I posted on my musical tastes here. Reading it back, it is as much about my politics as my musical tastes. I re-read it, and it contains some omissions.
I am a child of the Eighties, which means I just saw the tail-end on punk music. I always loved the speed of the beat. Of course, a lot of punk was as much about politics as music. I suspect the musicians thought that too. (!)
This speedy beat also had me listening to the Pogues and Shane MacGowan. London-Irish, of the time, and again politically charged. Former British colonies tend to do very well for political material! And, of course, it’s still going on in Northern Ireland, where sectarian politics still reigns. That, in turn, unlocked the door to Irish folk music – you know, tin whistles and fiddles. Plus Irish artists like Christy Moore. And, of course, you can’t listen to the music – I can’t – without wanting to know about Irish history, why these people sing what they sing. Ironically, the city I left, Liverpool, has an enormous Irish scene. This has even fostered visits to Ireland on holidays – if you’re considering it, get out of the cities of Dublin and Cork, get out into the countryside and find the real Ireland.
Super-fast music. A million miles away from my slower, chilled-out reggae, although I must also admit to enjoying ska, another Jamaican invention. One of the beauties of Youtube is that I can listen to a lot of the old ska tracks by the Jamaican record labels, probably never before released outside of the island.
There are other artists that I haven’t yet mentioned, more “poppy”. Not particularly meaningful, just music I enjoy. Paul Heaton, in all his forms. I was very much the right age for The Housemartins, and I remember they played Cardiff Uni when I was there. The Manic Street Preachers too – they are from the Welsh valleys, so I saw them a few times in Cardiff before they became massive. They’re still going and in fact played at Southampton, around twenty miles away from me here, just a few months ago. I was sorely tempted, but in the end decided against remortgaging the house so I could buy the ticket – the CDs will have to do.
Then, of course, there’s George. Back to my Beatle roots. In fact, the Beatle era stifled George, I think, and he came out with this rich vein of music post-Beatles, much of which I now own. I can admire Paul McCartney’s gift for writing catchy poppy tunes, but for me there is no comparison. And, of course, this sets off a whole new trail. From George, to the Wilburys, to Orbison…
How to conclude? I’m not one of these people who say that “music is my life”, and I’ll certainly never get 10/10 in the Popmaster quiz, but I think music can supplement life, and enhance it. I have my loves and my hates, as I’m sure we all do, and a lot of it is just noise, as I’m sure mine is to other people.