Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Memory: Deleted

Hands up who remembers Nirvana?

No, not that one, the other one, the UK based band that produced some typically tripped-out psychedelic singles in the mid to late 1960s? No, me neither, until I heard ‘Rainbow Chaser’ on the radio the other day and I experienced one of those ‘Oh, yes!’ moments as it unlocked a forgotten area of my memory.

In fact, now that that area of my brain is available for recall, I do remember being a wee bit obsessed by this single when it first came out in the spring of 1968 as it was one of the first to feature the heavy use of phasing, that whooshing effect that sounds like your balance is seriously upset after a night on the sherbets and it sounded weird.

Of course, some of it sounds a bit twee now with hippy lyrics and girly backing vocals, but the huge phased chorus still sounds wonderful as the melody rises over ascending chords to an apocalyptic climax. They don’t make singles like that anymore.

But the problem of forgetfulness stems from the fact that 1968 was a time when I was too young and impoverished to buy singles and the cassette recorder and illegal recording was still a few years away, so I have no hard physical reminders of this particular single, only soft memories and these, as we all know, can be overwritten as we get older.

All this makes me wonder how many other treasured moments there are locked up in my head from the distant past that I will never relive unless a catalyst brings them out. Spooky! There are probably hundreds of memories of really interesting stuff squirreled away that I will probably never remember and that is not only a bit scary but also a bit poignant.

Perhaps, someday in the future, medical science will be able to remove these hidden memories like some hard disk engineer looking for evidence of deleted files on seized computers. I’m not sure whether this is a future I like the sound of or not – a bit too Harry Potter and the Pensieve. But if it comes up with things like ‘Rainbow Chaser’ then bring it on!


Richard Havers said...

Rainbow Chaser featured the ubiquitous Big Jim Sullivan on guitar.

musicobsessive said...

I'll bow to your knowledge on this one as I really don't have a clue. Nirvana were one of those shadowy bands that I know of, but know little about (like a lot of others, actually...)
Thanks for looking in and letting me have another nugget of information that I can drop casually into my next conversation!