Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Going back to the future

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A new radio station has been brought to my attention with the appropriate name of Magic. (105.5 FM if you’re curious). For septuagenarians and others, the music has a magic quality; it’s the sounds we grew up with.

The music is melodic, the words have a clarity not evident in much of today’s popular music and the lyrics generally talk of love between members of the opposite sex or other interesting themes like tips on playing poker (Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”) or a seaman desperate to abandon ship (The Beach Boys’ “The Sloop John B”).

And they’re not asexual. Lulu sings “I’m a Tiger” with a sensual growl that would stir the blood of most young men and Nancy Sinatra does the same when she tells us her boots were made for walking.

Today’s pop offerings couldn’t hold a candle to the music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s which Magic’s strapline claims they “keep alive.” As someone recently said, “It’s called rap music because the “c” accidently fell off the printer.”

I know I’m right about this, except I had the same argument with my parents about their music when I was growing up.

After I left college my father in his wisdom sent me to Palmerston North to learn the trade of my ancestors under the guidance of another Master butcher. I used to do deliveries around the city on a bike with a basket on the front that Granville in Open All Hours would have been proud of. A regular recipient of our fine meats was a Mr Sandys who sadly was bedridden. His wife was a wonderful pastry-cook and would regularly have a hot morsel for the butcher-boy from her well-appointed kitchen.

The garage at the end of their drive was padlocked and I looked through a crack in the door one day and espied a 1926 Austin Seven coupe which I immediately coveted. Mrs Sandys wasn’t sure if her husband would part with it and she ushered me into his darkened bedroom on a number of occasions where protracted negotiations took place until he finally agreed to sell me the vehicle for 100 pounds. My weekly take-home pay at the time was six pounds and tuppence so one hundred pounds was a small fortune to a relatively penurious butcher-boy.

However I had opened a Post Office savings account when I was at primary school which had a credit balance of around one hundred pounds and so I purchased my first car.

I painted “Shake, Rattle and Roll” on the driver’s door, a popular song of the time performed by Bill Haley and the Comets that aptly described the ride caused by the superannuated springing system.

With the hood down I’d hoped it might be a chick magnet, though I’m not sure that expression was actually in vogue then. It didn’t have the desired affect; though I’m blaming the driver for that, not the car.

The point of all this is that the automobile industry has gone ahead in leaps and bounds in the intervening years; the Austin Seven could in no way compare with the car I drive today.

So how come the music’s not as good?


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