Musical firsts

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

As we get older, our “first times” in life seem to get fewer.  Unless you are some sort of intrepid explorer who never walks the same path twice, by the time we have hit our mid-30’s, we’ve probably done the vast majority of our “firsts”.  We’re now on the downward curve of the bell-graph and unless we do something completely wild and out-of-the-ordinary, things will stay that way until we kick it at the age of 95.

Recently, I did something for that I never thought I would ever do.  I ordered a vinyl record via a band’s overseas-based online store, had it shipped to a contact in another country and organised from there to have someone bring it back to SA for me.  In fact, I did it twice and one of the records is still waiting patiently in the UK for someone to visit… (hint hint, anyone?).

There are always firsts in music

The easiest way to ensure our lives are full of firsts is through music.  Easy access to massive amounts of it are available through both traditional and digital means and it’s easy to come across new “firsts”.  And I’m not just talking about listening to something different for a first time either – there are many experiences linked to music which open a world of possibilities.  Concerts, new bands or interpretations of old classics, new ways of listening to music – there is always something you can do for the first time.

Thinking of all my musical “firsts” made me quite nostalgic and I thought I’d share two of the more unique stories with you.

My first CD player

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash (4)
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Towards the end of my tenure at Primary School I was gifted my aunt’s old hi-fi for my birthday.  It was a standard 1990’s set, complete with radio tuner, a double tape deck and a flip-lid CD player on the top.  A highlight for me were the large speakers on each side, which provided some wonderful space to display my miniature Zen Garden (another of the pointless 90’s crazes).

It’s pretty hot in Africa, which means in summer you generally have doors and windows open as wide as they will go.  Unfortunately, this means that “inside” is usually covered in things from “outside”. One evening I came back to my bedroom to discover a massive Rain Spider sitting atop the lid of the CD player.  (For those who don’t know what this is, google “South Africa rain spider”…).

What to do…

I tried to hit it with my slipper.  Unfortunately, besides the fact those things move like lightning, my aim was off and I hit the Zen Garden instead, sending a spray of fine white sand all over the hi-fi.  This was a very stressful time for me, which is ironic seeing as Zen Gardens are supposed to help you into a calming, meditative state.  My stress levels increased as I tried desperately to remove the sand that had wedged itself into the “open” button of the CD player, jamming it shut.

Eventually I thumped it with my palm.  There was a grindy-crack sound as the button broke out of the player, resulting in the next few years of our time together requiring the back of a pen to operate the CD deck.  

It was only then that I realised I had no idea what happened to the spider…

My first CD (and then the first CD that I actually wanted)

Roxette - Crash Boom Bang
Don’t judge me…  Roxette was (and still is) awesome

My very first CD came along with the Zen Garden CD player – it was the soundtrack to Disney’s Aladdin.  While it might not have helped my “already not very popular” image, it was – at least for a few months – the only CD I had.  I played it so incessantly that I could probably have recited all the lyrics in the order they were sung on the CD if I had been asked.

Later that year, I got the first CD I actually wanted – Roxette’s “Crash-Boom-Bang”.  Up until that point, I had only ever really listened to classical music and “golden oldies” – the music choice of my parents.  Having received the Roxette album for Christmas, I remember immediately running to my room and hiding it under my pillow for fear of it being confiscated – it did, after all, contain the highly-risque-for-a-twelve-year-old “Sleeping in my Car” (which, now that I’m on the downhill slide to 40, all that “undressing and caressing” in such a cramped space sounds ridiculously uncomfortable).

I recently went through a massive purge of possessions, selling pretty much my entire CD collection which had taken over 20 years to accrue.  I did not have the heart, however, to get rid of Roxette, which still sits on a shelf with a small selection of albums that escaped the cull.

And now that I have “Sleeping in my car” stuck in my head…  Do you have any musical firsts?

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