What music to do you listen to?
This question makes me alternatively blushand fidget nervously. It’s a loaded question. Answering it is like playingRussian roulette. Your answer will be the foundation of a character assessmentthat you will never live down.
It’s akin to the Bible story about building yourhouse of rock (good) or sand (bad). Maybe it’s better explained as rock (good)and Justin Bieber (bad).
I fear this question like no other, becausemy music taste is questionable. I have to be honest about it. It’s not like Ilisten to Tiffany or Belinda Carlisle. That shows my age. I don’t listen toBritney, Justin or woman who wear raw meat. Yes, I can be just as judgemental.Music is very polarising. It’s why the question Beatles or Elvis can easilydistinguish one mindset from another.
I am a child of 80s glam rock. Big hair,tight pants and emaciated bodies. Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi and Aerosmith. Igrew up with Dylan, Joan Baez, Uriah Heap and the Grateful Dead. My first CDwas Poison. I rocked to Alice Cooper, Metallica and Suicidal Tendencies. Iteenage angsted to Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Sinead o’Connor and Nirvana. Ihad a wardrobe of band t-shirts – Sisters of Mercy, the Cult, Judas Priest,Motorhead, Sex Pistols, Nine Inch Nails and of course, The Doors.
These days I can’t answer the question soeasily. I don’t listen to any particular genre. The one common thread throughall the music I listen to is honesty. I like music that conveys an intimacy, anemotion and a connection to the musician. I don’t like bad cover versions orpop princess music written by a team of aging white men.
I listen to Eminem, because of the rawhonesty of his work. He brutally lays out all the minutiae of his life, hisloves and his challenges. He makes no excuses.
Now Ms Spears has a huge amountof experience to draw from – the breakdown, the divorces, the haircuts. Yet,she persists in singing about utter drivel.
I listen to Joan Baez, because her work hadno fancy production, her voice and her guitar were all she needed to make alistener weep. I listen to Cowboy Junkies because the intimacy and power ofthis family come through each song. I listen to Leonard Cohen because he neversings the same song the same way. I listen to Dylan, despite the harmonica, becausehis prose could start a revolution.
My ancestors, in between paintingthemselves blue and running amok, had bards. These men were given the task ofrecording the battles and deeds of the clan in song. The ones that havesurvived are eloquent, heartrending accounts of the horror of war, the betrayalof trusted friends and the fight to own the land they called home.
In honour of Heritage Day I played Scottishsongs on the school run. The Battle of Glencoe never fails to make my blood runcold. Three small children sat spellbound throughout.
When we got to theScottish Soldier we belted out the refrain. Of course, I ended up promising I’dtake them to the land of the kilt.
There is something humbling and empoweringabout standing under the statue of Robert the Bruce and knowing that hisfearsome warrior blood runs within my veins too. No wonder I am such a stubbornwomen.
Then again, it is the only time I’ve had someone refuse to sell mesomething because of my name. I was in William Wallace country and bloody MelGibson had made sure I couldn’t buy a single bloody thing.
History moves slower in some places than inothers. In the highlands, battles that took place hundreds of years ago are stillrelived today. Not the sort of American Civil War re-enactments whereaccountants and history buffs get all dressed up. I hooted with laughterbecause the English Heritage lot put a Campbell in charge of the museum atGlencoe. The McDonalds were up in arms and livid with rage, how could they putsuch a murderer in charge? It was a particularly bad decision on behalf of theEnglish. I felt sorry for the poor curator.
The thing is, when you stand on the edge ofa loch, with the mist creeping over the heather you can hear the echo’s of thepipers from centuries past and feel the feral wildness of the land. It is easyto believe the tales of fairy mounds and magic, to imagine Hamlet’s witches.
TheScots are in general a genial lot, but there is one sure fire way to get a Scotto let loose that famous temper. Call him an Englishman.