"Music was my first love
And it will be my last
Music of the future
And music of the past
To live without my music
Would be impossible to do
For in this world of troubles
My music pulls me through..."
OK, fair enough, it may be a bit of gloriously overblown 70s prog bobbins from the team behind the Alan Parsons Project but the lyrics of this kitsch classic pretty much serve as a manifesto for my life. Sure, it may not be my first love... my lovely wife, my gorgeous little boy, my faith... they sit in pole position. But it is true to say that music gives them a pretty good run for the top spot!. Music has always been incredibly important to me. In my teenage years it was a comfort in hard times, a refuge and an inspiration.
Growing up, all my hobbies and social activities seemed to revolve around music of one sort or other. Singing in school or church choirs, strumming an acoustic guitar, haunting the LP racks in our local WH Smiths or hogging the record player at the Youth Club... Music was always in there during my formative years. So, it’s hardly surprising that, for instance, one of many cherished memories of intros with our little boy is a musical one. On one of our first solo flights (out to do some shopping and then on to the play park) Thin Lizzy’s Waiting for an Alibi came on the car stereo. As the twin lead guitars faded out at the end of the song a tiny voice piped up from the back of the car “More! More!” accompanied by the sound of two tiny hands clapping enthusiastically. That’s my boy! Fast forward a couple of years and we have ensured that music is a central part of our little one’s life.
I guess that my love of music is partly genetic (some sort of natural aptitude or inclination) but partly upbringing. Not parental though... my dad liked both types of music - country AND western but always of the light and cheesy variety. More Jim Reeves than Hank Williams. For mum it was easy listening crooners like Val Doonican. However, my position in the family as the, ahem, little afterthought separated from the others by almost a decade meant that I was well placed to inherit musical influences (and cast off records) from them. From my sister it was 60s pop and Motown. And happily I also inherited an old Dansette record player from her when she moved out to get married when I was only about 6 years old. From my oldest brother it was singer-songwriters, the Beatles, Elton John and classical music and from my other brother it was the Stones, Deep Purple, the Eagles and the Doobie Brothers. Over the years I branched out into prog rock, funk, folk and jazz for myself. Now my musical tastes are wide ranging, eclectic and very very deeply embedded. However, I am still an old rocker at heart and I will always love Thin Lizzy and the Electric Light Orchestra.
And that is why it is such a joy for me that from the very start our little boy loved music and responded so much to it. Now it is a part of the fabric of our everyday lives. Whether it is being told to get up off the sofa so we can sing along and dance around the living room to the theme tune to the Octonauts or Numtums, whether it is being told to turn the music up in the car (much to mummy's long-suffering forbearance), whether it is bouncing around to the worship music while daddy plays guitar at church, whether it is stopping halfway through lunch for an impromptu dinner-table disco... it is a constant joy that this particular little boy has been placed at the centre of our lives.
I have read blogs about how some adopted children have had almost physically adverse reactions to music. Pretty much to the point of being unable to abide its very presence in any form. I can't imagine how hard that would be for me to cope with. Music has always been the soundtrack not only to my life but to my waking hours. That my child and the light of my life shares this passion and has that passion written into the very fabric of his character, is the cherry on top of the sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake.
Some of my happiest childhood memories are sitting on my bed at the age of 7 or 8 singing along while my eldest brother played Beatles songs on his beat up nylon strung acoustic. I am so enjoying and looking forward to, day by day, building those memories with my son.