Thursday, 3 October 2013

There is a photograph of the Rolling Stones

on the front page of our paper this morning.
I am waiting for the Senior Cat to surface and ask me who they are. I know he will. I also know what he will say when I tell him. It will be, "Aren't they a bit old?"
Now I have to explain here that I have never been into "pop" music.
I was never a Rolling Stones "fan".
I was brought up on a diet of Mozart and music hall (my father) and Mendelsohn, Schumann and Schubert (my mother). There was a little Bach and others thrown in for good measure. As children we did not hear "pop" music being played.
I heard other children talking about people at school and I had a vague idea who Elvis Presley was but, beyond that, the world of popular music was a mystery.  It did not matter either. Where we lived by then the radio reception was so bad that we children were lucky if it was good enough to hear the old "Children's Hour" with the Argonauts. Nobody really listened to the radio apart from the weather forecasts, news and something I think was called "the Country Hour" for farmers. If reception was good enough some rural people listened to "Blue Hills", the long running serial a bit like the UK's "The Archers".
When we moved it was to a dairying district and the farmers played classical music to the cows in the milking shed. Some of the local children knew a little bit about popular music but it did not loom large in their lives. They knew "The Seekers" because our music teacher at school was training the choir to sing one of their songs for the Schools' Music Festival. Our school song book was filled with classic folk songs and campfire favourites - which we sang with much enthusiasm and little musical ability.

Three years later I was sent off to school in the city and was totally bewildered. It was like moving to a foreign country. Everyone around me talked about "groups" I had never heard of - and no, until then I had not even heard of the Beatles. My classmates banded together and hauled me off to see the first Beatles film. It was interesting but I did not really enjoy it - although I was too polite to tell them that.

And yes, I do vaguely remember the Rolling Stones being mentioned but I cannot remember anything about them. They did not make a big impact on my life. I vaguely remember other "pop" things, one about pearl shells, another about a boardwalk and, of course, the (as my mother put it) the House of the Hair-raising Sons. (No, she was not impressed.) And I will forever hear  "Blowing in the Wind" sung in German rather than English because that is the way I first heard it.  Yes, I can remember the likes of Joan Baez (also doing a return trip Downunder) and other more "folk" than "pop" people. I also remember the group the Whirlwind found in her father's collection. Procul Harum cheated and used Bach to their advantage in something called "A whiter shade of pale"....I actually don't mind it. The Whirlwind also liked the Bach when I found it and played it for her.

But, the Rolling Stones? Well, I recognised Mick Jagger before I read the caption. I could actually name him.
Does that count for something of an education in "pop" music? What have I missed out on? Everything?


Helen Devries said...

I liked the Rolling stones very much...from my first and only attendance at one of their performances in the Epsom baths hall...from which you may deduce that they had not then reached the heights of their fame.

Apart from that pop music had not really made much impression on at home was opera, classical orchestral and folk songs...the latter being taught at school too.
Friends grandchildren don't know any of them!

JO said...

Cat - you have missed something wild, and exciting, and wonderful. Which is a shame - I see no problem in loving Ravel and the Rolling Stones, Bach and the Beatles, Chopin and the Clash.

catdownunder said...

Oh Jo, I thought I was doing well being able to name him! :)
I missed out on a lot in my youth - have had to do a lot of catching up and never seem to have quite got there. There are individual songs I quite like (and I can recognise a lot of the Beatles) musical education is sadly lacking!

Anonymous said...


I got my first radio in time to listen to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones along with a heap of others, and I still love them all, along with Beethoven and Schubert.

We have always played music in the car, and pop music leaning just a little towards country was the choice to cover the whole family. (This was well before the Wiggles!) Both children rather like the music of the 60s, 70s and 80, and both of them blame car trips for their taste in music.
One of my favourite memories is the junior male of the house, at the time about 7, reading the paper and reading aloud from a story about the Rolling Stones.
"If you don't know who they are, ask your mother." He looked at me and said "Why would I have to ask my mother?"