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My Music Map

music

Hello fellow bloggers! I trust you are all well, and should that not be the case, I pray for better days to come your way and extend my warmest wishes to you.

Me? Well, I have successfully moved myself from the UK to the other side of the world, and am currently in a (rather shaky) Christchurch, New Zealand, whilst awaiting our move to Melbourne in March. Since I made a promise to myself to complete November’s Writing 101 challenge (I know, I know – that was three months ago!!! But I have a strange OCD for things being in chronological order and I cannot possibly blog about anything else until I complete it!) I am therefore persevering with the challenge, even if everyone else is crying out “That’s such old news Hayley!”

Call it genius (or just plain lazy) but I have decided to combine three prompts into one blog post and kill (three) birds with one stone! (For all you bird lovers out there, I am speaking figuratively here and besides, my aim really isn’t that good. Plus I love birds too!)

Day 15: Compile a playlist of 10 tracks that represent you. (My list will consist of 10 standout tracks from my childhood to the present day. (A difficult task since my music collection is so varied) however, I am sticking to tracks that remind me of certain times and places so as to tie this prompt in with the following prompts…)
Day 16: Mine your own material. Think about the things we leave behind. Tell us about a time you’ve left an object, place, person, or even an idea behind — and had to move on.
(I will be meditating on the different eras I have left behind as I have moved though life and music)
and finally,
Day 17: A map as your Muse. (Music has the ability to transport us to a particular time and place, so I will (attempt) to include maps along my music journey!)

I hope you enjoy my trip down Musical Memory Lane!

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.
~ Oscar Wilde ~

My first memories of music are whilst travelling in the back of Mum’s car. A particular song which Mum played almost on repeat, was Jimmy Cliff’s I Can See Clearly. I remember this song, not only for the way we’d sing along to it on our drives, but for the joke we’d tell inspired by it’s lyrics. The joke was about a man who was married to Lorraine, but was having an affair with a woman named Deirdre. The rather untrustworthy (and murderous) man decided to push his wife off of a cliff! Pleased with his efforts and making his way back to Deirdre’s house, he sang “I can see Deirdre now Lorraine has gone!”

Another favourite of Mum’s was Bryan Adams. Whilst most people will remember Mr Adams for Everything I Do, which remained at the Number 1 spot of the UK singles charts for a massive 16 consecutive weeks, I will mostly remember Bryan for Please Forgive Me. For reason’s unknown to me, I am moved to tears each time I listen to this song. When this song was released, my Mum had separated from my Dad. Since she played it so often, I guess part of me feels that she may have been singing this song to him. Although they parted, Mum always remained Dad’s friend and carer, and I know that for Mum, Dad was always ‘the one.’ I know she regrets separating from him for a man she no longer has anything to do with. One thing I do know, is that my Dad loved Mum until the day he died, and that he forgave Mum for moving on. I just wish Mum would forgive herself.

Other favourites of Mum’s were Wet Wet Wet, 10CC, Meatloaf and Cher. We were mostly driving in the car when listening to music with Mum, and so I haven’t included a map for these tracks.

Dad’s taste in music was less Pop inspired and more Rock n Roll, preferring to listen to bands such as Led Zeppelin and Dire Straights, with a few stand out solo artists who were favourites of his. One of my earliest memories of listening to music with Dad was when my eldsest sister and I, who were no more than six and eight at the time, would dance around the living room air-guitaring with him after school whilst Mum was at work. Message In A Bottle by Police particularly stands out as one of our most danced to tracks. Dad would shine the lamp at our feet in a make shift spot light and we’d rock out until Mum returned home and it was time for tea.

Another song from my youth that Dad would regularly sing to us was Purple Rain by Prince. I can’t listen to this song without being cast back to a memory of Dad with his dark shoulder length hair, strumming his imaginary guitar and becoming completely lost in the music. I am, again, moved to tears each time I listen to this song. But I love it for the memories and the emotion it ignites.

The house we lived at when we were rock stars.


