Photo’s, Music and Memory


Music Note Bokeh

Music Note Bokeh (Photo credit: all that improbable blue)

As the final piece for my massobs spring directive we were asked to write about the following:

In this part of the Directive we would like you to write about any photographs or music that has special significance for you. We are particularly interested to hear why they are important to you, and how they are associated with any memories. Please note that we are not asking for you to send in any images or music. Instead, we would prefer you to describe them.

However, do please include them if it helps you to respond (please be careful not to send in any images that identify you or anyone else).

As with the earlier Dream Diary and Big Society Parts 1 and 2 pieces, I wanted to share this here as well…

Early experiences of listening to music

Before you start this section of the Directive please note down the year you were born, and where you grew up. – I was born in 1976 and grew up in Birmingham.

Is there a particular song that reminds you of your childhood? This could be a song a family member/carer sang to you, or a song that was often played in the place that you grew up in. – There are a few songs that were played a lot during my childhood. Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ and Alice Cooper ‘School’s out for Summer’ are the two songs that remind me most of when I was very small, apparently I loved and would sing along to both from a very young age.

Can you remember the first piece of recorded music you brought for yourself? What was it? Do you still listen to this song? If you do, please describe any memories listening to this piece of music brings back to you. – The first piece of music I bought myself was a vinyl single of Tiffany’s ‘I think we’re alone now’ I don’t have the single anymore, but I do still listen to the song sometimes. It reminds me of being in the school playground with a group of friends we could choreograph our own dances and sing the songs; I remember at first we didn’t know the words properly and would sing something like ‘children be aim’ instead of ‘children behave’.

Special occasions

Do you have any special associations with any music or any image? For example, a song or a photograph that reminds you of an important event, a film or TV show you like, or a person you care about. –  I think I tend to make a lot of these associations, more with music and films as photos usually are automatically linked to events or people anyway, but a few I can think of off the top of my head are the film and sound track to ‘Dirty Dancing’ reminds me of my first proper boyfriend, as he got me into watching it, I had not seen it before and he would sing ‘Hungry Eyes’ to me. The TV series ‘Only Fools and Horses’ reminds me of my husband as he was obsessed with it and watched it over and over again.

Have you ever played a piece of music at a special occasion/event, such as a wedding, christening, anniversary, or funeral? If so, please write about what piece of music you selected and why you chose it. – When we got married my husband and I chose to play Shania Twain’s ‘Still the one’ as we had been together for 7 years at this point and everyone had always said ‘it will never last’ because I was only 16 when we got together, the song was a bit of a dig at all those people who didn’t think we could make it.

What about photographs? Do you regularly take photographs at events? If so, which events do you record? Do you spend much time looking at these photographs after the event?  – Parties and holidays are probably the main events that I tend to take photographs at, although there have been times I have taken them at other events. I don’t look at the photos again much afterwards, just once in a while either because something triggers me wanting to recall the event or because I want to show them to someone else for some reason, such as them asking a question about something.

Are there any particular photographs or pieces of music that remind you of a sad event? Please give details. – There are a few pictures of my husband when he was in the hospice, prior to his death, that remind me of that sad time.

Photographs with a personal significance

Please describe any photographs that have any personal significance to you. Where did these photographs come from? Where are they now? Do you display them (maybe in a frame in your home, or computer or mobile phone screensaver)? – My graduation photos, taken when I graduated from the Open University with a 2.1 BSc Honours degree, I had one framed with my Degree certificate and it is hung at the top of my stairway, I also had copies framed for both my parents although I am not sure if either of them have theirs on display.

Sharing music and photographs

Do you ever share any important music or photographs with other people? If so, who (for example, friends or relatives)? How do you share these items? This could be in person with the physical item, using your mobile phone, email, or by any other method you can think of. – I often share music and photographs on Facebook, here they are shared with friends and a few relatives. If I have photos of an important event or from photo shoots I have been on, either on my own or with my children, then I will get these on disc to give copies to close family members.

Special task: Your Mass Observation tropical island tracks and photographs!

In this section of the Directive we would like you to imagine that you are stranded on a tropical island with a record player and a small photograph album.

What four pieces of recorded music would you take with you? Please give the reasons behind your choices and say what each piece of music means to you.

The four pieces of music I would take are:

Alisha’s Attic ‘I am, I feel’ –  just because it is one of my favourite songs, it has no real meaning other than I like it and listen to it when I feel like some ‘me’ time.

Heart  ‘Stranded’ – another favourite, without special meaning beyond being another ‘me’ time song, although I’m not sure if it might end up being a bad choice if I was stranded on a desert island!? Hehe

Labi Siffre ‘Something Inside (So Strong) – yet another favourite, although this one has a bit more meaning I play it at times I feel sad and weak to help remind me I am stronger than I think I am.

Sandi Thom ‘I wish I was a punkrocker’ this one is a random, fun one with lyrics that remind me of my childhood, always good for making me smile.

What about the photograph album? What four photographs (real or imaginary) would you take to the island with you? Please describe these photographs in as much detail as possible. Why have you chosen these images? What do they mean to you?

The four photographs I would take with me are:

A recent photo of my son – A picture of him in the pub, playing pool, because I would miss him and this is what I most associate him with now and where he seems to be happy, which is how I would like to think of him.

A recent photo of my daughter – Also in the pub, playing pool because I would also miss her and we all go there as a family and play together, happy times.

My graduation photo – taken when I graduated from the Open University, I would take the one where I am with my children, mom, sister, best friends and my then partner because it was a moment in my life that was very important and special to me and the people with me at the time.

A photo of my friends and pool team members at the pub – because they are people who mean a lot to me, and I would miss them as much as I would miss my children.

Once I finally got round to actually writing my pieces for massobs I enjoyed doing them and now I need to get on with the summer directive pieces. If you are interested in joining or finding out more about massobs check out their website here.

What memories do music or photos inspire for you?

Are there special songs/pictures that remind of of people, places or events?

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4 comments on “Photo’s, Music and Memory

  1. I composed a song for my Wedding last month. It was the first time I played my music to a big to a crowd. The song was the entrance music for my wife. She asked me to make it for her, when I proposed. I found it very difficult at first as nothing would be good enough. But a month before the wedding I produced the final song titled “new day”.

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