Boogying down memory lane on your bum

By Lindsay Slogrove Time of article published Oct 2, 2021

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LAST weekend, my neighbour threw a party and employed a nuclear-powered sound system. Their house is about 20m away from mine. I couldn’t have had it louder if I had my earphones in and maxed the volume on my phone.

It was also quite interesting: many of the songs had beats that would have held up against that (mostly) wonderful era of disco. Some of the words had me puzzled; there was a chap who appeared to be missing his headbutts, and another (perhaps the same chap ‒ who could tell?) who sounded like he was telling everyone to voesssek, over and over and over.

But what really got me were two or three remixed “old” songs that I even knew the words to and could sing along.

They also reminded me of my young dancing days.

I haven’t been able to dance for years after my back broke, so I couldn’t dance like no one was watching me. But I could sure jiggle my bottom and wave my arms and be thankful nobody could see me. The couch got a good workout.

It reminded me of some research (not couch-sourced) that showed music was a powerful memory bank. In the study, family of people suffering from dementia helped compile life playlists for the afflicted person, who often couldn’t remember or recognise them. They chose songs their loved one had loved, or had special meaning, like a parents’ “our song”.

When the music was played, the person’s face lit up and they remembered what the song meant to them, what they had been doing, who they were with and even re-stirred the emotions they felt at the time.

The idea of collating my life playlist had been brewing but, you know, life. I did sort of make a start.

During the recent riots, a friend sent me a short clip of the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive. Boy, did that bring back some memories.

It stirred something and I pulled an overnighter on Joox, headphones in (yes, loud), able to sing along at the top of my voice and couch boogying because no one could see me or, more importantly, hear me.

In spite of being exhausted for two days and totally disrupting an already delicate sleep pattern, I loved every minute of that night. The back grouched quite a lot.

Some of the friends from the olden days who joined the couch party were Rockwell, Pink Floyd, Queen, Jethro Tull, America, The Eagles, Supertramp, Magna Carta, REM, Wings, Styx, there were so many. I still think Pink Floyd and Queen are the best bands ever. Pink’s lyrics mean just as much and are just as relevant today, if not more so, than back then.

I can’t remember all of them and I consider that such a gift: there has been so much music in my life that a complete playlist would take another lifetime to compile and listen to.

And I never got around to any of the classics like Prokofiev’s Peter and The Wolf, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and my favourite, Carmina Burana.

Time to get that playlist together.

When my loved ones play it to me, they’d better bring the nuclear sound system.

  • Lindsay Slogrove is the news editor

The Independent on Saturday

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