Thursday 20th May 2004

A topic that I have covered on several times on my blog and will always continue to discuss. Music. What has the biggest influences in shaping the types of music we like? Our childhood, our friends? Our experiences? Or purely the radio stations and music video channels we watch? My answer would be all of the above. The biggest influences on my musical tastes have been my family and friends. My sister, particularly opened my eyes or rather ears to many artist in my younger days. Samantha, just tends to listen to more commercial radio than I do and has always had a finger on the pulse of the modern scene. In the mid to late 1990s, I too listen to a heavy dose of commercial radio. Capital FM and Kiss 100 were always on in our house. Back then the quality of the music was of a much higher standard than today. Perhaps because those days, reality pop stars manufacturing was just an idea in Simon Fuller’s head. Also the DJs at the time, played a fantastic blend of old and new music and actually had something to say, rather than just fill in the gaps between the tracks with idle chat. There was even a point, when I was such a regular listener to the radio, that I new the play lists so well I could predict with some accuracy the next track to be played. Then towards the end of the decade, as I began to amass my own musical collection, I became more and more disillusioned with commercial radio. It began to become very repetitive and the presenters began to lose their individual personalities in favour of factory output. I never really listened to BBC Radio 1 and preferred the Hit 40 UK, which was sponsored by a famous carbonated beverage and broadcast across several radio stations. I also came familiar with idea of ‘radio kill’. A song being played too many times on the radio and consequently destroying the credibility of the song. This was another of the reasons, why I stopped listening to the radio. So, with the decline in my radio listening, how and more importantly who would be influencing my musical tastes? Well, it would be my best friend at school and subsequently college. Without him, many of the songs I now listen to on a regular basis, would not be in my collection. Overall, our musical tastes were the same, but it he gave favour for bands such as Then Jerico and the fantastic Marillion. Although I had Sky, I only rarely watched the music channels, referring to watch out for classic tracks from the 80s on VH1. My college friend had also the astonishing gift, to be able to recall dates of singles and albums by almost any artist. A walking, Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, if you may. When he didn’t know the date of a release, a rare occurrence mind, we would dash across to WH Smith in Henley-upon-Thames. That was some four years ago. He has moved and I have nothing but the memories of those events.

So who in recent times has influenced my musical preferences? Well, it has to be my housemate Paul. He likes a broad range of material, from the classic timeless masterpieces by The Smiths to the sleek soulful RnB of Jaheim. You only need to go back to last month to discover how is song selection had such an overwhelming impact. On the return from an unscheduled trip to ASDA, he made a selection, describing the track as cheesy but catchy pop. Never wanting to doubt, someone who has never been wrong in the past, I listened to the opening, surprised to hear the vocals in Spanish. Azul means ‘blue’, I was quietly informed and then told the large female fan base for the latino artist born in Mexico. I was hooked. I was hooked from the first few seconds of the song. I never could imagine Paul letting me down. I found the song, and patiently waiting for it download, on our return home. I have been listening to it ever since and it has grown on me, with a passion. Why? I suppose it is my love for pure pop. For music that is both easy to listen to and has a catchy chorus. Being a child of 1980s and still loving that era for music, may go someway to explain this sometimes ridiculed love of mainstream popular music. You just have to read the reviews for the album, which shares the name of the title track to find out more. Cristián Castro, has tried to include every possible cliché, with regards to American 1980s Rock/Pop. I do not have a problem with this, because the finished product is of such high quality production.

The 1980s theme continues, with a quick visit to eBay. I was e-mailed by my other housemate Nav, last night. All the e-mail included was a website URL and the comment in the subject line, “I bidded on it for you mate”. This was strange? Placing bids on my behalf? I followed the link, to be greeted with the famous image from my childhood. Showing all my dreams in a single piece of metal. My dreams remain and shall forever, for the auction was for a vehicle. Not any vehicle, but the creation of Doctor Emmett Brown. One day I hope to live the dream. But for the time being, I am a member of DeLorean Owners Club. Yes, I know I do not own one (yet), but the club is open to enthusiasts, as well as owners of the gull wing automobile. I joined in May 2001, following a visit to Belfast, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cars manufacture. Find out more by visiting the fantastic resource if you dare to Enter My World.

So my final exam beckons. With it my time at university comes to an end. I feel strange. Time as a student has flown by so quickly and the real world is knocking on my door. As I head back to Wycombe at the end of this month, I see friendships drawing to a close. No, I should not think like that at all. There is no closure, just a change in direction. Some will continue on this journey with me. Others will find a different path. I wish them well. The certainty of the big bad world, only begins to come home as I make job applications. I just hope this job search is more successful than my hunt for placement, two years ago. Obviously much more critical now, I need a job! 🙂

The FA Cup takes place this weekend. Of course, it should be Arsenal in the final and not Man Yoo. Oh well, never mind, there is always next year and we should be more than happy with the Premiership crown. One of the highlights of all the coverage on the BBC has been the use of Don King as a marketing guru. Read his Philosophy of Champology to convert our cup competition into a FA Mega Bowl, with all the razzmatazz that only the Americans can bring! 😀

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