Dad and I would be reunited in our shared music tastes later on in life, but in the meantime, it was time for me to discover my own individual taste in music. When I was about eleven, I remember hearing a band from Hull on the radio called The Beautiful South, and promptly asked for their album for Christmas. This was the first tape cassette I owned that wasn’t recorded straight from the radio’s Top 40. I would listen to it again and again until I knew all of their lyrics by heart. Don’t Marry Her was a favourite of mine for the simple fact that it had a swear word in it, which implied there would be some ‘bonking’ going on. At the tender age of eleven, it seemed rather daring to listen to this song with headphones on whilst Mum watched Coronation Street, blissfully unaware of the music content she’d purchased for her daughter. The lewd content of my music, however, did become more apparent when I bought the Marshall Mathers LP and no longer felt the need to wear headphones to hide my rebellious side! For now, however, the suggestive lyrics of The Beautiful South were plentiful enough to make me snigger at what they insinuated, even if I didn’t fully grasp the extent of the meaning just yet. Whilst there are many songs by The Beautiful South that I love, I can only post one here, and so have chosen One Last Love Song on the basis that I’m a hopeless romantic who hopes that the guy gets the girl in the end.

A female singer-song writer who I’d heard through a good friend of mine became very influential to me when I was around the age of 16. At the time I was living next door to my previous house on 54 Barleycroft, and now lived at number 56 with my Gran. I wont provide a map since it was only one door along the same street. My Mum and (now two) sisters no longer lived next door and lived about a fifteen minute drive away. Dad lived alone in a one bed apartment in the next town. I had gone to live with my Gran because Mum and I were fighting an awful lot. We were, I guess, just two hot-headed females who desperately wanted to feel loved by one another but didn’t know how. Gran suggested I move in with her, and for that, I was very grateful. But I also felt so lost and lonely and misunderstood. For a young hormonal teenager, being separated from the rest of the family left me feeling like an outcast and I ended up gravitating towards the wrong crowd in a desperate bid to fit in. My sensible friends didn’t get why I didn’t live at home, or why my parents weren’t together, and it was just easier to hang around with ‘friends’ who didn’t ask questions. Who seemed more confused and troubled than I was. I began to date a guy who was older than me and I suspect he was into some dodgy dealings. I began drinking and smoking marijuana, which only heightened my pain and confusion. I felt lonelier than ever. During these times, Tracy Chapman was my comfort. Many a nights I cried myself to sleep to Baby Can I Hold You and I would dream of escaping in my Fast Car. A year later I did escape. Not in a fast car, but in an aeroplane to Spain.


Within a week of moving to Spain, I met a girl named Katie who was also from England. Like me, she had no family there, other than her Scottish boyfriend, Cameron, who she always seemed to have a troubled relationship with. I think she was pleased to have some female company; we’d often go shopping or dancing together, spending long lazy days on the beach. At seventeen and nineteen years of age, we were troubled, yet care free – both trying to find our place in the world, and so found comfort in each others company. Katie and I quickly became friends. So much so, that within three months I’d moved in with her and Cameron, and Cameron’s Dad, to help them (and of course me) with reduced rental cost.  However, shortly after I moved in, Katie came to me in tears and told me that she and Cameron had separated – that she’d be moving out. I was, of course, sad to see her leave, I’d never felt comfortable around Cameron and his Dad. Two weeks later, Katie was dead. We found her in her apartment the morning after her nineteenth birthday. I was, of course, completely traumatized by Katie’s death. At seventeen, Katie dying was my first real experience of losing someone. Katie’s death was treated as suspicious, I was scared and frightened and had to give a statement to the police. Still, to this day, we never truly discovered what caused Katie to die. Her boyfriend was sent to prison but was released on bail and returned to Scotland. We never heard more after that despite our inquiries, the Spanish police didn’t want to release any information to us. During this time I found comfort in Puff Daddy’s Missing You. Eventually, I had no choice but to simply move on. But I will always remember Katie for her kind and caring friendship, and for her sweet giggle. Nineteen was far too young for her to leave this world.

There came a period in Spain where I felt a sudden urge to move home for a while. After two years of living on the Costa Del Sol working as a waitress, I felt that I was being wasted. Working in a bar was fun, but I didn’t want to waitress for the rest of my life. I’d dropped out of college to move to Spain, and at the age of nineteen, felt the need to get some further education under my belt. I came home and studied a computing course for four months from November to February. Little did I know at the time that this would be my last Christmas spent with my Dad.


