A favourite song for most people, is not necessarily chosen because of a hummable tune, a fanciable singer or touching lyrics. If it was just about all those things, Blue’s “One Love” [sample lyrics: “Baby just love me, love me, love me”] would be on the top of everyone’s list.
A favourite song for most people reminds them of something or perfectly captures an important moment. This could be an ex-love, a drunken night of dancing like an epileptic tramp, or the day of your 13th birthday.
There’s a song by Usher called ‘Caught Up’ which will forever remind me of the journey home after a day’s trial at a ‘marketing’ company in Leeds. At the time I was unemployed after graduating, and a £15k salary as ‘Marketing Assistant’ [the advert said] would have been perfect.
However, it turned out that this ‘marketing’ company, was in fact those annoying cretins who go door-to-door badgering old women or those that struggle with the English language trying to convince them to switch gas suppliers, while using underhand tactics [“Just make up some story about fuel prices going up-they probably don't watch the news anyway”- was a piece of advice that particularly stood out].
At the end of the day we all got a ride home where that very song came on the radio and one of the workers – a balding 30-something Asian male – starting singing and trying to get everyone to dance while cramped [there were four of us in the back] in a Ford Mondeo. It was more cringing than seeing porn with your friends only to find that the adult-film in question starred your mother. Having her way with your mate sitting next to you.
But the one song that really stands out for me is Damien Rice’s The Blower’s Daughter. It always reminds me of getting on the train at Forster Square on a grey day as the kids in this generation’s version of the shell suit– Addidas bottoms tucked in white socks [with stripes above the ankles], a hoodie and thick gold-plated chain from Lucy Lockets in Kirkgate or Argos-exclusive Elizabeth Duke – push their prams towards the Donnay-clad halls of Sportsworld.
Because my MP3 player was pretty much my only form of entertainment on the long journeys to Bradders and back, there’s a couple more songs which similarly remind me of home.
Recently, however, I found out that songs that reminded me of home didn’t necessarily make me miss home, my family and friends.
One of the few friends who I went to school with and who I still see fairly regularly, recently got married. I was excited for him. Although we were never that close [he wouldn't let me go all the way], we were the only ones in our group of mates who had regular girlfriends and we didn’t smoke weed [it just smells funny, and people become around 10 per cent thicker when they are stoned – in the same way people become 10 per cent more intelligent when they wear glasses].
The wedding was on a weekend and in Leicester, which is much closer to London than Yorkshire and I had my suit dry cleaned and was looking forward to seeing everyone again; away from getting drunk and playing Pro Evo on the Playstation at someone’s house. It was nice to get together for a proper occasion.
The Weds before the wedding I got a text telling be that unfortunately he can only invite so many people [100 to be exact] and unfortunately there wasn’t room for me. Two things came into my head.
Firstly: 100 people! One-hundred flipping people! I’d like to think I’d be in the top 100 people at least for most people I was acquainted with. Apart from Harold Shipman, most people would think that right? Oh well, Asian families are big though? I thought
The second thought was: Can you uninvite someone to a wedding? Is it like marrying cousins – where no one really knows what the law on it is? Surely in the book of unwritten rules there’s a section on uninviting people?
Admittedly I was disappointed, my girlfriend had gone on holiday too at the time and so I knew it was either a night getting stupid drunk [which lately I've not been too bothered for] or staying in and watching films / playing videogames. Either way I would be eating a takeaway.
I didn’t get back to him straight away [long story short – new phone, Pay as You Go interim – how do chavs afford it? AND pay for the ringtone of whichever generic R&B currently tops the charts] but did saying something along the lines of “Fair enough, have a good time” a few days later.
I saw the pictures on Facebook and thought to myself [I think to myself loads – like a little monologue or sometimes I just have a a song playing in the background of my head imagining my life as a movie and selecting the appropriate soundtrack. In general: Coldplay = poignant moment [rare], Benny Hill tune = funny moment / running, Scouting for Girls when considering topping myself.] I’ve known him longer than so and so, why are they there?
Right, he’s not coming to my wedding! But then does that mean no one else that I hang out with at home is coming? I want them all there. I would’ve liked him to be there too.
Can you actually uninvite someone to a wedding?
But the more I thought about it, the more I realised just how little I actually knew about him. I have seen him maybe twice in the last year. These people who I didn’t really know probably have much more in common with him than I do and are better friends. And I figured that what he did was completely understandable.
That’s tough to swallow: the reality that you are not as close to anyone anymore. The people I grew up with, the people I went to school with, the people I still see when I go home – I’m not in any of those circles anymore.
But then there’s a reason for it. I kind of knew I was giving a huge chunk of that up when I moved to London. I’ve settled down much more and working in a really good job for a massive worldwide company.
Like the circle of life, everything comes back to the start. I began this rather long article by explaining how songs can remind you of certain situations. For me, it was mainly how much I missed home.
However, on the day of the wedding, I heard another song which reminded me of home: The Enemy’s We’ll Live and Die in These Towns. To many it can be a slightly cliched ‘Arctic Monkeys-alike-singing-about-growing-up-on-an-estate’ groan. But the talk about pubs smelling of desperation while haggled old women say ‘nothing happens to people like us’ would remind anyone of being 17 and going to any local boozer in Bradford.
For me though, it reminds me of why I left Bradford and why I left a whole load of friends. But most importantly, it reminds me of what I have now.