A Voice From The Past

There are always memes circling on social media. Being wise to the possibility of exposing sensitive information I usually I do not partake. However, I am occasionally intrigued enough to try a more complex one; as was the case with the predictive album, which purported to compare your aspirations as a teenager with your life as an adult. My results revealed something surprising: my good memory does not extend to the meaning of song lyrics.

To complete the meme, you select the first album from your past that comes to mind. This allegedly represents your youthful aspirations. Then you list all the tracks with a comment on how they apply to your life now.

I wasn’t immediately struck with a desire to publish my results, but it seemed a mildly interesting concept. So, I thought it I try it as a break from rewrites on Midnight Memory.

The first album that sprang to mind for me was B-Sides Themselves by Marillion. As I still listen to Marillion I assumed this would be at least slightly appropriate to my life.

As it turned out it only three songs sparked a real connection with who I was:


I enjoy sagas, I enjoy unusual perspectives on things, and I enjoy philosophy. So Beowulf from Grendel’s viewpoint as an attack on human hypocrisy definitely fits my life.

Market Square Heroes

It has been several years since my last salaried job, so I have certainly left the ranks of shuffling people. And I suspect most authors silently ask if anyone is following them.

However, neither of my redundancies turned me into a bitter enemy of capitalism, so this was half-and-half.

Tux On

The mixture of luck and graft is certainly applicable. I am almost certain I would still have a folder of stories instead of a second book published if Misha had not decided Fauxpocalypse might do better with a new general editor. However, I also wouldn’t have been on Fauxpocalypse if I hadn’t already had some stories do well in obscure places.

This song also contains the line that best sums up what I want to leave behind, “Somewhere in a tenement, in a well-thumbed magazine/Someone finds a photograph that triggers off a dream…” There are many books that have inspired me or made me see the world better; giving someone the same opportunity would be amazing.

Maybe if I am ever famous enough to be recognised in the street, Freaks will speak to me. But for now it is just enjoyable to hear.

Of the remainder, Charting The Single, Cinderella Search, Lady Nina, and Three Boats Down From The Candy are all about a transitory life of short-term relationships. Which I had little interest in when I was younger, and certainly would not swap for my current life.

However, it was the last track, Margaret (Live), which firmed up the realisation begun by the unlove songs. For many years I have listened more to playlists than whole albums, so I had forgotten this song. I suspect the last time I listened to it (apart from when writing this post) was on cassette in the early nineties. Listening to it again, I remembered why I had not remembered it; there was no insightful message and, more importantly, I didn’t like the sound.

Flicking back through the fallible images of the past, I remember even less connection with the lyrics. I enjoyed the album first because of how the music and the shapes of the words sounded.

So it turns out the answer to the meme is the album is the opposite of my life: both in law and fiction I aspire to memorable words, words that convey a powerful meaning.

Do you still listen to the albums of your youth? Do you listen more for the message or the comfortable sounds?


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