Music. Everything is lovely. Or grim and pernicious. Records that line the route as if an avenue of elms, or some other strained and egregious metaphor. There’s a why behind certain tracks working, sinking teeth into perception, when others meekly slip towards some ambient, ephemeral swash betrothed to remainder bins and dusty shelves.
When I was young – little more than a toddler, really – my teenage brother would tie me to a chair in his bedroom. Not an act of overt barbarism, more a fraternal flexing of muscles that kids often get into. But he did force me to listen to the first two albums by the New York Dolls; LPs he deliberately played at 45rpm, over and over and over again. Because watching your younger sibling squirm as a helium-voiced David Johansen screeches away in frenzied, sleazy detail, ‘Looking For A Kiss’ or ‘Trash’ or ‘Who Are The Mystery Girls?’ enthused with decibel and constant repeat – well, I’m sure he found it entertaining enough (at least until our mother caught him, the old red-handed routine, and grounded him for a few weeks once I’d calmed down enough not to think that Johnny Thunders was permanently squatting in my cranium).
The intuitive infatuation with specific sounds, particular records – well, that came later, much later. But I like to think that whatever magic there is was at least facilitated by those barely-remembered occasions, trussed-up in my brother’s room.
And whilst this scene is totally contrived – wholesale invention because unreliable narration is important in life (I don’t have any older brothers or sisters), I’ll cling to the illusion that this is as good a reason for being a sucker for sound as any.
New York Dolls / Trash