Look back number 10, a decade’s worth of reflection – which makes it sound far grander than it is. I’m as rapacious and I think catholic in my listening as ever, perhaps more so. My habit seems to be focused on intense bouts of listening to certain artists, periods which might last anywhere between a month and a year or more; then moving on, the trail gone cold, sometimes to be returned to, sometimes not. Those artists that bear return tend to hover around the top of my listening chart, namely Kraftwerk, Miles, Scott, Kip.
A quick iTunes smart playlist for 2012 turns up remarkably few notable albums. I wonder whether I’ve deleted noteworthy releases, but if they were worthwhile I probably wouldn’t have removed them. I’m forced to conclude that most of the wonderful music I’ve listened to wasn’t released this year. Looking back at 2011, it seems like there were more worthwhile releases. I’m firmly not of the belief that music is on the wane, but I wonder whether as I grow older I’m less interested in the new. Something to keep an eye on.
I might have written some of this before, please excuse any repetition. I’m not even sure why I’ve written it, but Kraftwerk are pretty much the most important musical entity in my life. According to my last.fm page I’ve listened to them a few thousand times more than Miles Davis (2nd most listened-to) and Scott Walker (3rd most).
Kraftwerk provided a bridge between my childhood self and my older and distant father when he brought the Autobahn album home in 1974. I was eight years old. The album is framed on my living room wall now.
I bought a 7″ of The Robots in a picture sleeve in a musical instrument shop in a small town outside Wuppertal in Germany when I was 14. That’s where I fell in love for the first time, with the beautiful sister of my German exchange student. I lost the record some time between then and now.
A year or two later I bought tickets for the Computer World tour at Hammersmith Odeon and saw them in funny (in hindsight) New Romantic clothes made by my mum. I don’t recall any problem obtaining tickets.
I saw them twice more, in Brixton and Holland. At the latter concert I danced my heart out and Henning signed cards I took home to my kids.
My daughter sang Neon Lights to me unaccompanied for her Brownie performance proficiency badge (I was a very proud dad).
I went with my now ex-partner and our kids to see the group in Manchester when the UK cycling team did those laps while they played Tour de France. My children said it was the best night of their lives, they’re still young, but it was lovely to hear them say that.
Mum died last year and my dad’s very ill in hospital now. I wanted to see Autobahn with my kids in some undefined way to do with that so I got up early and made sure I was dialling just before 7.30, my son tried with his phone too then he had to go off to school and I had to get to work. I tried on and off throughout the day both on the web, using my mobile and my landline. No luck.
I’m not bitter, just a bit disappointed. Kraftwerk have given me too much pleasure, company and food for thought to resent my lack of luck today. All of you who managed to get tickets – I trust you to have a great time!
(Given the above, it makes me smile when lazy journalists refer to how cold and unemotional the group is.)