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Compiling the soundtrack to your life

14 Mar

You might have seen in the news the other day that our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, presented an I-Pod full of Australian songs to American President Barack Obama during her visit to the States. The songs were selected to showcase our musical talent, but presumably, also to give the President a flavour of Australia as a nation. After all, songs have the power to evoke memories, feelings and emotions – they’re not just nice notes to listen to. It got me to thinking – what songs would I put on an i-pod to represent me? What would the sound track to my life sound like? Here are just a few of the songs I came up with – and what they remind me of. (Note: this is not a list of my favourite songs. It’s a list of songs that, when I here them, transport me back to a particular time and place in my life).
1) ‘Grease Lightning’ (from ‘Grease’ the movie) – This takes me back to Year 2, when I had a fabulous teacher, Miss Grant. She was a total glamour babe – legs up to her armpits and big, blonde 80s hair. She was the kind of woman who would wear a leather pencil skirt, razzamataz stockings and stilletos – to teach 8 year olds at a catholic primary school. We all loved her – so much so the class would line up each afternoon to give her a kiss goodbye. Anyway, there was a little corner of the classroom which was cleared of desks and chairs. On a Friday afternoon, we would have a little disco and Miss Grant would let us go crazy to ‘Grease Lightning’. I loved it. I had an obsession with Olivia Newton-John. I wanted to be her. Part of me still does. When ‘Xanadu’ came out, it inspired in me a new career ambition – I wanted to be a dancing waitress on rollerskates. Needless to say, it didn’t come to pass. I defy anyone (except Livvy) to balance plates of food while rolling around on skates. 2) ‘Faith’ – George Michael. At the age of 11, my parents took our family on a 6 week trip-of-a-lifetime to Europe during the northern hemisphere winter. It was the first time I had seen snow.  We did a budget type bus tour so we seemed to stay in hotels that were on the fringes of a city about 40km out from the attractions, and we would steal bread rolls from breakfast to eat for lunch to accompany our ‘cup a soup’. All three of us kids slept in the same room. My sister had a walkman and every night before bed, she put on her headphones and played the song ‘Faith’ – and she would force my brother and I to sing it out loud with her. I still know the words. ‘Well, I guess it would be nice, if I could touch your body, you know not everybody, has got a body like you’. Shakespeare it ain’t. But fun – absolutely.
3) ‘Hanky panky’ – Madonna. I was so naive when I sang this song for our school’s music festival. The racy lyrics meant very little to me as a 15 year old catholic school girl with minimal experience of the opposite sex. I just liked the melody – and it was in my vocal range. In fact, I won the jazz vocal section with my performance and was more than a little disappointed not to perform it at the end-of-festival concert at the Sydney Opera House. But with lyrics like – ‘treat me like I’m a bad girl, even when I’m being good to you. I don’t want you thank me – you can just spank me’ – is it any wonder the nuns didn’t chose to showcase my performance?
4) ‘Stay’ – Lisa Loeb. At Uni, my best friend Tracey, was the proud driver of a big, orange, ute. We went to a country uni – so not really that strange. However, it did have a tape deck and Tracey owned the cass-single of this song. We used to belt it out at top volume, driving around Bathurst in the big red ute. I recall that period as the most free years of my life – living away from home, studying a degree I loved, going out twice a week, with no-one much to answer to.
5) ‘Spring’ from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The song that my husband and I walked down the aisle to after we were married. One of the best days of my life.
6) ‘All that she wants.. (is another baby)’ – Ace of Base. When pregnant women pack their bags for hospital, they usually pack some CDs with relaxing music to help them through birth. I wasn’t that organised. So, instead we listened to the radio – Mix 106.5 to be precise. I kid you not – the song ‘All that she wants is another baby’ was playing in the minute before I delivered my first child. I hate the song. Love the baby.