As for many people, music is a vital part of my life and I cannot imagine living without it. Music can relax me, inspire me, make me feel better, or conjure up all kinds of memories. Or it can just be a pleasant entertainment for a while.
As with many things, I am quite open in my tastes. Rock is at the top of the list, but I enjoy a bit of folk, country, classical, African and much more besides. I have a reasonable CD collection, built up steadily over the years, but I have adopted new technology and now get a lot of my music by download. For me, the music has always been the important part, rather than the packaging so these days, I tend to buy CDs if they are by particular favourite artists, or if I spot a bargain while browsing but otherwise electronic format is fine.
My favourite artist is Bruce Springsteen, about whom I will likely write a separate entry. This is the only instance where I have to admit to being what some might call a “sad fan”, and collect pretty much everything Springsteen-related in terms of recordings, DVDs and books. Seeing Bruce live is an amazing experience, while I think he has a song that is right for whatever mood I am in.
Other singers and bands I particularly enjoy include Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Crowded House, David Ford, Gaslight Anthem, Jesse Malin and, from a little before my time, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
My ability to make music does not match my passion for listening to it, despite various efforts through the years. Like so many children, I learned the recorder primary at school and excelled at it, so much so that I played in a recorder band in the area I grew up in! This led onto learning the flute at secondary school, but after a couple of frustrating years I gave it up. I just did not enjoy it, mainly because the kind of music I had to play did not interest me or motivate me at the time. It was around the same time that I got my first keyboard, which allowed me to try and play the type of music that I enjoyed and even to attempt to write songs. Before you ask, thankfully no evidence of this remains! I had several keyboards over the years, but I really only dabbled, never taking proper lessons. At university, my friend’s band used my keyboard in their gigs, but not with me playing it! To be honest, I always wanted to play the guitar but never got around to it until my early thirties. My first teacher was a great player and happy to teach me songs I wanted to play, but there was not enough structure for me to really progress, and the lessons ended when he went into the studio with his band for a prolonged period. After the occasional strum for a few years, I started lessons again about 12 months ago with a new teacher and happy to say it is going really well. I find it hard and do not always have much time to practice, but the main thing is that I enjoy it. Too old for dreams of stardom, I will be happy if I can learn enough for a singalong with friends sometime.
Meanwhile, I continue to discover new and old bands to listen to, and try to find as much time as possible to actually play the music I have!