When is it, do you think, that you first really start to appreciate music and its power to move you? One of my first memories is David Bowie singing Starman on Top if the Pops in stack heels and a catsuit and I remember thinking that this was something exciting. Similarly, I remember seeing Roxy Music performing Virginia Plain on the same programme and thinking that Brian Eno must come from another planet. I cannot play a note myself but have always loved listening to music and going to concerts. Of course over the years my tastes have changed and mutated. I sort of regret my New Romantic phase (if only for the wedge haircut and pixie boots combination) but I think my young teenage years were blighted by the fact that I was too young for punk and the new wave explosion.
I think my musical taste deepened the most whilst at University in the late 80s… It is hear that my love of The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order (and by extension Joy Division), Elvis Costello and the Attractions really developed and I began to formulate an idea of what type of music I thought really liked; and yes, it was mostly miserable and shoegazy stuff.
But, as you get older, tastes continually change. I used to agree with Morrissey that ‘reggae is vile’ but now I really love it. Country music was considered beyond contempt and almost a joke but now Johnny Cash is a God to me along with Wilco, Uncle Tupelo and Ryan Adams. I also now really love Motown and Northern Soul and am firmly of the opinion that ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’ by The Elgins is perhaps the most perfect 3-minute pop record ever released. Is it because that as you get older you are less concerned about your peers might think? Is it just that good music is good music despite everything? As much as I dislike Take That I can appreciate that ‘Back For Good’ is actually a pretty damn good song (even if I do prefer the cover versions by McAlmont & Butler and The Wedding Present to the original song). Current favourites are US band The National who deserve to be much bigger than they are and low-key UK indie band The Wave Pictures, one of those bands that you discover and cherish hoping that they never break into the mainstream.
There are some areas that my musical taste has not widened into. I still don’t really get classical music, hate manufactured pop (with the exception of The Monkees who I actually rank above The Beatles) and am left confused by dance music/drum and base, etc. I guess I am more of a lyrics man.
So, why am I banging on about music? Well the title of the blog was obvious given the subject of today’s picture. Madness have been looming large recently as my 8-year old son is making his first tentative steps towards developing his own musical identity. Current favourites are Madness and Blur (House of Fun and Song2 being currently played to death). It’s funny how kids’ musical tastes (well sons at least) is dictated by their dads – my son has friends whose favourite bands are Rainbow, AC/DC, Led Zep and Rush – but I try not to dictate. That said the moment he says he wants to listen The Wedding Present will be one of the proudest days of my life.
Anyway on to the picture. Some images were just made for HDR. This image has actually been tweaked very little – something this colourful and in your face needs toning down if anything. To me this looks like anything but fun and if anything I find it pretty creepy… not helped by the fact that one of the clowns looks like Mr Jelly from BBC2’s ‘Psychoville’. I have a friend that has always been scared of clowns, dating back to when Charlie Caroli terrified youngsters on his children’s’ TV show in the 70s. It’s taken a while, and Stephen King helped, but I am coming around to his way of thinking…
Comments, either on the photo or my appalling taste in music are welcome. Adios