Door 10: Music

There’s a guitar in the corner of my office, but I can’t play it. I can pretend to play a few songs but I’m the only one who knows which songs I’m playing. On the bookshelf, resting on a Hockey Hall of Fame book that I wrote a chapter for, there’s my recorder from seventh grade. I can play one song on it, the one I had to learn for the test then. The song is “Papa Pingouin”, “Papa Penguin”, Luxembourg’s entry in the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest, and thanks to the obscure nature of the song, I am still the only one who knows the song I’m playing.

But I love listening to music and as far as I’m concerned, the most peaceful thing to do in life is to lie on the floor and listen to music with headphones on. It’s not because I like to do it – although I think I do – or that I do it often – I never do it – but because it always looked as such a cool and peaceful thing to do when Dad did it.

When music was playing in our house, it was Mom’s music. Harry Belafonte or Edith Piaf, and je ne regrette rien. Back when I was a kid whom she parked in front of the TV to watch Thunderbirds, music was on reel-to-reel decks, and vinyls, and radio, of course.

I don’t know what Dad listened to, although, judging by what he played in the car on our way to hockey practices, he probably listened to Finnish artists. Having said that, I did find a Beatles tape at home, a collection of their biggest hits, which made me fall in love with their music. (The tape could’ve been Mom’s, too, except that I never saw her make any tapes. Ever.)

Then, of course, for a few years, I took over the family stereo, both in the house and in the car. Edith Piaf and classic Finnish bands took a backseat – or maybe the trunk, since I was in the backseat – to first rockabilly, then Finnish pop, then Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Dire Straits, the Police, Wham! Well, you know, 80s.

One Xmas in the 1980s, Mom and Dad gave me a portable CD player. But a CD player is nothing if you don’t have any CDs to play. Fortunately, Dad had made sure there were a couple of CDs under the tree as well. One of the was Paul McCartney’s “Press to Play” – which doesn’t include his biggest hit from the recording sessions: the title track from the Chevy Chase/Dan Aykroyd comedy Spies Like Us – and the other one Eurythmics’ “Revenge”.

Both were surprise choices in a couple of ways. I hadn’t expected Dad to have picked those albums, and I wasn’t sure if I had chosen those albums, but I liked them both, and still have them. And that Christmas Eve night, I put on the Eurythmics in our CD player – not my new portable one – pressed play.

I put my hands under my head and lay on the floor, with headphones on, and let the “Missionary Man” take me away.

This is the From The Desk of Risto Pakarinen 2017 advent calendar. Behind every door, you’ll find something related to the 1980s

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