Music the transporter

As usual, I had queued up my entire music collection and set Winamp to random play. Though there was an unusual sequence of tracks, none of which were related, none of which were particularly amazing except for one thing; each and every one triggered an old memory from where I first heard, or most associated the music.

I shut my eyes and just listened as I was transported to parents front room, where my dad was proudly showing me his record collection (Deep Purple, Black night); to Cyprus with my mum, driving around the Troodos mountains (Roxy Music, Slave to love); to the school trip to Thorpe Park (Oasis, Hey Now!); to the bus stop outside my flat in Walthamstow on my way to work (Papa Roach, Last resort); to walking to Tessa’s house when we’d first started going out (Electric Soft Parade, There’s a silence); to touring around the UK with The Attic Project (The Ziggens, Fat Charlie)

It never ceases to amaze me how music has the power to do that. It seems so vivid as you don’t just get a few flashing images in your mind, you get a full sensory reminder as if you were actually there. You can remember events and thoughts that were occurring at that time. It helps you remember things about a time in your life, places or people that had completely evaded you previously.

If you listen to music all the time, then any deep and buried memory of your life could be just a song a way

About Matt

Cloud Systems Engineer at Reed Elsevier; cloud computing advocate, rock climber, swing dancer, amateur photographer, professional idiot....
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2 Responses to Music the transporter

  1. I get this too every now and again. I sometimes find it can stretch so far as to call up the emotion I was feeling at the time too and actually make me feel it in the present; causing me to perform an impromptu Cheshire cat grin or check if there are enough tissues in the house (usually the former I’m happy to say!).

    Another very powerful way of calling up things from your memory I have found is smell. Like when I wake up early in the morning, go outside and smell fresh morning air with dew on the grass I am distinctly transported to then I used to go camping in France as a child with my family and getting out of the tent in the morning. Like you say with your music, almost as if you are actually standing there. The smell of a coal fire burning carried on the air transports me to North Wales and walking along the beach in Nefyn where such smells are commonplace in winter. There are others too but those are the most noticeable ones.

  2. Matt says:

    I find the smells thing quite disturbing, mostly because it is often much harder to place the memory or why there is a link.

    With music it is easy because the logical links and recollection is all there. It is true of smells sometimes but I can never figure out why a certain smell, sort of like molten tarmac reminds me of going to the local library when I was at nursery school. Or why certain books that have that distinctive smell, evoke an emotional feeling, but what I don’t actually know. Most bizarre.

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