I haven’t lost my mind, it’s on Cassette somewhere.

Since almost as far back as I can remember I have had music. Mum and Dad singing to me, strumming a guitar, cracking the windows of the couse with the sound from bagpipes or, as my grandparents also did, playing me CDs and vinyl records on stereos that were far too high up for my prying fingers to reach. There was almost no moment in my life where there wasn’t music involved. Relatives would make me cassettes of music and send them to my parents to play on their old trusty Aiwa X505 (which is still in service at their house today.) According to my Mum, when I heard a new piece of music I would just stop whatever I was doing and look at the stereo, actively listening to all these incredible new sounds that I had never heard before, mostly because I wasn’t alive to hear them before.

One of my favourite things to do as a kid was to sit in my room on a Sunday afteroon, or lie in bed on a weeknight, with my Dad’s old Sanyo Boombox on the bedside table next to me, my finger hovering over the pause button ready to record that song I loved off of the radio. I can still remember some of those long sunny afternoons and late evenings (I’ve never been a real nightowl) of just me and music, back before pop music went sour. I didn’t have to be anywhere, I had no oligation to anyone, unless it was a school night, I was just free to listen and dream, it was wonderful. Lookng back on my life I don’t think I’ve ever been more peaceful than I was wrapped up in bed with the radio on, dreaming up fantastic escapes from my somewhat dreary childhood.

Even during High School I had time during the holidays to just relax with some music and listen, although towards the end of my schooling I spent just as much time copying all my music to whatever mp3 player I had at the time as I did actually listening to it. Still, it served as the paint that could paint a whole other world on the canvas of my mind. I gave up on radio by this point, preferring my collection of mp3s (well actually I made the stupid choice of ripping all my CDs in WMA format, because at the time I was adiment that I would never own an iPod) and I even made five great compilations of summer music

These days, things have changed. It’s been a long time since I used a cassette tape for anything, My poor old turntable has been sorely neglected, as has my stereo, even my iPod classic with all my music on it. and I am frequently finding myself with less and les time and in less and less of a headspace to just relax with an album or two and imagine, 6 1/2 days out of 7 that just doesn’t happen. I have work, or other commitments, I’ve got all sorts of details to work out and errands to run, people to please, normal parts of my life that are that are so mundane I feel like I don’t want to waste good music on them, to be listening to Kosheen’s Resist or Rhian Sheehan’s Music for Nature Documentaries remix album and be struck with the memory of year 12 Mathematics.

Frankly, this whole situation makes me sad.

Sure I’m not the only one who attaches memories to music, but I feel like I can’t really re-live those memories without the music there. Frequently my imagination is much lighter with music being played than it is without, and while I try to remember whole songs that frequently doesn’t work, and I only get ten or twenty seconds of music that more ofthen than not, ends up mashing two similar sounding songs together. To really relax and let go I need that music as an external source, even if it’s just drowns out the tinitus of my mind it’s sure to make me think of something better than my failings as a peson, or why somebody said bad things about me on the internet.

And don’t think going for a drive is any help. I can’t really devote all my energies to listening to travelling music if I’m piloting a 1600kg missile at 100 kilometres an hour and making sure it doesn’t suddenly veer off into a nearby pylon, which it probably would do if I closed my eyes, let go of the steering wheel and started dreaming away. As much as I like to drive, and to listen to music while I drive,  even though sometimes that has created some awesome memories in itself, I think I have a better musical experience travelling as a passenger.

What I really want is to be in that old, childlike headspace again, for longer. Like I was when I was on our honeymoon, or when I was ten, or even when I was three. I shouldn’t just be removing music from my everyday life, just because I think most of my everyday life isn’t worth a soundtrack, because if I took everyday life out of my life I wouldn’t have much life left to score a soundtrack for. I don’t think the music has changed, I think my mind has. And until I find that shoebox with the old cassette tape containing all those childhood memories I’m not sure I’ll be able to set my mind right again.