Music and the memories it carries

I’m the type of person to associate places and situations with music. It used to come in very handy when mixing an audio montage at a radio station and for my time at a football club for their highlights. At the end of a match, we’d use clips and set it to an ‘appropriate’ piece of music.

These days, I find myself setting my life to music. I have far too many to put down in one post… and I’m sure you’d be bored to death after 5 but I find it fascinating the way things become associated and how we replay them.

On my first trip to Dublin, (working on the Quarter Final Heineken Cup coverage of Leinster v Cardiff) thanks to a small snippet of a track, I find myself put right back there when I hear Titanium by David Guetta. If I close my eyes, I see my first glimpse of the Aviva Stadium, flashes of the setup of our kit, into rehearsals and then the game. It’s almost like having my own internal Director, complete with appropriate camera cuts and pans.

One of the oldest (working) ‘musical memories’ I have is from BBC Radio Leeds back in 2003. I was a Digital Audio Trainer at the time and the song was ‘These Dreams’ by Heart. It was one of the tracks that I always had in my playlist and it brings back some wonderful memories of my time on the road, but in particular of Leeds.

I can understand why those two memories exist. The tracks were played when in that place (multiple times no doubt), but, as I’m sitting in my hotel room ahead of the Semi-Finals, I find Florence and the Machine’s Shake it Out reminding me of driving to my new office from my flat in St Neots. It wasn’t the first track I heard when I did that drive… just seems to have stuck with me and I’ve no idea why.

I think my best and oldest memory from music is from when I was about 6. I would spend the evenings with my dad, helping him in the kitchen with the beer he was brewing, the front door wide open and Abba on the stereo.

With this particular memory, it doesn’t require one track. I think we must have had their compilations CD on loop for the entire evening. It’s a fantastic jumble of memories, most of which were full of laughter and fun. The evenings that were slightly less funny tended to mean a misjudgement on the bottling of the beer, resulting in smashed bottles and a soaked carpet. My dad became very good at mopping up but not so good at hiding it from my mum.

I do wonder what track this weekend will end up being set to, but I’ve a sneaky feeling that Titanium will cover this one too. The weekends have been so close together that I’d be surprised if I had a new track.

Having said that, the pub I visited this evening played 80’s power ballads for most of the evening… you never know…

End of season – finding my team of the year with a difference

As we approach the end of the Football season, other than who’s going up/down and who’s had the luckiest escape of the year, one of the big talking points is the player and manager of the year.

The likes of Aguero, Van Persie and Parker find themselves nominated for the PFA Player of the Year and as for thoughts on the Manager of the season, well, I think it’s unlikely to be ‘King Kenny’.

Rather than joining the millions of other people already debating this, I’ve found myself wondering about the season’s ‘Media Team Of The Year’. By this I mean the commentary team and anchor(s) that have most impressed this year. Either through sheer brilliance, knowledge or ability to convey what is happening/happened while giving us, the viewer/listener the best service.

While those on TV get to debate who their ‘Football Team Of The Year’ is, why shouldn’t we pick our own dreamteam to take us through a match. From the pre-match banter, to those at the ground taking us through the tackles, dives and goals, through to the post match analysis.

I think I need more time to publish my own ‘team’ but any suggestions are more than welcome for either Radio or TV. Obviously as this is a dreamteam, there’s no need to worry about the politics of which channel they’re working for.

A lot to think about

I’ve completed the third week in my new job and I am really enjoying it so far. I can see the following months will be busy and fast paced, but I confess, I’m really looking forward to it.

I spent three days in Stockholm in my second week to meet my new colleagues and the staff of the Sweden office. I have to admit it was more than a bit nerve racking. I have never flown anywhere on my own before and also never driven to Heathrow! I was more concerned about the drive to the airport than anything else! My alarm went off at 3am and I was on the road by 3.45.

The drive was pretty good and I arrived at 5.15 with plenty of time to drive around the car park trying to find somewhere free. Once I’d transferred to the terminal I was quickly through security (I love online check-in!) and sat awaiting my gate allocation. This was the point where the tiredness hit me. I’d managed only a few hours sleep as I listened to Cheltenham’s game the night before and now I was regretting it.

Once onboard the flight, I fell asleep pretty quickly. Waking to the sounds of breakfast arriving and then dropping off again for an hour before we landed at Arlanda.

The following days were filled with new people, new software, new languages (both computer based and of course Swedish) and new ways of working. I think my brain’s just about recovered!

At the moment, I’m feeling very frustrated as I want to be able to help, but I’m not really able to. My knowledge is probably approaching basic, but as a perfectionist I have to reign myself in.

I also have a new car, which has been a fantastic purchase. A lovely 2.0l Mazda 6 which feels like a tank after driving around in a 1.7l Ford Puma for the last 8 years! It’s brilliant on the fuel consumption and the space is amazing. I’m confident I can fit all my fishing kit (and probably my dad’s!) in it, which is great heading into the summer.

The other advantage to the car is that I can fit my bicycle in it. I’m taking part in the Cotswolds bike ride for the British Heart Foundation in May (, so need a way of getting the bike back there! When I say I’m taking part in the bike ride, I mean I’m riding as much of the 40 miles as I can and hopeful of finishing it… if I’m lucky!

To add to the new job stress, I’m moving house in 9 weeks and I don’t know the location of my new home yet. I have two options. I would, of course, love to be back in Gloucestershire and I do have somewhere lined up near Cheltenham, but I have to be sensible about this. If I was to move within biking distance of my office, I could begin to save more money to pay off my new car and keep my debt levels at a minimum. Being close to the office would only be for year or so (unless circumstances change) and I think it would make things look a lot better when I do move back.

The thing striking me at the moment is my feelings about moving. It’s hitting me pretty hard. I always look forward, but there’s one person I would love to tell all about this and he’s not here. I know he’d be pleased about everything I’ve achieved, and he’d be thrilled to know I’m not commuting in and out of London any more. He’d also be happy to know that I was finally moving away from the East.

To be fair, at the moment, he’d be telling me to pull myself together, stop worrying so much and that I should be going fishing more! It’s been four years since I stopped match fishing, but I promise Richard, this summer, I will be going back.