A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


is an art form whose medium is sound and silence.

Silence... I'm not very good at that but music has become even more important to me now than ever.

Anyone who has heard me 'sing' knows I do not have an ounce of musical ability (if I could change one thing about myself it would be that I wish I could sing in tune, just a little bit!) but I love how music makes me feel and how it reminds me of all sorts of things.

Growing up my music taste was pretty limited. I loved singing along to my Kylie Minogue and Wet Wet Wet tapes playing on my walkman. I remember getting Madonna's True Blue album for my birthday one year and listening over and over again. I won Queen's 'The Miracle" record when I was 12 in a dancing competition at my school 3-2-1 disco and fell in love with their music. I love everything they have done and wish I could have seen them live. I thought Freddie Mercury was the best singer I had ever heard.

I forget how old I was when my Mum and Dad said they wanted to take us to the theatre to watch a musical. I think they must have taken us the year before to watch a ballet which completely bored me because I was adamant I did not want to go. Anyway they tried to convince me to listen to it on tape before we went but I was having none of it. Well I had no choice and off we went to the theatre. And how wrong was I?! There and then began my love affair with musical theatre. It is my number one treat night out and I can't wait to take the kids to see a show when they are old enough to sit still for 2 hours! I have seen many many shows in the wonderful theatres in Manchester, travelled down to London and the magic that is London's West End and I have even been lucky enough to see Phantom of the Opera on New York's Broadway and a couple in Chicago.

Charlotte is in love with the film Tangled which is fine by me because I quite like listening to the songs in it and have even downloaded the album to my phone to listen to it in the car! We were all dancing round the living room last night to a couple of the songs. Both of the kids love dancing to music. Charlotte loves twirling her skirt or using the fireplace as a stage. Toby goes to music class at Gymboree and loves playing with all sorts of noisy instruments. His dancing is limited to bouncing up and down or turning round in circles but it is ever so cute to watch!

Seeing Toby enjoy listening to music is even more special as he could barely hear anything after he was born. At some point in the first few months he developed glue ear (behind his ear drums was filled with lots of think glue type liquid) which meant he could only hear very high pitched things. He seemed to be happy in his own little world but when it cleared up at around 9 months old it was like a light was turned on for him. he no longer sat on his own at playgroup, looking surprised when he realised someone was there too. He was in awe of all the things he could hear and the noises he could make. He is still quite behind with his language but in the last few weeks has made huge steps and can say things like "Daddy, Mummy and No" which is very funny.

I met an amazing group of people in 1996 and music was a big part of our friendship. I have so many memories linked to the music of the 90s, to the music festivals 'Glastonbury' and 'V' and to many many crazy fun nights out in Manchester. Happy times at huge house parties at '105' in Leeds, hanging out at friends' houses, staying up all saturday night listening to music, friends playing Oasis and Blur on their guitars and me listening in awe and trying to sing along (quietly!). Weekends away in a cottage in wales, taking it in turns to play our favourite tracks, music to keep you awake, to dance to and music to soothe a hangover. Thank you Mr Tebb for convincing me to listen to Stevie Wonder. I remember you suggesting it and all I could think was - the guy who sang the cheesy tune "I just called", seriously?! But you asked me if I trusted you and I did and how I now love to dance around to "Sir Duke".

I realise now how lucky I was to grow up in Manchester. The city is full of clubs and I have enjoyed many nights dancing for hours in indie clubs like the Ritz with it's bouncy dancefloor (how could they close it down?!). I remember walking in there with my friends and wondering what on earth they had brought me to... Student night on a Monday began with Goth music, moved through indie and rock music and onto dance music. The foam parties were quite an experience and there are too many songs to mention that remind me of good times and past relationships. Songs that made us run from wherever we were because we just HAD to dance to that song. The Funkademia nights with funk and northern soul music. One of my best friends and I would dance for 3 or 4 hours only stopping to get another bottle of water or a shot of tequila to keep us going. We would get home around 3am with black feet from all of the dancing on the grim dancefloor, too exhausted to have a shower!

Music is amazing in it's power to take you back to a time or a place, to stir happy or sad emotions. Music that makes me smile or reminds me of the best days of my life. The first dance at my Wedding (Wouldn't it be nice by the Beachboys) or the song that was number one in the charts and playing when I walked into the theatre to give birth to my son (Fireflies by Owl City).
I hope my children grow up with a love of music and maybe just maybe they will have inherited some musical talent from their Uncles.

We have been going through a stressful time at the moment and have had 2 hospital trips where I am sure only by pure coincidence, an older lady has been playing a piano in the lobby both times. The thing is one of the songs was one played at Jeremy's Granny's funeral. It made me think that she was telling me that she is up there watching over us. Who knows...

I have formed so many special friendships through or with music and there are so many songs on my itunes that remind me of them. Music makes me feel closer to them all now but also further away. I often put my itunes on random play and the tracks will remind me of a friend or a night out whilst I am driving around. This morning it was the 'avalanches' which will always take me back to '105'.

And on to new friendships and how music can unite you and give you common ground. Meeting someone and finding out one of their favourite tracks is from the same movie as yours. Just one of the many things we have in common and makes us feel like we have known each other for years even though it has only been a few months.
I have also met someone recently who shares a love of 90s Manchester music, even though she grew up thousands of miles from where there. I am looking forward to sharing music with her and listening to her favourite tracks.

So to all my friends and family, know that I listen to my tunes every day and they remind me of you all. I often have a smile on my face as I recall all of those happy days which are so special to me.

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