Thursday, July 31, 2008

Singing In My Sleep

Many of my friends think of me as the world’s most fabulous DJ. Of course, these are mostly middle-aged lesbians, so frame of reference, please. Recently, I mentioned to Viv that I made my first mix tape when I was like 15 or 16 and had bought my first Radio Shack portable cassette/FM. I’d record off the radio. Once in a while, I’d accidentally catch a little radio DJ talk on the end of a song. Still, these were the most fabulous tapes. In my mind. One started out with “Scarborough Fair” and segued into “Play That Funky Music White Boy.” Did I know how to set a mood, or what? Those six tapes I made back in the mid-70s were with me for many, many years. I seemed to pull them out when I needed to feel good and remember a simpler time.

Music is almost always tied to memory for me. When I hear the Bee Gees “1941 Mining Disaster” I think of the last time my parents took us somewhere before their divorce. When I think of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” I think of cruising with Darlys and Darren in Darren’s red Vega. When I think of Ray Price’s “For the Good Times,” I think of hanging out in the kitchen of the restaurant my mom worked at on weekend nights when my dad wouldn’t or couldn’t watch us. They had the best jukebox. When I heard The Knack’s “Good Girls Don’t, But I Do” I thought of…well, that I did by then.

I’ve put a lot of years under my belt now and it’s becoming difficult to listen to many songs without having to take a trip down memory lane. No music is safe, except perhaps my growing collection of hip hop (I know, but hey, some of it’s pretty good). But, I’ve loved and been loved and cared for by some pretty spectacular women, so I figure…yeah, it’s good to be reminded.Life went on and there I was, in my 30s, maintaining an email/phone relationship with someone I wanted to meet badly. We’d send each other mix tapes trying to outdo each other. In the lyrics, I began to see that she felt the same way. We called it smarming each other. Music was an integral part of the relationship, but more importantly, the songs themselves were tied inextricably to the feelings associated with her. The song that transport me are Aretha Franklin’s, “Until You Come Back to Me,” and Blondie’s, “Night Wind Sent.”

Over the years, I made mix CDs for various important women in my life. Songs that I knew they’d like or to describe how I feel. I don’t talk much if I don’t know you well, so I need these crutches. When I’d hear those songs later, I would invariably be transported back to the time when I felt the way I felt the first time I heard the song and invariably, the woman.

Enjoy this…if you've ever made or received a mix tape, you will get what I mean.


Anonymous said...

Lori, what a wonderful story.. and a great trip through (my own) memory lane...
I totally agree with you.. Music helps me say the words I'm unable to speak. It also helps me feel those feelings I didn't allow myself to feel, and especially.. helps me to feel a bit better again..

The thought of someone going through the 'trouble' of finding out what music you like, of mixing a tape especially for you is really.. heartwarming...

Anonymous said...

Hey Lori,
That was one has ever thought to make a mixed tape for me although I have made a couple for other people...I wonder why? Also people are always telling me how hard I am to buy for, I never find buying a gift for someone hard, I guess they just don't listen as well. You must be the best "girlfriend" ever.

Mo and The Purries said...

Hip Hop, really? The one form of music I just have never been able to get into.
I know what you mean about mix tapes - I had to throw out some good CDs when I went through the "divorce" because I knew that since the X made them I'd never be able to listen to them again.
Great post!