Music and books played a part in my life from an early age. I was something of a sickly child and would be laid up for one to three weeks at a time. As both of my parents worked, albeit not that far away and could pop in to check on me, when I was ill in bed it was just me and the radio to start with. Thankfully talk radio hadn’t been thought of then (not many of us had ‘phones to call in with anyway) and most of the programming was music.
This was in the 1950s and so a lot of the music was from the big shows; Carousel, South Pacific, Calamity Jane, Oklahoma! and so on. These especially sparked the imagination for farway places and times and could take that small boy with them.
One of my early treasures was an atlas, and I would try to find anywhere mentioned in a song on the map. Of course there were some fictional places, but, through song, I found a love of geography, travel and maps (even now I can spend a happy hour with an ordnance survey map).
Song also helped my vocabulary, pestering my parents when they came in about new words, and when Doris Day sang Que Sera Sera or Dino crooned Volare more horizons burst into my developing mind.
Picture books and annuals with cartoon strips came into my life as well then and I began to understand a few written words too as I struggled with the captions. We didn’t have much money, but jumble sales were a good source of cheap books that helped me read well before I went to school even if I did make a complete nonsense of pronouncing some of them (ocean came out as okeen, and Pharaoh as something like farrower I recall).
Books still play a big part in my life, but music require less effort and I can listen with my eyes shut (that does tend to impair one’s reading ability). I have an ancient i-Pod that I love dearly and be transported to places and memories or just listen to the different components of the sound.
I have very catholic tastes and there are all sorts of genre on the i-Pod; punk, chamber music, folk, big bands, blues, light opera, soul, classical , protest songs and pop plus a few that I’ve no doubt missed.
Along the way I’ve I’ll write some more about music and books that I enjoy in coming blogs