I was just standing at the sink doing the washing up (the current Mrs Headlander won’t invest in a dishwasher as long as she’s married to me) and listening to good old, dependable Radio 2 the other day when a song came spluttering out of the old bakelite tranny that bought back a wave of memories for me…
As I was singing away merrily and the second chorus started, in a flash I was transported back in time… It made me think of my old friend Barry who died in a motorcycle accident many years ago. The sense of loss that I, all of his other friends and of course his family experienced was suddenly very real all over again – I could remember how devastated I was at the time and it hurt all over again. I then immediately started remembering other events from around the same time in my life – driving round the local country pubs with my mates (back in the days when you weren’t a social pariah for drinking and driving), riding my first motorbike (A Yamaha FS1E if you must know), going to a country dance (never been to another… as I’ve got 2 left feet!), abseiling down a limestone gorge in the West Country (never done that again either) the list goes on.
What is it that makes one or more of our senses trigger these feelings? Seeing or hearing something familiar can start us reminiscing – even a smell or a taste can bring back memories… not necessarily of old dinners but of places and things that seem to be unconnected – at least on a conscious level.
Anyone who experiences nostalgia will know that it’s a very painful thing. At best it is bittersweet… think about when a bunch of friends gather over a meal or in a pub and start talking about their past adventures, there well be lots of laughter but behind it all is the feeling that those times have gone and cannot be recaptured. Particularly when you reflect a short time after you’ve all got together on all the things you talked about.
The double-edged sword of nostalgia can involve regrets of things you said to someone… or even worse – things you should’ve said to someone but didn’t! How about the last words you said to your mum before she died? The decisions you wish you hadn’t made… even the remembrance of happier times is painful on reflection. No wonder people start crying at New Year, as we are all encouraged to look back and review our progress so far.
For me, nostalgia also gets more difficult to handle every year – it must be really crushing for those in their dotage looking back on a near century of life and experiences.
Enough of this self absorbed reflective crap! I can hear you, dear reader, asking what was the classic piece of musical mastery that I heard on Radio 2 to set off these ramblings?
Err… um… well… actually… it’s a bit embarrassing really… err… it was Abba performing Take A Chance on Me! I like this song but I’ve no idea how it is connected with me old mate Barry, as he was more of a Jefferson Airplane man! How this song triggered off all these memories I’ve really got no idea. How does all this work? – Answers on a postcard please.
I just wonder if in 30 years time any track on either the Ibiza Anthems 7 or Now That’s What I Call Pigswill 68 CDs will trigger off the same feelings for a future married old scrote doing the washing up… I very much doubt is it as the listeners to such albums are mostly off their boxes on “skunk” and so won’t remember anything! At least I’ve got the memory of Agnetha’s bum to keep me going!