January gave us the great category debate. We solved this argument succinctly: music is good. It doesn't matter who did it, what it sounds like, where or when it was recorded or who played on it - if you like it, then it's good. It's as simple as that. Don't try and categorise it or label it or put it in a box. Put the fucking thing in whatever player you have, turn it up, take a breath and LISTEN to it. Try to remember the joy you got from hearing it for the first time, without the preconceptions of myriad opinions, including mine. Just listen and enjoy, start a riot, start a band, write a song or story or just dance around like a fucking loon. Enjoy it because life is too fucking short not to.
The best thing about this project is it's kick started a new chapter in Mine and YourZ (truly)'s relationship. Regardless of how mindful a couple are of complacency within their little world, it still has a habit of creeping in. We're each other's best friends but even best friends have dull moments. I'm not saying we'd become dull and boring, but the invigorating feeling enabled because of this shared task feels almost like the first heady days of our relationship. And it's a wonderful feeling, let me tell ya.
Not only this, but it's taken us back to one of the things that brought us together in the first place: a common love of music. Our first date, the one where we both got so drunk we could hardly stand, where we stood on an inner city footpath and kissed like teenagers, where we knew this, at long last, was the real thing... Yes, that date was to see Dallas Crane and supports at the now-closed Hopetoun Hotel. Dallas Crane were awesome but so fucking loud we retreated outside so we could also talk and smoke (remember those things?) Prior to this, our past was built on musical excursions to various Big Day Outs with large crews of relative strangers.
And now we're both listening to more music than we have in years. Not only are we writing about it, but we're talking about, reading about and even watching more music than we've done in ages. The wonderful collection we have, unlike any other collection in the world, has been a constant source of delight as we work our way through it, trusty pointy stick in hand. It has also provided some pure cringe-worthy moments for both of us (for me, none more so than when the pointy stick touched down on
Kylie Minogue - sorry honey).
It opened up and revealed to both of us music we'd totally forgotten about, either because of time or sheer numbers. A lot of music we bought, listened to then put into the collection and forgot about almost straight away as something new drew our attention away (you should see us with pretty, shiny things - can keep us occupied for hours). It's the reason I have the Forgotten Gems category, not just to inform you, but to also remind myself. It also gave YourZ (truly) music I now consider my life richer for knowing. In January, this accolade belongs the the Modfather himself, Mr Paul Weller and the stunning Wild Wood. It also showed my lovely wife that not all of my taste is in the back half of my pants. I am still stunned and surprised she took a shine to Pavement, for instance. There is just no measuring this woman!
Each month, we're also going to give away a CD to someone who we think truly deserves it. The joy of music is not in keeping it locked away but in sharing it. This month, we've decided to give away the wonderful James Hunter CD, The Hard Way, to my parents as not only will they appreciate it and play it far more than we do, but it's a minuscule way for me to say thanks for all the musical joy they've given me over the years. You never know, though, next month it could be YOU.
Oh yeah, thanks to all of you for reading and for commenting too. We look forward to your continued company as we wend our way through our collection and hope you have enjoyed the ride so far. Now it's time to sit back, buckle up and get ready for February.
Oy, he's long-winded. But he's right, you know. (YourZ says: I can't believe she said this! I'm gonna mark this momentous occasion on the calendar, hahahaha...) This blog's given us so much to talk about, to laugh about and to enjoy - I can hardly wait for the rest of the year.
OK, to put my 2 cents worth in - I just want to urge anyone with a reasonably-sized music collection to do just what we're doing. Not to write about it (unless that really floats your boat, in which case go for it) but to remember why you bought the music in the first place. I realise that with the advent of downloads and carrying all your music on one little device, what we're doing here might seem outdated to some. If you have it all there and just press Shuffle, you'll get those Forgotten Gems come around anyway - every now and again. But I know we still exist in a small bubble of time when we can speak to people like us, who have music available in several formats (this house has six if you count vinyl singles and LPs as two).
So choose a format, assemble your collection, grab a blindfold and your equivalent of our pointy stick (pictured right for your delectation - stop laughing now) and pick out some music. Put it on. Listen to it. Rinse and repeat. Invite your friends over and make a party out of it! It's way fun, and if the last month's been any indication, it'll just keep getting better this whole year. Which is a relief, let me tell you - I must confess I had a minor worry at the start that it could turn into a chore. But no more.