Mr B and I spend a lot of time wandering along Memory Lane. It is one of the pleasurable benefits of living to a Great Age - there is so much to look back on with gratitude. So many times a TV programme will jog us back
in time to a long-off holiday when Our Foursome were littl’uns, or to a Jolly Jaunt, just the two of us, after they all flew the nest and started off on their own Life’s Adventures.
Sometimes it’s not a TV programme, or a photo album that sends us off on our reminiscences - sometimes it’s a piece of music. Sometimes it’s a bit of both, as in the other evening when we found ourselves
watching a programme about the story behind the making of that famous LP (that’s short for Long Playing record for the Millennials among my readers) “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel. It topped the charts for many weeks
in 1970 and was one of my most played records while tackling an endless pile of ironing in my early married years.
Watching the programme Mr B reminded me
that we still had the original LP, dated 1970, somewhere in a cupboard in an upstairs bedroom. I promised him that I would search for it and we would play it all the way through the next day on our record player (yes, we still have one - of which more later.)
I knew exactly where to look - a good few years back when we had some fitted cupboards installed in the front, guest bedroom, Mr B nabbed one of the bottom cupboards for
his collection of LPs. I couldn’t exactly protest because I similarly laid claim to a cupboard for my family history files. My files have now overflowed into another, larger cupboard but the record collection has remained in its Forever Home ever since.
Alongside the neatly stacked records I found a useful card index, listing every one of the records under the names of its performers. Bridge Over Troubled
Water, I ascertained, was number 27a. I thought this would make finding the record extremely easy but someone must have been removing records, playing them and then failing to put them back in their correct order. That’ll be me then…
I had to look through the whole collection before finding Bridge Over Troubled Water, filed in completely the wrong place between an LP by Fivepenny Piece and a Christmas
Collection of well known carols squeaked in their own inimitable fashion by Pinky and Perky. It would, I told myself, be worth the search.
Now before you say anything,
I could indeed have looked out our CD of the same name or downloaded the album from the Great On-Line Record Shop - but I foolishly felt that we needed to have the whole 1970 Experience if we were to ramble along this particular Memory Lane. Unfortunately
I hadn’t reckoned on the fact that the sound quality on our record player leaves much to be desired. What’s more, that the mere sound of the scratchy stylus on the well-worn record would have Mr B loudly lamenting What Used To Be.
You see, we used to own a rather grand music centre, complete with extremely large speakers which took up most of one wall in our living room. When we came to decorate our living
room, shortly before I waltzed off the corporate carousel and into retirement, most of the family (apart from Mr B) decided that it had to go. It took up so much room, we virtually never played it, new methods of musical entertainment were readily available.
Mr B has never quite forgiven me. In a bid to appease him, we bought ourselves (as a joint Christmas present one year) one of those neat music centres with radio, cassette player, CD player and - importantly - a turntable for records.
On the plus side, it doesn’t take up too much room; on the minus side (and, in Mr B’s view it is a Massive Minus) it just can’t hold a candle, sound-wise, to its
illustrious predecessor. In vain did I try to sing my way through “Cecilia” and “Frank Lloyd Wright” in a bid to cover up for the tinny sound - I think I may just have made matters worse. It was certainly a mistake to muse on how good
“The Boxer” sounded on the CD player in the car.
Sadly our trip along this particular Memory Lane came stuck (like the stylus in our aged LP)
in a bit of a rut. Life happens…
PS The first line in the third verse of Bridge Over Troubled Water reads “Sail on, silver girl” and was apparently
a reference to Paul Simon’s wife on her noticing her first grey hairs. As one who took advantage of the pesky pandemic to abandon hair dye and embrace my silvery locks, I shall from henceforth take it as my new mantra….