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My first album(s)

Not everyone will admit to what they actually bought first. But I will.

Homer: I realised that being with my family is more important than being cool.

Bart: Dad. What you just said was powerfully uncool.

Homer: You know what the song says. “It’s hip to be square.”

Lisa: That song is so lame.

Homer: So lame that it’s…cool?

Bart and Lisa: No

Marge : Am I cool kids?

Bart and Lisa: No

Marge: Good, I’m glad and that’s what makes me cool. Not caring, right?

Bart and Lisa: No

Marge: Well how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.

Homer: Wait Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.

Bart: Well sure you do.

Lisa: How else would you know?

The winter of 1994 it was a bleak time for many I’m sure. Albert Reynolds gold rimmed spectacles were about the most glamorous thing people saw on Irish television and many of us were still bitter about the pubs being on strike during the summer’s World Cup. 

I can’t remember my exact frame of mind but I ain’t the rose tinted type so I’ll say it was better than most, not as good as some. The biggest local drama I faced? Well we were still having issues with the ‘pipe’ television in Beechdale. 

I had never been much of a music enthusiast up this point. It would be fair to say that I am not one now. You probably wouldn’t want me on your pub quiz team for the pop music round. Though like many there’s probably some muscle memory that recalls stuff I thought long forgotten.

My first interests in music were basically what my parents were listening to followed what by my schoolmates were into. In those terms it was the Christy Moore songbook, American Country from the likes of Willie Nelson, Jim Reeves, Merle Haggard, Don Williams, The Eagles and Billie Jo Spears. Closer to home it was Big Tom. My Ma also had more British tastes which she would reveal to me later. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and T-Rex by then.

When I left primary school I was walking out of there a serious square. Unlike David McEnteggart (who claimed to have been in attendance for the Use Your Illusion tour in Slane 92 aged eleven !), I wasn’t even going to the local disco yet. Neither had I jumped on the smiley t-shirt Nirvana bandwagon(I knew they were good but didn’t like the dirtiness of it all) or the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. As for Pearl Jam, no, missed them too. The sad realities of not having a big brother I suppose.

In addition, I was roundly mocked for my continuing interest in WWF. Maybe it was a blessing that we temporarily lost Sky One in our estate though subconsciously I might have been missing lycra and heavily lacquered hair tinged with toxic masculinity. All those roads lead to two bands. Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. 

The former never made a huge dent in Ireland historically though I later learned they had visited Dublin during the Get a Grip album tour. Bon Jovi as we know are still beloved in our wee nation. 

So it was my Birthday and Christmas requests were quite simplistic. A personal stereo and a few good tapes to listen to. Dustin’s battery warning had not surfaced so I had to learn the hard and expensive way the price of AA batteries. As I remember it I was buying up vast quantities in the of likes Apollo 1 in Moore Street. I think I might have bought the cassette player there too actually. A Memorex Bass Boost! A Nissan Sunny to Sony’s Walkman /Honda Civic.

 Both albums tipped the scales at over 70 minutes each and to be honest I probably spun them more on my Dad’s old Hitachi stereo. 

I feel like I liked Aerosmith a bit more at the time. Their trilogy of Alicia Silverstone music videos were getting regular air play on MTV with Liv Tyler making a cameo in the last one. I would later learn that this output was quite tame in comparison to previous work. Apparently Aerosmith had normalised transgenderism long before it was a political football and had also championed coitus in a lift. A great bunch of lads. 

I knew this album was a greatest hits of sorts but I was also smart enough to know that I was missing out on the full story of the band. The reviews were polite but generally viewed it as a typical cash grab. 

Similarly I had taken to Bon Jovi. Their faux cowboy chic went down well with outlaws in far flung towns like Oldcastle and Nobber. I had actually heard Bad Medicine for the first time in Rorys of Ratoath. Pretty certain of that anyway. 

What sealed the deal for me apart from that was again, the MTV show: Music non stop. It was on at maybe 4.30 every day and Dry County was in their top 5 for a good few weeks. I liked this ode to water shortages in the American West. 

Other ones I enjoyed were the sickly sweet Always: a staple of Asian karaoke bars ever since. Bed of Roses enjoys similar popularity to this day.

After a few months of these I was a little bit bored and borrowed a couple of tapes from Pat McK to copy. A-ha and Duran Duran. I fit both of them on a TDK 120 min tape I had relieved my dad of. I was quite hasty in choosing this particular cassette though. After playing both the Brummies and Norwegians I discovered a Canadian was still there and I had taped over most of him. Gordon Lightfoot. If I could have read his mind I’m sure he wouldn’t have thought much of my taste in music. 

So there you have it. Further proof, if ever it was needed that I’m not cool. I never was cool. And just like Marge Simpson says ‘I’m glad. And that’s what makes me cool…..right???’

By rayhyland40

Filmmaker. Writer. English Teacher. Liverpool fan. In reverse order😉

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