It’s time for a brand new series of posts, and they’re all about music and nostalgia (don’t worry, they won’t be completely centred around Taylor Swift, either). I’ve been inspired by a fellow writer within the creative community to create this post, and that’s the fantastic Dom G. Dom is a published poet who writes some amazing pieces on mental health and life experience, and he regularly shares his work on Instagram (he’s @lyrical_lifebydg if you want to give them a read). He writes with such passion and his poems are often incredibly relatable, especially when it comes to mental health. Dom also hosts the Lyrical Life Disorganised Waffle podcast, where he chats to fellow members of the creative community. Each episode feels like sitting down for a cup of tea with a friend, and it’s led me to discover even more amazing people within the community. There’s plenty of music in each episode too, and as a result I’ve discovered some fantastic songs that I probably would never have come across otherwise. It was Dom’s recent “Sounds of Me” episode – where he shared songs and stories from different times throughout his life – that has inspired this new blog series, because it got me thinking about all of the music I’ve grown up with, and how my favourite genres have evolved over the years.
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog lately, you’ll know I’ve been suffering with some major writers’ block and have been MIA from the scene for a while, so this podcast episode was just what I needed to get me back into things. Originally, I had intended it to be just one stand alone post, but the more I got into things, the post just got progressively longer until I had multiple pages on what was going to be the first “section.” So, you’ve got a whole bunch of these coming your way. The posts may have a similar feel to my Teenage Mixtape post from a few years back, but I’m going to go into more detail and hopefully share a few more amusing anecdotes alongside (well, I hope you’ll find them amusing – at the very least you can have a good old laugh about what a strange child I was). At the end of the series, I’ll pop together a Spotify playlist of what is surely going to be an absolute batshit crazy selection of songs, so you’ll also have that to look forward to.
So, I guess it’s time to crack on. Before I do though, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Dom G for giving me the inspiration behind this post, and for giving me permission to use his idea. Please do go and check out his work on IG, and also be sure to give his podcast a listen!
In terms of early memories, as I’m sure it’s the case for many, Disney songs were probably the earliest genre of music I got into. Purely, because as a child, you don’t really have an interest in anything else. I don’t ever remember going “Oooh Mummy, can we listen to a bit of David Bowie?” No, literally, as a child, the earliest types of music you’re subjected to fall into two to three categories –
- Nursery rhymes
- Disney songs
- Hymns (if like me, you went to a C of E school – From the Tiny Ant was an absolute banger)
Side note, on the subject of hymns, I remember going to my first ever school disco thinking that the music would literally just be our headteacher with his guitar playing the hymns we sang in assembly. I still lie awake thinking of it.
Anyway, hymns aside, I’ve mentioned numerous times that The Little Mermaid was my favourite film growing up, and if I’m completely honest with myself, it still is. So, for that reason I knew all of the songs word for word, especially when it came to Part of Your World. As an adult, my favourite song from the film is Under the Sea, because it’s so colourful and upbeat, but I remember when I was a kid, it was all about Part of Your World – because it was “Ariel’s song.” I was OBSESSED with Ariel to the point where I wanted to be her. In my early childhood, it was never available to buy because back in those days, Disney films seemed to disappear after a while. Thankfully, our local video shop had a copy, so my Saturday night treat was to go in and rent it. I lost count of the amount of times I rented it, and on the rare occasion it wasn’t there, I would be heartbroken. What a bellend.
Then, in 1997, The Little Mermaid was re-released in cinemas. It was my first ever trip to the cinema and it was fucking MAGICAL. Along with that, they brought out the soundtrack again, with a brand new version of Kiss the Girl by Peter Andre. I remember buying the cassette tape with my pocket money and thought I was the coolest kid ever. I remember on one side, you had Kiss the Girl (people slag it off but tbh, I actually quite like his version), and the other, the goddamn classic that was Mysterious Girl. What a tune.
On the same subject of Disney songs, we’ve also got Pocahontas. These days, it’s certainly not my favourite Disney film, but for whatever reason I took a real shine to it back when I was little. So much so that my fourth birthday party was Pocahontas themed. I remember the themed tablecloth, the cake, the banners, the cups, the plates, the napkins, the soundtrack playing in the background, and getting the Pocahontas doll as one of my main presents.
I don’t need to tell you that to this day, Disney songs still make up a vast portion of my Spotify library, and one of which that I play quite frequently is I Won’t Say I’m In Love from Hercules. Another film that I became obsessed with – NGL, I had a crush on Hercules himself. Don’t ask. I have a whole mental list of animated characters that I had crushes on. Anyway, at the same time, I was obsessed with Meg, and those who know the film will know that this was her song. It’s a goddamn BANGER and you can’t help singing both her parts and the Muses’ parts.
My First Taste of Cheese
It’s weird – I say cheese, but actually, at the time, I suppose these artists weren’t really cheese. Or were they? Was I just a naive little shit? Anyway, it’s ironic that I absolutely hate cheese (the actual food), but it’s probably one of my favourite music genres.
My earliest actual music memories go back to The Spice Girls. It was the first musical act I remember being obsessed with – and I was about five years old. I remember getting their first album and a whole bunch of merch for my birthday – including a huge poster, an annual, and a Baby Spice doll. Baby Spice wasn’t even my favourite – I personally wanted to be Scary Spice – but the Baby Spice doll had the coolest outfit. She had purple glittery boots and that was literally all I gave a shit about. Song wise, at the time, I don’t think I really had a favourite (probably because they were all bangers – AM I RIGHT?), but if I had to choose one now I’d probably go with Who Do You Think You Are because it just feels like a proper party banger – I mean most of their songs were, but this one feels that way even more so.
