The soundtrack of my life - it's the name of a story I wrote a while ago which I can't bear to read now - but more relevantly it's the concept of my brother-in-law, who thinks that everyone has a virtual soundtrack of songs that are "fate songs". Not only are they songs you like but they are songs that meant something to you at that time. This is my attempt to write down what I think could be my album of fate songs. Obviously, the last few years are always going to seem the most eventful because I can actually remember the songs I listened to and the things that happened. But I've had a go at the early years too.
Babyhood: Phantom of the Opera. Okay, so most parents don't play their baby songs about murder, seduction and intrigue but apparently this was my favourite music - and I still love it.
Toddler: Jesus Bids Us Shine... with a clear "blue" light, according to my version of the children's hymn I would not stop singing and didn't understand a word of.
In the Hall of the Mountain King (by Grieg) - In our household this was known as the troll music. Classical music was definitely not boring then.
A Whole New World, from Aladdin - When I was a kid my sisters and I used to do a lot of singing around the piano together, which I loved. I remember lots of laughing and, at risk of sounding corny, that fantastic feeling of acceptance and understanding that comes with sisterhood. Some of our favourite songs were from a Disney songbook and this was one of the best. It makes me feel nostalgic.
Age 9-10ish: Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven). This was a major turning point and one of the most obvious fate songs on this list for me. It was the song that I thought was heavenly that I decided to learn to play on the piano by hook or by crook - and once I was able to play it, I had got past the drudgery of learning an instrument and I was in love with the piano.
Age 13ish: I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor. Grooooaaaaan. Aaaaaaggggggghhhh. Stupid "relationship" with silly "boyfriend" - in which I was totally overdramatic and is too embarrassing to think about much. Anyway, when he dumped me, I used to sing this all the time because, obviously, a 2 month relationship at age thirteen warrants this kind of emotion.
14: Oh Daisy, Zed. Don't be surprised if you haven't heard of them - they're a Christchurch band that I was completely obsessed with for a while. I, like, got Ben and Adrian's autographs! And Nathan wrote me a birthday card!!!! This was the beginning of a stream of obsessions which (obviously) I am still in the throes of. I'm beginning to think that I must be obsessed with something or I'll die.
15ish: Strong, Robbie Williams. For those who don't know the lyrics: You think that I'm strong, you're wrong, you're wrong. My mum was sick with cancer all through high school and I was very insecure about a lot of things - but somehow some of my friends were jealous of me for things like good grades, and I couldn't do anything right without feeling guilty about it or anything wrong without them being pleased. It got on my nerves just a bit.
17: Saving the World, Brooke Fraser. And while we're waiting, we could try saving the world - or are we storing that up for a rainy day? Got me interested in social justice. And is also a very cool song.
19: The Scientist, Coldplay. Nobody said it was easy, it's such a shame for us to part - nobody said it was easy, nobody said that it would be this hard. Mum's death. I am not exaggerating when I say that this song was playing almost constantly at the time in my stereo and in my head.
20: Nothing Ever Happens, Del Amitri. Just because I think they're great lyrics...
Bill hoardings advertise products that nobody needs / While Angry from Manchester writes to complain about all the repeats on TV / And computer terminals report some gains on the values of copper and tin / While American businessmen snap up Van Goghs for the price of a hospital wing / Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all / The needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before / Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all / They'll burn down the synagogues at six o'clock and we'll all go along like before / And we'll all be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow...
In short - my cynical and slightly angry phase. Another song from this phase - Mad World. I'm not altogether sure this phase is over and I'm aware I might not even sound like I'm passing through it - but let's just say the last year has not been filled with daisies and bunny rabbits.
At the same time, On Fire, Switchfoot - When everything inside me looks like everything I hate, you are the hope I have for change, you are the only chance I'll take... And just to make it absolutely clear, to me, "you" = God.
Age 21: Welcome Home, Dave Dobbyn. There’s a woman with her hands trembling - haere mai / And she sings with a mountain’s memory - haere mai / There’s a cloud the full length of these isles / Just playing chase with the sun / And it’s black and it’s white and it’s wild / All the colours are one / So welcome home... This is a song written by a Kiwi for Kiwis coming home. About a fifth of New Zealanders do not live in New Zealand - at the moment, that includes me. We Kiwis don't have a reputation for jingoism but this song makes me tear up and I'll be playing it on my ipod as the plane lands in Christchurch on 24 December.
Also age 21: Liquid, Jars of Clay. This is the one thing, the one thing that I know / Blood-stained brow / He wasn't broken for nothing / Arms nailed down / He didn't die for nothing. So in summary - I'm basically confused at the moment, as anyone who reads my God blog will probably have guessed - but this song expresses the only thing I know right now as well.
(Feel free to be tagged if you want.)