You often hear musicians, when interviewed, saying that they grew up in a house which was full of music. I can’t say that was true in my case. From ages six to nine (roughly), my mother was putting herself through university whilst also bringing up two children single handed, so I imagine she had neither the time or money to devote to music.
I have one distinct memory of my mum playing a Tracy Chapman album whilst decorating the house we’d moved into after my parents had divorced, but a false memory perhaps, the album wasn’t actually released until some time after we moved. On the rare occasions I hear the song ‘Fast Car’ from that album, I still get a slightly unsettling feeling, presumably because of all that was going on in my young life at that time.
Otherwise, I don’t remember music being on at home much. My mum did start to build up a small music collection as I got a little older, often acts with a left-leaning political affiliation, or gay female singer-songwriters, as she had come out as gay herself. However, as I became teenage and fell in love with music myself, she started to pick up on some of the music I (and my sister, to be fair) listened to. Not so much the grunge and Britpop bands that were my first loves, but the likes of Portishead, Massive Attack and PJ Harvey.
Whilst I wouldn’t say she is a full blown music-obsessive even now, I certainly think she buys more CDs and goes to more gigs than the average woman her age and has an eclectic collection encompassing jazz, classical, folk, electronica and much more. I think (and certainly hope) that her children’s love of music helped rekindle her own. I’d like to think that my wife and I will have some influence on our child’s taste in music, but will she also have an influence on ours? One of many things I’m looking forward to finding out.