Monday, 14 April 2014

singing along: the seven ages of me in music

What songs would you use for the soundtrack of the seven ages of you, so far?

In his play, 'As You Like It', William Shakespeare's character Jaques gives a monologue, which starts with "All the world's a stage..." in which he outlines the seven ages of man:  infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantalone (kind of translates as foolish old person) and old age (dependent).  

I'm still only 40 so I've changed my seven ages (so far) to be: child, teen, youth, student,
lover, worker, mother. These are based loosely on the traditional seven ages, but adapted to fit a woman, and because I'm not old yet.  I hope you'll give this a go too, you can adapt your seven ages any way you see fit.

Me, taken by my Dad, on our last family holiday

I was a lucky kid, I had a super family, and good friends, but my parents divorced and I didn't want them to, and there was a song that got played around the time that I liked. Let's Stay Together, by Bryan Ferry.  At first glance it seems a simple song about not wanting a relationship to end, but I was also kind of interested in the dynamic at work here. Bryan Ferry is saying he wants to stick together, but you get the impression that he's the reason she's leaving, and that he's not sorry for whatever it is he's done. He's telling her to stay because she said she would, not because he wants her to. You know it's not going to work, even as he's singing it.


This was a tough one to choose. Music was so important to me at this point. I loved to put my walkman on, stick the tape in, and be in my own little world. Also at this time my musical world was changing.  Moving from my Dad's rather fabulous record collection (he was once Entertainments Secretary at UMIST) to follow my own path.  What to go for? I'm tempted by Black Planet by Sisters of Mercy (I love the beginning of that song), or 225 by New Model Army, because, well, because it's just pure dead brilliant, and NMA were my local band. However, when I became Goth I was utterly obsessed with one band in particular. I would coat all my black clothes in flour and patchouli before leaving the house with their tape in my walkman. I still listen to them often. After the nasty man in the car park last week, I listened to one of their albums (on my phone) to calm down. Can you tell who it is yet?*  I chose this track because it's one of the first I got, and it's great for faux horse riding.  They don't make video's like this any more.  Preacherman by Fields of the Nephilim.  Thank Goth for that.


In between school and university I had an odd couple of years. I left home, and immersed myself in a different life. It didn't turn out how I'd envisaged, which is a shame, because I was a different, less trusting person afterwards. Just growing up I guess. The song I've chosen brings to mind my relationships back then, and it's by another band I love.  Earth, Sun, Moon, by Love and Rockets.  This is beautiful, and yearning, and perfect.  It's a shame they didn't make more videos back then because Daniel Ash was pretty perfect too.

Me, and my mate Nathan, in 1994.


Shortly after the above picture was taken, I went to University.  It had taken me a while to get there, but I revelled in it.  I loved spending lots of time in the library, and getting heavily involved in student politics.  I also had a massive fit of religion, and a bit of a panic about my romantic future.  I did feel like I got to be me finally, and that was awesome.  I carried my big box of LPs between Halls of Residence and digs and home while at University, but the song I'm going to choose was on one of my new CDs.  The Witch by Rosetta Stone.  I went to see Rosetta Stone whenever I could, although I was never a Quarryman.  I felt tremendous fellowship with their followers, and I still love their music.  This is one of their covers, but they do it so well (and the witch thing kind of works - see what I did there?).


What a thing to call a category!  Ahem.  I'm using this to mean the period between University and my first proper job.  A period which included a few relationships, going to University again, and a whole lot of admin.  Yawn!  It also involved a lot of drinking, not enough money, and a lot of stress.  It was better than puberty, and at times it was incredibly good fun, but I wouldn't do it again.  I've chosen this song for the beat, for the incredibly wrong sexiness of it, and for the tinge of despair... and also because it is guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor.  This and sex dwarf.  Should I have chosen sex dwarf?  The song is called Closer and it's by Nine Inch Nails.  Grown ups may choose to watch the video.  I wouldn't recommend it.  The song is great.  The video not so much.  Why are all rude YouTube videos on Vevo?


This is the grown up bit.  Things did come together.  I met a man who didn't know anything about Goth music, and fell in love.  We finished our respective University courses, got proper jobs, and got houses.  We even got married. 

This bit is called 'Worker' and it's that that I'm focusing on.  I had a real job.  One you needed a postgraduate qualification for.  I had a job that involved meeting with senior people and providing advice.  It was weird.  It was good too.  There were lots of things I liked about my job, but one thing I did not like was meetings.  Don't get me wrong, I liked the meetings where you travel to meet with someone to get a good understanding of what they're doing about something.  Those meetings were great.  The meetings I hated were those ones where you have a meeting because you always have a meeting on Wednesday.  The meetings where people talk about how many spoons are missing from the kitchenette.  Surely we have better things to do with our lives than have those meetings?  I also hated the regular meetings with my boss where she would dissect everything I had done to point out the flaws in it, and I would not punch her.  Again and again.  What I did do, was imagine getting up out of my seat and singing this song.  One Step Closer by Linkin Park.  I know they're not a proper band, but this song is awesome.


So now we're up to date, with where I'm at in my life now.  A full time mother to three weans.  Truth be told that last song doesn't go completely neglected, but as a mother I've spent an awful lot of time with children who are nearly asleep, or should be asleep, or won't go the 'ahem' to sleep.  When the child does finally sleep, whether they look gorgeous or not you have that amazing moment to realise how wonderful this whole thing of creating life and getting to live with these little people is.  I love this song.  I Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith.

So that's me, so far... way too many men represented!  I'll have to do another version with women.  What's that about?  Anyway, I'm wondering what your seven songs are?  Assuming you're around ages with me, here are your categories:  child, teen, youth, student, lover, worker, parent/partner.  Please share.

Other posts you might like:
The book challenge
Words at 15/4/14 - 73,000.  
21,000 words done since the challenge began, 5000 so far this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - middle of Chapter 14.
What I did last - explaining the rings on the fingers of one of my more awesome characters.