to our ears

147066899Nostalgia is my absolute favourite form of procrastination and I have my parents’ genes to thank for being so good at it. According to the Daily Mail, which I read over someone’s shoulder on the bus by accident, we inherit our ability to procrastinate from our parents, which kind of makes sense, as they probably never got round to teaching us any better.

And nothing is so evocative of the past, or potent as Noel Coward sort of said in that vague wordy way of his, as cheap music, which explains the irresistible compulsive attraction of a website I’ve just stumbled across called

The idea behind it is to find the theme tune to our lives by going back in time to find out what was number one on significant dates in our lives – try it for yourself and see how many tricks your memory plays on you.

I tried it a few days ago and then was reminded of it yesterday when I was brought up short by the news that Britpop is 20 years old this week, which, without giving anything away, emerged a little after my formative teen years but whose songs bring back as many if not more evocative memories than those of my early teens. I’m more than a little peeved that it’s 20 years since I was snogging away to the Gallagher brothers, but I’m afraid it’s true – the living proof stepped out of a Honda Prius yesterday home from uni in Madchester itself.

Britpop bands like Blur, Oasis and Pulp seemed so achingly cool at the time, all those young brash talented boys hauling themselves up by the chips on their Fila-clad shoulders and boozing and wooing their way round North London leaving a trail of broken hearts and lime-strewn beer bottles in their wake. But even though there are decades between them, when I listen to my favourite songs I feel a pang of nostalgia, but they all seem to blur together in one fairly recent song of yesterday, whether they were by Blondie, the Bee Gees or the Black Eyed Peas. I don’t feel that dusty sense of antiquity that I did when I was a kid and eavesdropped on my parents’ music (The Beatles, The Turtles, Sinatra, Perry Como). As kids we looked on bands like The Beatles with the same affection and historical perspective as we did the dinosaurs – they were cute and it would have been fun to have seen one in real life, but they were not really of our time.

The reality is that The Beatles were closer to being the theme tune of my teens than Oasis were. When I do the maths, there was a shorter distance between my parents’ music and mine than there is between Oasis and my real Teenage Kicks, both of which I think of as being my contemporaries. There were only 16 years between the release of Love Me Do October 1962 and that of The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks in October 1978 – but there are 18 years between the release of Oasis’s Wonder Wall in 1995 and One Direction’s cover of The Undertones’ hit last year.

That is not only depressing but that means that for our kids, Liam Gallagher has the gravitas of Perry Como. I know Liam now has his own line in cashmere sweaters, but that’s ridiculous.

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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