The soundtracks of my youth

Two years ago, I bought my first house – it’s delightful, you’d be jealous. Along with all the brilliant aspects of home ownership (the security of being on the property ladder, the ability to truly make it your own and the chance to laugh smugly when people ask how much the rent is) I discovered one mighty drawback. The unexpected but inevitable parental phone call that said it was time to reduce any evidence of my ever having lived in the family homestead to a couple of faded sepia photographs, a wobbly banister railing and a splodge of metallic purple spray paint on the garage floor.

The house had been reclaimed from the younger generation some years back, my sister’s bedroom has long since been stripped of A-Ha posters and converted into the dressing room and storage area for my mother’s ever increasing collection of forest-print pant-suits.

My childhood bedroom has become my father’s ‘office’. Considering my father doesn’t work from home and… doesn’t need an office where he does work, this translates as the room where his Compaq Presario 286 computer (that’s 3.5 inch floppy disks, my friends) sits and he goes to file away and organise his Royal mail first day covers once a month. Up until now, he has been happy to co-exist with the books I’ve never felt the need to re-read and to leave the fitted wardrobe completely untouched but, apparently, the space is now needed. Not by him, I should add, but by my mother, whose pant-suit collection (forest print) has now exceeded the capacity of both the double wardrobes in her own bedroom and my sisters. I have my suspicions that she might be stockpiling these green, leafy creations to clothe an army of doughy post-menopausal warrior ladies who intend to actually disguise themselves as a forest in which they can lay traps and snare their now-adult children to give them a chance to lecture, without fear of interruption, about haircuts, careers and appropriate footwear.

Anyway, it was time to clear their house and loft of all of my possessions. I started with my cupboard which I don’t recall ever having even opened since the age of 18. From the day I left home, I had no need or interest of anything in there. Even in uni holidays, I lived out of a rucksack, the cupboard was just full of crap. So, 15 years untouched and even before that, it was just somewhere to put stuff I didn’t want actually around me. I was kind of excited to explore. I found the detritus a once-indie-kid 33 year old might expect to  – long sleeve t-shirts (The Levellers, The Cure, Ride), short sleeve T-shirts (The Wonder Stuff, James, Jesus Jones), piles and piles of old NMEs and Melody Makers, fanzines, film magazines (lots of these), tons of old posters grabbed off venue walls or begged from video shops and cinemas. Nothing I particularly minded throwing away. The two things I found which made me go ‘Ha!’ were collections that I had forgotten about. To a degree (and not a painfully nerdy one, I might add), I have always collected things. I had typed examples but deleted them in the desperate attempt to preserve a modicum of dignity. The collections I found in my cupboard were my badge collection – an obsession between the ages 3 and 8 – and my film soundtrack vinyl collection, a long forgotten obsession I fed between the ages of about 9 and 12.

Now, I have been obsessed with films my whole life – hence being a filmmaker and having owned 2 video shops – but as a kid, I was really, really obsessed. I don’t think there was a film I didn’t LOVE. I really can’t remember having any semblance of a critical perception, if it was a film, I LOVED it. An arbitrary love. I watched everything. Every film they showed on TV was taped and archived away, by the age of 11, I was allowed into town alone and spent every weekend (and most weeknights, once I was a teen) between then and leaving for uni at the cinema seeing ANYTHING. I was very materialistic and wanted film ‘stuff’. By the age of 13, I had become far more selective in my tastes and by 14, I had discovered The Cure and The Clash and was well on the road to becoming the bastion of cultural quality you know and love today.

The soundtrack collection has been untouched for 22 years, I just found the box and flipped through the first few. I have no memory of ever having owned two of them. I have decided to share this voyage of discovery and nostalgia with you now. Jin me, as we flip through the contents of the Sainsburys Muscadet de Sevre et Maine box labelled ‘soundtracks’….

I’ll stand by this one. I do remember this is the first film soundtrack (or OST to those of us in the know – Original SoundTrack. I know) I bought and I bought it because I loved the film (still do) and loved the music in it (ehhhh, not so much now) It heavily features the work of syrupy 70’s songsmith Stephen Bishop. I just found a video of him performing It Might Be You (Theme From Tootsie) here: it’s quite good actually, isn’t it? Shaddup. I remember getting it home and finding out the record was warped, so I took it back to the shop and they offered a refund as they didn’t have any more copies. I decided to keep the warped one.

I don’t remember this!!! I adore the first Arthur movie, barely even remember ever having seen this one but it must have left enough of an impression on me that I actually spent my parents hard earned money on the soundtrack. A brief perusal of the tracklist reveal the theme song Love Is My Decision (Theme from ARTHUR 2 ON THE ROCKS) is by now less of a talent than the lamentable Chris De Burgh. Let’s see what youtube can offer us… ah, yes…

…it seems at least one person in the world has made a very real connection to this song, eh? Horrible. It also features some Bacharach and The Loco-motion by Kylie, which I’m sure wouldn’t have been a motivating force for me. Why did I buy this????

OK, this is ace. No regrets there. I can’t imagined I would ever have actually sat down and listened to this but it has their version of ‘My Little Buttercup’ which I will certainly be capturing to my hard disk for future mix-cd awesomeness. Again, have no memory of ever having bought or owned this, though.

