Music & Friends & Memory

I’ve discovered a new test of friendship using iTunes. Do you know your friend’s musical tastes sufficiently well to burn a playlist that he or she will enjoy? I’ve been playing about with this recently. Bought some cds in bulk and have been selecting some music for friends in the hopes of being able to bring some musical joy into their lives and perhaps introduce them to something new.

Spent a small part of Saturday afternoon, standing in the rain beside a friend’s car, dressed only in my cycling gear listening to some music I had burned for him. He had just finished a gruelling race, was getting dressed in the great outdoors, with Mary J Blige’s version of U2s One playing on his car stereo. “I feel energised!” was his response, and we got talking about the impact of music.

Songs evoked times and eras for us. I spoke of how particular albums are associated with particular places for me. Van Morrison’s Poetic Champions Compose will be Chicago in 1988. Forever. Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, will be Portadown on January 2 1985. The Rising will be New York, of course. O by Damien Rice will always be Washington DC, and so on and so on.

Last Thursday I stumbled across an album from my youth, Discovery by ELO and was compelled to buy. This album, along with Boy (U2) and Fisherman’s Blues (Waterboys) and others will ever be attached to a memory of a warm summer evening in my childhood bedroom.

The summer of 2003 (was it really so long ago?) will be remembered for four Springsteen concerts. London was highlighted by Racing in the Streets, Dublin by finally getting to hear Jungleland live and the Giants Stadium Show 9 was a surprising Pretty Famingo and Emmylou on Across the Border. And Show 10, well take your pick…the intensity of Lost in the Flood, an almost-too-much-fun Kitty’s Back, a gloriously psalmic My City of Ruins, or a perfect, summer-ending Jersey Girl. You know what, it could have been yesterday.

iTunes is great, and I love my ipod, and will continue to burn playlists for friends. But you can’t beat live music.

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