In the writings of one N Molesworth (the curse of st custards as any fule kno), there are described a number of patent daydreams designed for bored schoolboys to utilise during double maths – mainly space adventures with wizard whams, bonks and xplosions. But what of grown ups? Are we not entitled to a bit of downtime when life gets a bit lethargic? Can we not let our imagination drift for a minute or two during that Health and Safety presentation? One of my usual standbys is to imagine that my entire music collection has been held to ransom and I am allowed to save one particular year’s worth. What will it be eh?
After deliberating for longer than I care to admit, a few candidates start to emerge. For starters, 1982 was quite a good year encompassing some great stuff from Kate Bush, Siouxsie and Michael Jackson but then so was 1992 (Tori Amos, REM, Lush etc) and even 2006. But eventually I incline towards 1971. This is probably not surprising as I gave the game away here. It is the year that I began to buy albums in earnest and not having many of them, tended to play them all to destruction. It was a time of great discovery and great music. Let’s see the evidence.
These are the LPs I bought during the year in question as they were released:
Chicago – Chicago III
Curved Air – Second Album
The Doors – LA Woman
The Faces – A Nod’s As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse
Focus – Moving Waves
John Lennon – Imagine
Paul McCartney – Ram
Don McLean – American Pie
Pink Floyd – Relics
Yes – Fragile
These I taped from friends (so sue me – I’ve bought them since):
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Lesley Duncan – Sing Children Sing
It’s A Beautiful Day – Choice Quality Stuff
And lastly, these I bought a year or two later but belong in 1971:
Beach Boys – Surfs Up
Caravan – In the Land of Grey and Pink
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Fanny – Charity Ball
Genesis – Nursery Cryme
Carole King – Tapestry
Joni Mitchell – Blue
Pink Floyd – Meddle
The Who – Who’s Next
The more I look at this list the more I am convinced that, if forced into giving up the rest of my entire collection, I could live happily with every one of these discs. Each is so well known to me in a way that most of the albums I have bought since are not. As the years went by, I bought more and more albums but with the exception of a chosen few, didn’t really listen to them much and some perhaps only once. These albums represent a time when I was seized by music and spent hours listening to it. Time and experience deadens this initial enthusiasm to a point where today, only one album in say, 10, really grabs me.
So, on my desert island, I shall sneak in all 22 of these albums and be blissfully happy playing them repeatedly like those heady days in 1971 when I was doing it for real.