The prompt for Wednesday’s (I know, I’m behind) instalment of ‘Writing 101’ was to think of the three songs that are the most important in my life. I have to confess: this has not been an easy one. You see, there are some people in life who like peace and quiet; I am not one of them. Even as I write this I’m listening to music in the background (Geronimo, by Sheppard as it happens). In actuality, I find it very difficult to sit and focus on a piece of work without music in the background.
What that means is that for me music really does provide a soundtrack to my life. There are many, many songs that, when I hear them, instantly provoke a memory, feeling or emotion of times past. “I don’t want to miss a thing” by Aerosmith, for example, always transports me back to lying in a tent on my Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award expedition hearing it being played by someone in the next field. Whereas with “World of Our Own” from Westlife it’s a certain summer term at university and believe me, you don’t want to know any more than that!
Choosing my top three is something I’ve had a good think about, and I know that as soon as I press the publish button on this post I’ll want to change my mind and plump for something else. But, for now, and in no particular order, here goes:
“Camera One” by Josh Joplin
This is one of a few songs that I had on my very first mp3 player back in 2005/6. At the time I used to catch the train to work each morning, which meant a mile-and-a-half walk at the other end to get to the office. And, more importantly, the same walk back again at the end of the day. This is one of those songs that in the morning used to get my energy levels up on the way in, preparing me for the day and on the way home was something that I could lose myself in and take a much needed ‘mental break’ before getting home.
“When I Look at the World” by U2
In March 2001, I was lucky enough (and I really mean that) to take part in a two-week trip from my college to visit Kenya. All I took with me for entertainment was a portable CD player and a book. The album in the CD player was “All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ by U2, and ever since it remains my favourite single album ever. I could have chosen almost any of the tracks from it and I thought that I would choose “Walk On”, which is definitely one of my favourite songs, but instead I plumped for the lesser known “When I Look at the World.” This one is really special because it’s what I was listening to as I walked, with six or seven others, down the final foothills of Mount Koh after the two-day trek to watch the sunrise from it’s summit. For that reason, and for the wonderful, magical memories it brings me, it had to be on the list.
“Flying Without Wings” by Westlife
I haven’t listened to this song all the way through in 13 years. I can’t. It’s the song that was played at the funeral of a friend of mine, Darren, in 2002. He sadly took his own life on the day before we were due to get our A-Level results. We all assume it was because he didn’t think he’d done well enough in the exams, though in the absence of any note left by him we’ll never really know. Since Darren’s funeral every time I hear this song it brings back all of the feelings and emotions of the time – and believe me unless you’ve known a victim of suicide you’ve no idea what it’s like. But the very fact that it provokes such strong feelings and memories is the very reason why it’s such an important song to me. So here it is.