A Musical Journey Through Time and Taste

14 Dec

I have no idea what the first album I ever bought for myself was. The first album that I ever owned however, I’m pretty proud of. It was a compilation of Elvis songs called Rockin’. It did exactly what it said on the tin. That album was fucking rockin’. Without the ‘g’. If my memory serves, my grandfather bought it for me in Northern Ireland’s premiere shit-hole seaside ‘resort’, Newcastle.

The shop he bought it in was a tiny record shop with no variety and no real taste. However, having my first album bought from there ingrained something in me: I will go there and I will buy all of my shit in there. Anytime we would walk past this dump, I’d want to go in, convinced that I’d find some treasure after I’d rummaged through enough shit. I never did.

I’m not going to claim that (even after such a glowing start) I always had such a great taste in music as a child. The next CD I remember owning is a single. A terribly, terribly embarassing CD. You may remember, at some point in the late ’90s, a television show called Teletubbies. It was a documentary that followed four mutated man-children about their daily business. A terribly frightening social experiment. But at some point, they released a single with (I believe) the theme tune and a remix of said theme tune. I actually remember seeing this piece of shit in the shop. I remember seeing it and I remember wanting it. I wanted it enough that I overcame my embarassment and asked for it. I was far too old to want this shit. I know I was. I wouldn’t have such a vivid memory of it otherwise and I wouldn’t feel as ashamed as I do now.

This isn’t the only tragic piece of music I’ve ever owned, though. Far from it. I have a feeling that this next magical little piece of ’90s pop culture came into my hands before the Teletubbies’ single as it was on a cassette tape. Anyway, you know the Smurfs right? A tribe of little blue guys that lived in some mushrooms and avoided being eaten by the local warlock. Well, the Smurfs released an album at some point. It was a tape consisting of ‘smurfed up’ (go ahead and use that phrase, I’m a generous guy) parodies and covers of pop songs from that wonderful decade.  Stand out tracks included ‘The Smurfs are Coming Home‘, which was an amusing play on some sort of football anthem, I’m not sure which, and ‘Wanna Be a Smurf Star‘, a well-known Spice Girls song. That shit was golden.

The last stand-out memory of music that I have as a child is my least favourite one. I did a bad thing. It’s one of those things that everyone did as a child and will feel guilty about forever, that really isn’t that big a deal. Sure, it was pretty mean, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really have an effect on anyone barring your own conscience, you piece of shit, I can’t believe you did that when you were six.

It was nearing my mum’s birthday and having no income as a child meant that whatever shitty presents I ever got my parents, they pretty much directly paid for themselves. I’m pretty sure that this is the case with every child in the first world. The little piece of shit that was me had different ideas this year. My saint of a mother had given me £10 and left me into town so that she could go shopping in peace. By this point in the story, I’m still an alright kid. I had every intention of spending all of that money on a great birthday present for my mum. I’ve never been very good at choosing presents for people however, so my default choices for giftts have always been either DVDs or CDs, or in the case of my younger self, CDs and VHS tapes.

I walked straight to Caroline Music, ten pound note held proudly before myself like some beacon, lighting the way to presents galore and stopped just inside the door-way. There, in front of me, was a beautiful sight. A display promoting a new album. I slipped the note back into my pocket and quickly glanced around. No-one had seen. I couldn’t believe my luck, a sticker on each album cover indicated that it was only£7. That would mean I’d have £3 left to buy something for my mum. Everybody wins.

So, I picked up the first cheap-ass CD I could find, brought my two items to the checkout and purchased them. The fool didn’t even ID me, even thought the CD I was buying had a Parental Advisory sticker on the cover. It was meant to be.

When my mum came to pick me up, I put my bag in a position so that there would appear to be only one CD inside and when I got home I rushed upstairs to hide my purchase, “It’s your present, you can’t see it!” and to listen to my new album.

The album in question is Korn‘s Untouchables. I shafted my mum for a fucking Korn album. What the fuck, young me? What is your problem, you selfish tasteless fuck? To make matters worse, when I think about it, the CD I bought for my mum just made no fucking sense. It was a Whitney Houston album. Fair enough, most people (especially mums) can enjoy Whitney Houston, I’m sure she loved The Bodyguard, too. Oh, but wait, that CD only cost £3, that sounds like a pretty decent deal for a Whitney Houston album in those days. But, I left a detail out. It wasn’t really a Whitney Houston album. It was an album of songs, made famous by Whitney, but played by other (unheard of) artists. I’m not even sure if she even listened to it and honestly, I can’t blame her. I’m sorry, mum. I’ll buy you a real Whitney Houston CD someday.

Gavin

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