Tuesday, 9 July 2013

OMG its OMD, and my discovery of musical diversity through Blondie

Handsome Man, knowing Once an 80's girl, Always an 80's girl, surprised me a while back with tix to see Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD ) at Danforth Music Hall next week. 

I am so excited! But be forewarned, its made me nostalgic!

My parents were children of the 1920s and 30s, Jazz was their Pop music. While I was growing up, Dad was always humming or whistling some Duke Ellington tune or quoting Lady Day, and Mom was always tapping her toes to something on the radio.I'm the youngest of 9 children, and my brothers and sisters are much older than I am. They came of age in the late 50s and 60s, so their music, Beatles, Stones, Cars, Yes permeated my infancy and childhood. The 80s is when I discovered music that was mine. With the foundation of my parents and siblings music I was able to be open to anything and everything musically, and discovered myself as well as my musical taste in that much-maligned decade.

I was fortunate in that the first album I ever bought, at the age of 9 in 1978 was, unbeknownst to me, a primer in all genres of pop music. I composed and delivered a speech to my father as to WHY I should be given the money to buy it, my logical, slightly anal retentive side assisting my creative side. Dad caved, I was his baby, he always caved, which is why I had gone to him instead of Mum. He handed me a crisp bill which I promptly balled up and stuffed into my pocket, jumped on my skateboard and headed out to Woolco. I felt so grown up as I searched, found and paid for my new LP. I carried my skateboard home, afraid if I rode it I might hit a rock and my prize possession would be destroyed.
I was never a popular kid, but I did have 2 close friends. We called ourselves the 3 stooges, because we really did feel that we were outcasts. It didn't bother us,we really didn't want to be in the other groups and we had each other. On the way home I banged on the other 2 stooges doors and together we snuck into my house and up to my brother Artie's room. Artie was 19, my only sibling living at home, and he was COOL. He had an awesome stereo, 8 track and all, and built his own speakers. But Artie would NEVER let the 3 stooges touch his stereo, let alone his turn table. So we snuck in, made sure he wasn't home and gently, lovingly set the needle onto the album.

Blondie- Parallel Lines

 I stared at the jacket for a long time (I think that's where I developed my love of shoes, Deborah Harry sports several cool pairs on different parts of the album jacket and liner) and together The 3 Stooges unknowingly discovered rock, disco, synth, raggae  (Arsenals Ska Rule!) punk, and music that was entirely our own. It opened us up to the tidal wave that was to be the 80s, and allowed us to explore rather than be pigeon-holed into a particular group. As we hit our teens, everyone we knew divided into cliques who had their own separate music and separate wardrobes, almost like uniforms. There were the Mods, the Rockers, the Punks, the Valley Girls, the Ginos, on and on. But OUR foundation formed by Blondie allowed us to enjoy Pet Shop Boys & Hall and Oates, Bon Jovi & Paul Simon, Prince & The Clash, and of course OMD. This Jazz Brat has a bit of a rocker chic hiding inside her as well, so Heart, ACDC, and Van Halen sat side by side with Soft Cell, Salt N Peppa and Human League. My LPs ran the gamut and I thrived in the eclectic escape they provided.

Upon getting to know me, I have had several people tell me I am one of the most open and accepting people they know. I know a large part of that is due to the challenges my children face and battles I have had to fight on their behalf, but I do know that it is also an innate part of me. I truly believe the seeds of that particular part of myself, a part of me that I am proud of, were formed through the musical diversity I was raised with, and the discovery of my own musically diverse tastes thanks to Blondie.

I tag along as my boys listen to Psy , LMFAO and others and at times get right into it with them. But what thrills me more is that they have musical building blocks from me (Jazz, Rock, 80s, Classical) and they are now forming their own diverse tastes. They don't shun an artist because the genre doesn't match their clothing style, they listen to all types, talk about it with their friends, but form their own decisions based on what they LIKE. Music is an important part of my home, and I've found it filters out to all other aspects of life.

So I raise a toast to you, all of you out there, who like what you like, and whom you like, not because they fit into a neat and tidy box, but just because you LIKE them.

Here's a parting video for you as you 'LEAVE'. One of my fave OMD hits. It has nothing to do with the moral of the story, but I love it!

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