October 26, 2014

Darwin was right

It's no secret our musical preferences are forged in our teen years. The youthful mind is a hungry gorging beast, like a sponge or that giant sand vagina with teeth in Return of The Jedi.

When I was about 13 I was bored with what I was hearing on the radio. I grew up in a time when Top 40 radio was on the AM dial. I hated it all. I didn't relate to Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar or Madonna.  Then I discovered FM accidentally when I tuned in to Toronto's CHUM FM to listen to Theatre Of The Mind late Sunday nights. Musically I'd hear deeper album cuts from bands like The Police and The Boomtown Rats.

It wasn't long after that I discovered the station that changed everything for me. It's branded today as  102.1 The Edge, but then it was the one and only CFNY The Spirit of Radio.  From top to bottom it was free-form radio at it's finest. DJ's would often pick their own music, and once or twice I even remember "The Live Earl Jive" pulling the needle off a record mid-song because he simply didn't want to hear it anymore. Think that would happen today?

I was exposed to punk, new wave and innovative electronica that heavily influenced the alt rock bands of today. Of course there was New Order, The Smiths, The Cure and Depeche Mode, but there was also a lot of obscure artists who wouldn't get airplay anywhere else, because other than a few college stations, it was considered too weird for mainstream radio.  Love and Rockets, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Cocteau Twins were just so completely different, and I loved it all. CFNY would also spin tunes from Canadian bands who wouldn't get a lot of exposure otherwise like Skinny Puppy, National Velvet and Blue Peter. And, I must admit it's easy to throw on the rose coloured glasses, but in reality some of the music I heard wasn't really to my liking. At the end of the day, it's an artform and up to interpretation.

I know I run the risk of sounding like a cranky old bastard stuck in another musical era, but that wouldn't be accurate. See, I believe in evolution in all its forms.  Today, I embrace new music and listen to bands like Bloc Party, Muse, James, Mother Mother and many others.

Much like Jones The Cat, I too want to end up with only
a couple of teeth in my head.
The point is, for me it's important to never stop growing. This applies to everything that comes along with life, good and bad. Roll with the punches. Adapt or die. Instead of fighting change, choose to change because time will march on anyway.

As Moby so brilliantly said, we are all made of stars, literally. Everything that's happened before this moment has all lead up to what you are this very second. And if it's worked for life on this planet for a few billion years, how can we possibly think otherwise?


  1. On the subject of music, I'm one of those young'ns that's helping to fuel the current "vinyl boom". I commute a lot, so I find the radio playlists increasingly tiresome/repetitive.. and I have an absolute fuck-ton of music in digital format, but I somehow never find the time to update the playlists on my iphone, so I'm stuck with the same old music there as well (admittedly, my own fault).

    What's interesting to me is that vinyl can be expensive, cumbersome to store, and it's often tricky to find what you want -- but I'm listening to more music than ever, and increasingly eclectic stuff. I inherited a bunch of classic rock from my parents, bought a lot of releases from new artists, but "crate-digging" has become a fun thing to do on occasion.. I've found a lot of great blues, new wave, bossa nova, etc.

    I'm digging the tactile experience, the artwork and the ritual of it -- after a long week of commuting I look forward to coming home on a friday night, grabbing a good bottle of wine and spinning records on the turntable. And I like the idea of having a collection of sorts to pass onto my son one day, if he doesn't have an ipod implanted into his earlobe by then.

    So, yeah.. sometimes you have to move backwards to go forwards, which is strange, but oddly similar to what you're suggesting.

  2. Am I a hipster? Does this make me a hipster?