The Reminiscence Bump – Examples

I would have liked to have written more in relation to Jim’s post yesterday, but I had just written my waffling blurb about Space (or more accurately what the song Space means to me) for MMM and I didn’t have that much writing left in me. So I left it for today.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to write today. I had my Covid vaccine booster and my flu vaccine yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve had the flu jag. I woke up feeling fine. Other than a sore arm from the jags, I felt okay. I slept okay. A bit intermittent, but quite soundly when I did actually sleep. I think now it is catching up with me though as now I am here at my PC, ready to exercise the old brain and writing muscles, I can feel my energy draining away. I’m yawning and feeling quite lethargic now. I’m hoping it’s just for today that I’ll feel like this. I have a gig to go to in Newcastle on Thursday and I want to have my energy up for that! 

Anyway! On with the “reminiscence bump” that Jim wrote about yesterday. 

I really loved that post. I didn’t know that his knowledge and love for Wichita Lineman went back that far. But I guess why would I? I always think the melody in Wichita Lineman sounds like Grace Jones’s La Vie En Rose, or vice versa (that would be more accurate). Jimmy Webb is an overdue postponed gig I have to go to next year. 

I don’t have any recollections of ever having heard Wichita Lineman until the first time I saw Jim writing about it. 

But that “reminiscence bump”? There are plenty of songs that do that. And there was no way I could list them and the images, feelings and settings they transport me back to. I just as succinctly as possible spoke about the memory and “bump” Boys From Brazil now gives me. Nana Mouskouri and a coach ride home from London on a dark and dreary night. 

But there are other songs that give me experiences of deep “bumps” when I hear them. ELO’s Hold On Tight gives me the vivid memory of a car ride home from my siblings paternal grandparents house. They lived way out of Sydney. I can’t quite remember where it was now. I think it was south of Sydney, in a town called Nowra. A beautiful part of the state of New South Wales, actually. Anyway, the car radio is on and it comes on on the radio and I find it a really hopeful and uplifting song (there’s Jim thinking “you find ELO uplifting? They’re dross! To each their own, Mr Kerr. To each their own.) and it had been a nice day at my siblings’ grandparents house. I went there with my eldest brother, his wife and my sister. I usually felt “the odd one out” the few times I went to their house as…well…I wasn’t their grandchild and their grandma wasn’t the most warming of ladies, but that day she was quite nice to me and seemed to want to engage in conversation with me. So my memory of the day is a good one. And the ride home in the car was full of lovely music and everyone was in good spirits. So I see my brother driving the car at the front, his wife beside him in the passenger seat, me in the back seat directly behind Roy, and my sister, Cheryl, sitting next to me to my right. The sun was fading. It was a winter’s day, so it was quite cool. And I can see that lovely scenery of Southern yet not quite coastal New South Wales out the window. 

So there’s one example. 

Another is hearing the Skyhooks song All My Friends Are Getting Married. It was a newish song at the time. I’m sure I’m maybe only 5 years old. Perhaps maybe a little older, as I am in my brother Quince’s (real name Gary – hasn’t been called Gary by anyone in I don’t know HOW long – 40+ years? I was the last person to doggedly stick to calling him Gary, and I finally stopped in the mid 1990s) bedroom playing records, using his Technics turntable…so I HAD to be older than five! But I wouldn’t have been much older. But the visuals the song gives me are vivid. I am in Quince’s room (we were always alternating rooms growing up – but at this point Quince had the first bedroom down the hall, the smallest of the bedrooms) and I am playing the Skyhooks album Ego Is Not A Dirty Word and I absolutely ADORE All My Friends Are Getting Married…as young as I am. I can appreciate it for the lamenting song it. The chorus goes “well, all my friends are getting married / yes, they’re all growing old / they’re all staying home on the weekend / they’re all doing what they’re told”. There’s a kind of melancholy to it I could appreciate. But I misconstrued the lament as a kid. I thought it was a lament on missing out on the married life when in actual fact it was a lament that all your single friends have buggered off and settled down! Lol

Anyway…the “bump” is a visual of home. Of Quince’s bedroom. Of a dull, gloomy day. I could see through to the laundry room from Quince’s bedroom and can see out the back door to a (rare) dull, gloomy sky. I was always looking skyward as a kid. Always looking up – literally, if not metaphorically. 

Some of the “bumps”, as exemplified above are very fleeting snapshots, but no less vivid. 

Another one is another car journey. I am with my sister and brother-in-law. REM’s Losing My Religion is on the radio and we are driving through the back streets of Busby – the place I grew up in. An outer south-western suburb of Sydney. Busby was quite a sprawling suburb. All of that area of Sydney, those outer south-western suburbs was farmland and then was turned into council housing developments in the early 1960s. Had the Kerrs ended up emigrating to Australia and landed in Sydney, I am pretty sure an area like Busby or its surrounds is where they would have ended up. The car is actually travelling long South Liverpool Road. There you go – get your Google Maps out and have a keek! Lol

One final one I’ll share is a “bump” – yet ANOTHER car journey – that is a vivid recall when hearing the Tin Tin Out version of Here’s Where The Story Ends. It has real symbolism to it, and very personal, so I can’t share much of it – but the song’s title is a fitting meaning to why this particular car journey was happening. I’ll say as much as the journey was an outpatients hospital visit to Leicester. And it was the ending of one story and the beginning of another. It’s a vivid recall of trying to find the hospital and getting lost (pre-Google Maps and GPS navigation – having to locate the place the old fashioned way) but eventually locating it after going around roundabouts and driving round in literary circles for a good half an hour. 

Other memories get sparked by curtain songs. Certain Bowie songs have me back at home “deep in your room / you never leave your room”. Iggy Pop songs do that too. Bjork songs do. Grace Jones, U2, INXS, Spy vs Spy, Pretenders, Icehouse, Sherbet, The Carpenters – all of them conjure up memories, vivid visuals of me listening to the music either in the livingroom on the crappy “family” sound system, or in my own bedroom I had later as a late teen/early adult. 

Creedence Clearwater Revival, I am sitting around in the kitchen with my mum. We’re usually drinking, playing trivial pursuit or some other board game, getting merrily drunk and just having a fab “girls night in”. We loved doing that. Just having a night in together, getting pissed and listening to music. She loved old crooners too, so I’d borrow things from the library to listen to. Nat King Cole or Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong or Ella Fitzgerald. 

Anyway. Enough of the nostalgia for one day. Geez, I keep myself deep within the clutches of nostalgia enough as it is – I don’t need any more excuses to wallow! My arm and shoulder is frigging aching to f*** anyway, and my head is starting to hurt a little. 

And because it’s vaguely relevant, I’ll end on this…

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