This one I do remember! I remember hassling the guy at Movie Boulevard in Leeds (where I mail ordered the harder-to-find soundtracks in my collection from) to track this down for me. I loved the song on the end titles. Which, when put next to the theme from Tootsie (no, we won’t count Arthur 2) reveals a worrying infatuation with syrupy 80’s love songs. This one was from Joe Cocker who, in fairness, is fucking ace – even at his 80s balladeering worst…

Looks like whoever made that video loves Bigfoot and the Hendersons (yes, BIGFOOT and the Hendersons, as I will always know it) even more than me. According to one of the comments on that video, the New York Gay Men’s Chorus does a ‘wonderful’ version of this song. I hope to hear that some day. It’s still a fucking great flick.

No apologies here, either. This contains probably the best ‘Theme From’ a film EVER…

WHAT???? WHY???? Why would I ever have bought this??? I don’t even remember liking the Police Academy films THAT much. Maybe I was lured by the Drew Struzan artwork. I hope so. I couldn’t have ever actually LISTENED to this, could I? Apart from Brian Wilson (must have been one of his ‘bad’ years), this record features the talents of two alliterative and extraneously ‘r’d acts –  Darryl Duncan and Garry Glenn. As tempted as I am to power up the turntable to sample ‘I Like My Body’ performed by Chico DeBarge (who, wikipedia informs me, was stabbed outside a Philadelphia nightclub in 2003 by a South Philly Italian mafioso named John “Johnny Gongs” Casasanto) and ‘Dancin’ Up a Storm’ by Stacy Lattisaw… I won’t.

Again, I remember seeing and not hating the film (hey, I was 10!) but why the hell would I have bought the soundtrack? it is apparently a Thomas Dolby project which proves that success breeds insanity. Side one is all songs featuring the vocal talents of star Lea Thompson with backing vocals from, um, George Clinton, harmonica by, really, Stevie Wonder and guitar by The Eagles’ Joe Walsh. What a monumental waste of time. The band, presumably assembled for this project specifically, are known as Dolby’s Cube. I wonder how many of them list that on their CVs.

I don’t think I’ve ever even seen this film! This has to be one of my sister’s albums. Shut up.

I do remember buying this! I bought it because it was the new Spielberg film (being a Jaws/ET/Close Encounters junkie) little did I know that the film was impenetrable for a 10 year old. There were no aliens or sharks in it. I listened to the record once. I didn’t like it.

Still awesome. And there’s a band called Mummy Calls.

Another WHAT??? Why would I have bought this? The film left no impression on me at all (I liked Romancing The Stone). The title track is Billy Ocean’s When The Going Gets Tough but on closer scrutiny of the tracklist, one finds the fantastically titled ‘Party (No Sheep Is Safe Tonight)’ performed by The Willesden Dodgers. I’d like to think that’s why I bought it. It’s certainly why I’ll be keeping it.

Apparently this is collectable now as it features John Deacon’s only ever non-Queen recording. Hmmm. make me an offer.

I remember this bad boy! And I listened to it a lot! Kokomo by the beach Boys, Tutti Frutti by Little Richard, Don’t Worry Be Happy, some Ry Cooder, John Cougar Mellencamp and a Starship song. Wicked stuff. Again, I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually seen the film. I dimly recall buying this to impress a girl.

WHY DO I OWN THE FATAL ATTRACTION SOUNDTRACK???? I couldn’t even have seen the fucking film! It was an 18 and i WAS 11! I don’t think I woudl even have given a shit about it seeing as how there were no aliens or sharks or comedy. Why the hell do I have it? There aren’t even any songs on it that would have interested me. It’s the SCORE of FATAL ATTRACTION. WHY DO I HAVE THIS???? I’m picturing a tubby little eleven year old strolling into HMV, deciding he wants to own the score of a film that not only has he never seen but would have no interest in… and paying his pocket money for it. I just. can’t. process. this. What were you THINKING, Little Jon???

I remember buying this. I really loved the movie and liked how they labelled all of the merch ‘SPACEBALLS THE…’ I had Spaceballs The Poster and Spaceballs The Badge and bought this just because I thought it was cool. The theme is performed by The Detroit Spinners and it features a really nasty duet on side one by Kim Carnes (wikipedia: once wrote a concept album with her husband for Kenny Rogers!)  and Jeffrey Osborne (wikipedia: career now consists of singing the national anthem at baseball games) called ‘My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own’ which is a very pithy title, eh?

I had forgotten this film even existed!!! I have owned two video shops for the best part of a decade and still haven’t happened across any mention of this film in 20 years. Wow. I do remember really liking the film. I want to see it again now. I bet it’s awful. Actually, I bet it’s ace – Peter O’ Toole playing a drunkard, Steve Guttenberg in his only British flick, directed by Neil Jordan. Cool. Thanks 12 year old Jon! Apparently all the music is performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra. Where’s Graunke? I’ve never heard of Graunke.

OK, that’s enough for now. More soon.

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ah ! such a good post, made me laugh a lot ! as if we had a quick flick through lil-jon’s diary !

    i will always remember that your particularly enjoyed Dirty dancing. Only, I wonder were is the “Body Guard” soundtrack ?

  2. High Spirits came out on DVD last year –

  3. The Bodyguard soundtrack was ’91 so I was in the safety zone by then. Got some corkers to come in part two, though!

    James, you are my hero. Consider it ordered! Wanna come over for a screening of it?

  4. Most certainly! I would be very interested in seeing if it’s lesser Neil Jordan, as most people seem to say; I too watched it a few times on VHS when I was about eleven and barely remember it. Except for a bit when cheaply animated ghosts terrorise people in the woods which actually quite scared me back then. Just let me get this music video out of the way on Saturday then it’s a done deal 🙂

  5. I DO NOT OWN ANY FOREST PRINT PANT SUITS. It’s all very well stretching the truth for comic effect but that’s going a bit too far.

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