Music loud enough to soften butter


When you live in a city surrounded small abode, cranked up music doesn’t seem to happen quite enough for my liking. I’m a considerate neighbour and as much as I might enjoy listening to Paul Dempsey on endless repeat. I’m not sure my neighbours do.

And so I’m selective on when the volume reaches double digits. Not so selective in the car however. The car and I don’t quite often don’t meet for weeks on end, so when we do, I like to celebrate that reunion with a chorus of loud singing and music loud enough to soften butter, (I’m sure this could be a thing.)

What’s wonderful about this scenario is that the three small people in the back, well they are well and truly behind that cranking up of tunes, (due to music being in their DNA you see.)

Song requests, loud family singing, air guitar solos, drum beats, seat dancing and lip syncing are all soul filling, de-stressing regulars for the car. It’s pretty amazing to see how a single well-chosen song can completely change round cranky arguments, bad moods and distract from a seemingly endless long car journey.

While the tape deck in our family car from my childhood didn’t quite have the same speaker range, I am thankful to my parents for giving me a well rounded eclectic background in great music. From INXS, Midnight Oil to Pavarotti. Lou Reed, The Sex Pistols, Edith Piaf and Vivaldi, music always played a big part.


Pip recently wrote about associating food and memories together, and while I certainly do this a lot, it’s music that I also associate with great chunks of time passed.

* Laying on the childhood couch, learning all the words to Crowded House’s albums.

* UB40 backpacking in India with my family as a kid.

* Beastie Boys and Violent Femmes teenage parties on empty cold beaches.

* Jeff Buckley’s soulful tunes sitting snugly inside, and it gently snows outside in Germany.

* Odd goth flatmates that introduce me to Marilyn Manson, (whether I liked it or not.)

* Friendly neighbours that exposed me to the soft Frenchy tunes of Air.

* Less friendly neighbours exposed me to the Numa Numa song and frequently at 3am. (Never the less it still remains a musical chunk of time as this continued for at least six months.)

Byron Bay road trips will always be attached to Midlake and Empire of the Sun was my first year of becoming a parent. I could go on and with specific songs or whole albums representing a tiny snapshot of my life.

So will my kids have the same sort of memories? Will they remember the loud family singing, the lip synching and intense seated dance moves on our car trips?…who knows. What I do know is, music is important to them. I know the excitement factor triples whenever a song gets cranked up, and I know when I see those happy faces singing their hearts out? Well this is a wonderful chunk of time, that I’m going to remember for a long period from now.


How about you? Are there any musical chunks in your time line? Do you play loud music in the car, and what are you listening to at the moment?

It’s fiddle time

You know its been a really long time when this sight greats you.

I used to play the violin when I was a kid. I was never particularly good, but I did diligently practise regularly and slowly went through a lot of sheet music. Then we moved away and there was no violin teachers to be had….Phew. My mum would ask me each year we renewed my semesters tuition fees did I still want to continue with the lessons? Yes, of course, I would always answer. Not because I loved it, but because I thought that was the answer she wanted to hear. So year after year I continue to saw away with my violin making dogs run for cover and male cats slink in a little closer as they thought a local female was on heat.

This was the special way I played my music.

Each minute I had to practise as a kid was a drawn out affair. Each minute felt like an hour. With a canny eye on the clock I could miraculously make a whole 5 minutes disappear. Yes, mum OF course that’s been half an hour practise…

Fast forward 20 years and suddenly I want to play again. Well I guess it’s not so sudden. It crept up on me. My thought wonderings would take me to my cast aside violin. The case collecting dust and two decades worth of unplayed music sitting in the corner.

So I got the old girl fixed up, a little violin servicing, and asked the violin maker if he knew of any teachers in the area. I’ll give you a lesson…really? Lets hear you play first…cue screeching cat noise- birds outside fly into telegraph poles distracted at the noise. Small children on the street stop their play, turning their frightened faces towards the house where THAT noise is coming from. Old people adjust their hearing aids, to stop the whining noise.

That’s right people, I’ve taken it up again. Neighbours have been warned. Each practise session I want to try and FIND an extra minute rather then shortening the practise time like before. The Monkeys have no interest in me doing it what so ever, and go back to tying each up and pulling apart the book case. Just one more minute boys, I’ll get dinner really soon…promise.

Four lessons in, and I’m already dreaming of bluegrass fiddle tunes, and emotive gypsy serenades.

First, I just need a little practise time finding F# again…