So, we make our way into what was the main portion of my childhood. Steps. Oh, Steps. H legit was my first love. Honestly. My bedroom was full of posters of him. I’m not entirely sure what it was that started my obsession with Steps, but I remember crying when I heard about their split. I remember I binge watched their 2000 Wembley tour on VHS and just loved how close they were and how much they loved each other and how they were such amazing live performers. LOL. It wasn’t until years later, in 2012 when they did their reunion documentary, that I discovered that they had major beef with one another and they mimed pretty much every live performance they did. I remember watching their End of the Road show (which, as a Christmas treat, my Mum paid for me to watch on Pay-per-View) and being really confused as to why they were all crying. Cut to 2012 when, in this documentary they said that about an hour before they went on stage, H and Claire revealed they were leaving the band. Of course, now, they’re back together, having sorted out their beef, and Mama J and I went to see them in Bournemouth a couple of years ago. It was AMAZING (and they performed live rather than miming), but even now, when I look back on their old music videos and the memories of performing their dances with my friend in the living room and forcing our mums to watch our “shows,” they feel sort of bittersweet knowing that they pretty much hated each other when these songs were released.
In terms of songs, there were so many Steps bangers that it was hard to narrow them down. If we’re talking childhood memories, it has to be It’s the Way You Make Me Feel and Chain Reaction – I remember EVERYONE was trying to learn the dance to ITWYMMF at school and the “popular” girls would perform it in the playground, and me and my fellow Steps obsessed friend rehearsed our own version of it. What I am about to tell you will make you cringe so hard, so, just brace yourself. Perhaps go and get a drink. Like wine or something not a fucking glass of squash. It’s bad.
This was the same friend who I used to perform “concerts” with (fucking hell it feels wrong to even call them concerts). We basically rehearsed the dance from the music video to utter perfection, and in our minds, we would be dancing with H and Lee (Lee was her crush, H was mine). It gets worse. Her mum made us dresses. We each had a dress modelled on Claire and Lisa’s from the music video (she was Lisa, I was Claire) – just more appropriate for 7 year olds to be wearing of course. If you can’t quite remember the music video, let me remind you…
It was at this point in time we were going to go on holiday as a four – me, my friend, and our mums – to Devon, where we had planned to ask to perform our dance on the stage during the typical “holiday camp entertainment evening.” I want to die just typing this. Thankfully, that never happened. The furthest we got was wearing our dresses to “the club” on the final night. Had it gone any further, this post would have been an open apology to any poor fucker witnessing that performance. I mean, from my point of view, watching children who are actually talented singing on shows like Britain’s Got Talent make me want to kick my fucking telly in, so I can only imagine being at a British holiday camp where two lesser talented 7 year olds jump up on stage to sing and dance to a song I love…I think I speak for us all when I say – LUCKY ESCAPE.
On a side note, Chain Reaction was one of my favourite Steps songs because I loved the dance routine and the music video – I genuinely could perform the dance routine now because I practiced it so much. At the time, my stubborn little 8 year old self refused to believe that the song was actually a cover (like a vast number of their songs!), so I was convinced it was just the best, most amazing song in the entire world. Because it was such a factor in my childhood, if I have a party for my 30th birthday, I will put it in writing right now that I will perform a karaoke dance routine to this song (let’s just see who out of my loved ones actually reads my blog).
One big part of my childhood was holidays. Usually to Devon, we (usually me, a friend and our mums) would spend a week in places like Dawlish and Woolacombe at a holiday camp where there’d be kids clubs and activities. While me and my friend would be “too cool” for the kids clubs, we’d be there for the evening entertainment like teenage girls at a One Direction concert. It was like crack. I remember the routine like it was yesterday –
- 7.30 to 8.30pm – Bingo (we used to be allowed to play until they got stricter on gambling rules)
- 8.30-9.30pm – Cabaret (whatever entertainment they’d put on for us – memories include “movie night,” “musicals night” and so on).
- 10pm – Party Dances – MY TIME TO SHINE BEBEH. The ents team would gather all the kids to do the “party dances” (essentially what I now realise is an opportunity to tire the kids out while their parents got absolutely shitfaced).
The aim each night would be to stay up for the party dances. For the kids, it was the highlight of every night (to be fair, it probably was for the parents as well). The ents team would lead the kids in a series of dances to some of the most popular party dances – you’d have your classics, like Macarena, Agadoo, Saturday Night, Superman, and (in later stages) Cha Cha Slide, but you’d also have slightly lesser known songs, including the now wildly inappropriate King Karactacus by Rolf Harris…ah, childhood. Out of all those though, the one I remember most profoundly is Tarzan and Jane by Toy-Box. Random AF, but it just takes me right back to those holiday camp nightclubs.
Well, there you go. My childhood in music. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s quite something. Next time, I’ll be sharing the music that shaped my early teenage years, where I was a wonky-toothed little weirdo desperately trying to be “cool” – whatever that meant. Byeeee.
Who Do You Think You Are – The Spice Girls
Colours of the Wind – Pocahontas Soundtrack
Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid Soundtrack
I Won’t Say I’m In Love – Hercules Soundtrack
Kiss the Girl – Peter Andre (The Little Mermaid Soundtrack)
Chain Reaction – Steps
Stomp – Steps
It’s the Way You Make Me Feel – Steps