If music be the food of love

My long-standing (or long-suffering, depending on your point of view) partner-in-crime and co-parent has commented on various occasions that our first child was created entirely out of wine and pizza. It’s true that in the early days, aside from our passion for each other, we were equally enthusiastic about Portuguese wine and Pizza Hut pizza; the latter in a totally unselfconscious, pre-slow food kind of way. More recently however, I’ve realised that the primary foundation of our relationship was always our shared love of music.

To be blunt, our knowledge of song titles, artists, lyrics and associated pop trivia borders on geekishness. My head is populated with many pieces of useless music-related information. The part of my brain these facts inhabit could probably be far more usefully employed to memorise Portuguese irregular verb patterns, but no matter. Parallel to this, I can date most 80s chart hits by visualising my hair at the time of their release: wannabe Lady Di, spiky, permed, Sun-In-ed, henna-ed, bobbed, or growing out my layers (which was my defining state-of-being during the majority of this decade in fact). The evening early on in our courtship when Reef’s ‘Consideration’ came on while we were listening to an old compilation tape my future husband had once made was the moment I realised this was it: we both loved this song and preferred it over the band’s biggest hit ‘Place Your Hands’. If ever there was a sign that I’d met my ideal man, this was surely it.

Upon moving in together, it transpired that we were both bringing dozens of duplicate CDs to the domestic set-up. Our individual quirks have also broadened the other’s musical spectrum. While my husband introduced me to Jeff Buckley and lesser-known Soul and Blue Break Beats tracks, I have brought the guilty pleasures of George Michael and Michael Bublé into the equation. Some may not view this as a fair exchange, but I defy anyone not to tap their foot or feel at least a little joyfully sentimental while listening to ‘Everything’.

Naturally, the course of true love never runs completely smoothly. During the thirteen years we’ve co-habited, I’ve developed an irrational loathing of Van Morrison’s musical repertoire (in particular ‘Into The Mystic’), mainly caused by being forced to endure incessant over-playing at too high a volume. Likewise, I cannot abide any of my husband’s party mood-killing “dirge”, although there is a fine line in this respect: Patti Smith no thanks, The Smiths, yes please. I am perfectly aware that he feels similarly about Joni Mitchell’s ‘Clouds’, probably owing to the fact that I invariably put it on after our guests have left of an evening and at this point usually start snivelling into the remains of my glass of wine. Our good friends are all-too familiar with the manner in which we bicker over what to Spotify next when they are over and have learnt to tactfully ignore it. Despite this, when not entertaining, we spend many happy hours of a Friday or Saturday night playing Name That Tune, a deux; my ultimate triumph being identifying Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ within a millisecond owing to the radio crackle at the beginning of the track. As I say, nerdish obsession reigns supreme.

Life is moving full circle and our 8-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son are now developing their own musical preferences, meaning there are now four people vying for control of the search bar on Spotify. Our son’s Gangster Rap and our daughter’s Brazilian Hip Hop choices are met with a particularly frosty reception from certain quarters (their father’s, mainly due to his belief that little of lyrical or melodic merit was produced after the Millennium). Nevertheless, for this family at least, it seems that music, wine and pizza are the food of love – and this being the case, we play on.


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