During my brief return home, Dad and I rekindled our shared love of music. Still separated from my Mum, Dad would sleep over at Mum’s place at the weekends so he could spend time with his family. Our favourite bands at the time were Oasis, Travis, Keane, Maroon 5 and Coldplay. Coldplay was an all time favourite of ours and in the past when Dad had come over to visit, we’d regularly fall to sleep listening to their first album, Parachutes – Dad in the bottom bunk, me in the top. So it was natural that we would play this album again when I returned from Spain, along with some of their newer music. It’s hard to choose just one track of Coldplay’s that reminds me of my Dad, but the final song of the Parachutes album, Everything’s Not Lost (which includes a hidden song at the end) seems fitting.

Once I had completed my computing course, I returned to Spain in hope of better employment prospects. Three months later, I received the dreaded phone call with news that my gentle Dad had died. It was, to say the least, the most excrutiating experience of my life, and anyone suffering from the loss of a loved one will empathise greatly. Even today, I still feel that I connect with my Dad through music. Sometimes it’s the only way I can feel close to him. That, and through my writing. One of Dad’s all time favourite artists was Bob Dylan, so it seemed fitting that we would play Bob Dylan at Dad’s funeral. Forever Young is therefore the 9th song in this playlist. I have blogged about Foerever Young previously, and so you can listen to the song and its significance to me here.

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

— Maya Angelou

The final song in my playlist is One by Shapeshifter. After I lost my Dad I traveled Australia, Thailand and finished up in Christchurch, New Zealand. I moved to New Zealand completely alone, I literally didn’t know a single soul when I arrived there. As much as I fell in love with New Zealand, it was, at times, very lonely. That was, until I bumped into my current partner of almost six years, Mark. Being a lover of Angel Oracle cards and the guidance they bring, they showed me that Mark was my ‘answered prayer’ and my ‘twin flame’ (which basically means soul mate in Angel Card speech!) A song Mark would often play to me, and that we still play today, is One. This song fills me with hope, with courage and reminds me that I am never truly alone.


Thank you for journeying with me through my life in music. Which songs resonate with you and why?

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16 thoughts on “My Music Map

  1. Pingback: Happiness | Dear Dad

  2. Ahhh thank you Deb!!! This comment made my day 🙂 You always manage to lift me up and provide me with such encouragement! I have had some doubts about my writing lately – where to take it, where my passion lies – and logging on to see your comment further affirms where I love to write. Here. Even if just for myself. Oh No! Sorry Lorraine! haha Oops! And I must be honest, I still feel uneasy about the unanswered questions surrounding Katie’s death, yet I also feel that it’s not my place to pry after all these years – especially as the family may have heeled and moved on now… And yes, this post did take two days to put together (possibly even three) 😉 hehe it is hard choosing just ten songs – I have sooooo many songs that I love. But these songs link to a particular place and time and so hopefully I fulfilled the brief in someway (if in a lazy way at that!) Love and hugs back to you ya soppy tater! (potato) hehe love always! ❤ xx

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  3. Ok so first WELCOME BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY…I’ve been waiting with baited breath for your return and boy did you come back in a BIG, and I mean BIG way!! This is ahhhmazing…loved following you thru your journey…it’s fascinating! I love your story about I Can See Clearly Now…(my mother’s name is Lorraine) and I was oh hey Lorraine and then when I read the end omg I couldn’t stop laughing and of course I sang the line as you did when you were young…I like it better than the original!! Your rebellious side and not getting along with your Mum, the sad sad loss of your Dad. I was so shocked when I read about Katie how scary that must have been for you. How brave of you to move to New Zealand completely alone, it’s not like you moved to a different town from where you grew up no you moved to a different country, all by yourself. That is fantastic!! And you got to meet Mark lucky for him!! 😉 Out of all the songs you listed I think I like Tracy Chapman’s the best…her’s is about dreaming a better life for yourself…I love a lot of her songs. This post must have taken you forever to put together, I know it took a while to read and listen through it, I mean I started on Tuesday and now it’s Wednesday…I really must go shower now…I wonder if they missed me at worked today!! HA!
    I’m so so happy you’re back writing, I love reading all that you write and I agree even though your blog was about letters to your Dad, people and when I say people I mean me, love reading about every facet of your life!!
    xoxoxo ((BIG BIG HUGS!!!)) ok I’m getting all sloppy now…I’ll say read you later!! 🙂

