For me, it is as easy as turning on an old record or listening to an old song.
Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song, you go ahead, let your hair down ~ Corinne Bailey Rae
Play me Spanish Eddie from Laura Branigan and I am immediately transported to my very first garage party in Delmas way back in 1986… Or I just died in your arms tonight from the Cutting Crew. As easy as that. Easier than pie. In an instant in am back on a dance floor that was cleared of the ancient Chevy that very afternoon, prettied up with streamers and tables clothes made out of crinkle paper, that will leave the most God-awful stains tomorrow. Dressed in an oversized shirt rescued from my dad’s closet (a pink shirt that he was never gonna wear), trying to dance ‘lang-arm‘. After I spent the whole afternoon cutting these triangles from the sides of the pink shirt and fixing the seams again. And don’t forget the curlers… I have straight hair and it would take hours in curlers to get a semblance of curls (and lots of firm hold hair spray to make it last all night). And it was the 80s, so BIG hair was all the rage…
Or Perfect from Fairground Attraction to take me back to the morning of my matric Biology exam and dancing (and singing loudly) in my best friend’s own pad…a caravan on her parents property. Wow! Reciting the facts of the reproductive cycle and photosynthesis while getting ready for school while crooning about half-hearted love affairs and how it’s got to be-ee-eee perfect and how it’s got to be-ee-eee worth it…:-)
But even going back long before that I can be transported back to long road trips (probably to go visit the Transvaal family) and listening to Queen of Hearts from Juice Newton and the Pussycats. I found an LP online two years ago (yeah, I have a LP player that I actually use….), which I got as a birthday present when I turned 11. It was called Pop Shop Spectacular and it is fantastic. Real cheesy with songs like Man on the Moon and Tequila Sheila but it works like a bomb! I can remember sitting in the lounge of our house-next-to-the-railway-tracks in Bloemfontein and listening to that LP over and over again, sighing about the sad story of the poor young shepherd boy Angelo, who met a young girl and he loved her so. Or cracking myself up about Oh Lord it’s Hard to be humble.
Maybe I will travel back in time to my first school tour (other than Veldskool) to Umdloti. When there was still nothing at Umdloti, other than a hostel type place where they did school tours. Not the Umdloti of today with rows and rows of holiday homes. The song that will do that trick is Footloose. In a flash I am a 13-year old joining in with the rest, pleading with the teachers to allow us to have a dance party, with an ocean view. We danced until our feet were too sore to walk the next day (an often-to-be-repeated memory). Visiting the Shark institute, some rotating restaurant on the top of a building in Durbs, and of course all the Voortrekker monuments on our way back to Pretoria, like the site of ‘die slag van Bloedrivier’.
Or I will listen to Hot Chocolate singing You sexy thing and I will be back in the scarcely furnished living room of my first house (actually it was a duplex), in Roodepoort, dancing around with my brand new (out-of-the-box-new) tiny little baby in my arms. Crooning to her about how I believe in miracles since she came along. Where did you come from, baby? She was sooooo tiny that she didn’t even fit into 0-3 months’ clothes until she was two months old and I was in love. I could stare at her all day long. Unfortunately that tiny face was often contorted in a screaming fit(!), but even that was okay, because soon she would be peaceful again. Now she is 14 years old and the baby memory treasured in a song.
Some songs will take me back to moments that were very happy then, but now have a sad association to it, because of the way things turned out. Like A whole new world, which was the ‘walking-in’ song at my wedding reception. But I looked and felt gorgeous and could imagine I was a princess being whisked off by my prince on a magical carpet, and it will still make me smile. Or singing Islands in the Stream in duet on the way from Swakopmund to Windhoek with an ex. I didn’t know all the lyrics so the next week I had a parcel delivered at work with the lyrics typed out, and the song recorded on a CD over and over again.
The beauty of the internet and iPads and all these tools are that now, when I do walk into the local mall and all of the sudden a song plays on the stereo system that has the ability to transport me back to a special place, I can instantly whip out the iPad, look it up and download it. It is like being able to record time travel points in blink of an eye. Take that, Dr Emmett Brown!
(Un)fortunately, this time travelling only works for trips into the past. But I do think that I get a glimpse of the future somedays, with some of the latest music on the market. And at this point in time, I have a lot of hope for humanity with Gangnam Style. The video has been watched over 392 million times on YouTube (per Wikipedia as at 6 Oct 2012). It’s quirky and weird, and the dance is really cheesy, but people are doing it all over the world. And you cannot do this without laughing at yourself. And a nation that can laugh at itself is a nation that I could relate to! So, here’s a new motto to live by…
The mindset of this dance is to dress classy and dance cheesy ~ PSY
To laughter, happiness, off-tune singing and cheesy dancing!! And time travelling!