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  4. Hmm, I did writing 101 in November, but I must have been a lot less diligent than you, as I don’t even remember this prompt! I felt ok about not responding to every one, as my blog has such a specific topic. I also signed up for blogging 101 at the same time, so I was twice as behind 🙂 Nice to see another NZ based blogger (though not for long by the sounds of it),

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    • I have often thought about these writing 101 courses not being specific to my blog – at times I try to link them back to stories about my dad, but sometimes I take them in a different direction. That usually leaves me wondering if doing that steers me away from the whole purpose of my blog… I would like to return to writing open letters to my Dad as it brings me closer to him and that’s why I created “Dear Dad’ in the first place…I can see we have a similar purpose for our blogs – connecting with our loved ones, hoping to bring comfort to others who may relate…Exploring our grief and our spiritual path… I’m glad I stumbled across your blog! Which part of New Zealand are you in? xx

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      • I have thought about starting a different blog for my other thoughts not related to Zoe, but so many of my thoughts and much of the way I view life now is through the lens of loss and healing. It’s all a journey, and not always away from the person you have lost. I’m in Auckland, but am always amazed to find how you can find your tribe online wherever they might be. Just this week I connected with a young woman in India recently diagnosed with cancer who felt inspired by my blog. That’s such a privilege! Your letters to your Dad are lovely 🙂

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      • Thank you 🙂 and I agree – since starting my blog I have connected with many people in different countries – people who already feel like friends or my ‘tribe’. It is so very comforting and reassuring to reach out far and wide and have people respond positively. I often considered whether a new blog was necessary, sometimes I think yes, and other times I believe that my current readers respond reassuringly regardless of the topic. I’m sure your readers would feel the same and would love to delve into your many faceted sides – it’s always comforting to know that our blogging family connect not only with our most blogged about subject, but with our voice, our way of conveying words, with our spirit – whether that’s through tears, laughter or simply everyday life mishaps – I’m sure the response will be a positive one 🙂 we do hear so much about finding our ‘niche’ – and I believe that’s true also, but I do believe that the occasional wander in other directions is also ok 🙂 xx

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      • I became so lost in thought answering my inner dialogue about whether or not I needed to create a side line blog – (I’ve been pondering it for a while and you helped me arrive at my answer!!!….) hehe That I totally forgot to say what I’d initially intended to say! (I think they call it ‘thinking out loud’ – or at least, Ed Shearan does!) As you’ve probably noticed, I have a tendency to become side tracked 😉 But what I had wanted to say was: Your precious girl is so breathtakingly beautiful!!! It’s no wonder Zoe is with the angels now – because she truly is angelic in every sense of the word ❤ (I hope you don't mind me saying…) Such a strong, yet tender little soul to have gone through what she did and so very young…I admire your strength and unwavering love for your daughter during (what must have been) a time of utter heartache and despair. It's strange how life works in these mysterious ways? Love, loss. Joy, pain. Do you ever feel that, although we are without the physical presence of our loved ones, we are connected with them always? That we are, in some ways, blessed with their eternal spirit? I like to think that we have them close by in all that we do; wherever we may go … (Just a pause for thought on a Thursday evening) Sorry! Thinking out loud again! 'So many of my thoughts and much of the way I view life now is through the lens of loss and healing.' These sentiments of yours have helped me to realise something; right here is where I belong – this is my space to write. Here with my Dad ❤️ Thank you, and thank you for sharing Zoe with the world. I look forward to sharing more of your journey through loss and love, as I am sure many others who relate to your words do too xx

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    • Thank you Oneta! I have just read through and corrected all of my typos! Darn they always manage to sneak in there somehow hehe thank you for sharing in my musical journey through time xx

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