Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

In Which I Discover I Am a Fogey


** This post is dedicated to Kerryn at White Thoughts **

The other day I did some sorting of our CD shelves. Since they are about the neatest part of our whole house, this was definite displacement activity – maybe for scrubbing the sink or folding laundry or something that really should be done but that is just too dull. (Did I ever mention how I hate the word “should”? There is nothing pleasant about being obligated.)

So I located all the kids’ CDs and put them on one shelf, and then I decided I needed my own shelf. My dear husband’s music is Britpop, the Eighties and Neue Deutsche Welle – he is very cutting-edge – and I can never find what I consider “my” music and so end up listening to Postman Pat Sings the Blues or Nena’s Punk Frenzy. This is not at all satisfying.

I spent a happy half-hour nosing through our shelves finding the things I like to listen to and giving them a place to be together. Now all my friends sit happily on one shelf and I can find them again. Jack Johnson’s cosying up to Freshly Ground. Katie Melua is making friends with Corinne Bayley Rae. There’s some Mozart, some Van Morrison, some Vusi Mahlasela. My favourite Indigo Girls album is rubbing shoulders with … here comes the shame, it hurts to admit … The Lighthouse Family.

It dawned on me, with some horror, that I have become that embarrassing of things, that signature of all things middle-aged and boring: an easy listening fan. I don’t know what happened to the girl who once listened to Joni Mitchell and you know, that All Along The Watchtower guy. I used to fall asleep listening to Janis Joplin and the B-52s.

I broke the news to Thomas that night. The horror that I have become. The shame of nearing forty and not being cool any longer. All this while tearfully clutching my Peter’s Friends – The Movie Soundtrack CD to my chest.

“Don’t worry, darling,” he says. “You haven’t become an easy listening fan.”

I breathe a sigh of relief. There’s a chance I’m still cool.

“No,” he says, “you’ve always been one.”


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

14 thoughts on “In Which I Discover I Am a Fogey

  1. Husbands… the source of all not-so-pleasant truths. Mine told me the other day that my tastes really are middle of the road, you know. He’s still recovering 🙂

    I’d like to maintain the illusion that my tastes in music are verging on cutting edge but then I remember who I listened to most recently – Crowded House and Neil Finn.

    Tomorrow I’ll think I’ll make the effort to listen to some my old favourites, the ones that really were cutting-edge — fifteen years ago.

  2. PS. Thanks for the dedication Charlotte – this post left both D and me laughing out loud.

  3. ..ah but you ARE cool Charl, because you have have a following! I ape your dress sense and read your book recommendations. Leading this pack is a way of being cool, metinks.

  4. thoroughly enjoyed this post! I also love going through our cd collection and organizing it,sometimes by musician, sometimes by genre, whatever – a perfectly worthy chore, if you ask me. By the way, I LOVED the indigo girls in college and I have all of their albums, and I’m going to put one in as soon as I’m done posting. And, until you have racks of showtunes, like I do, you can consider yourself totally hip. Since marrying S. my showtune listening has gone down significantly, but I still like breaking them out now and then.

  5. I too did the washing up to the Lighthouse Family the other day, Crowded House has deep significance for me and Abba too. Freshly Ground is one of the few recent ones to be admitted to the ranks of favourites to wash up to and I’ve been rooting through buried CD folders to discover other relics of my youth. Luckily the kids like Abba too at the moment, but when they hit their teenage years my cool rating is going to go way out of the window.

    Uncool is the new cool!

    PS I’m really enjoying your blog, glad to have found you.

  6. Hey you really needn’t worry. I love Corinne Bayley Rae, too and she’s perfectly acceptable. When I met my husband his record collection included many a Dire Straits album and the soundtrack to the Star Wars films (he was 19). It was the worst, most dubiously eclectic selection of music I have ever had the misfortune to flick through. You are queen of cool in comparison.

  7. All the cool CDs are in the CD player in the people carrier.

  8. All right, you all have nothing on me when it comes to Old Foginess. Tell me that you can put in “Les Miserables” or ancient Dolly Parton and be reduced to tears, and then we can talk.

  9. Pingback: White Thoughts No One Sees » Blog Archive » Each in its place, redux

  10. It’s official! The new hip thing is easy listening. Charlotte said so.

  11. Well, I was listening to Sesame Street Silly Songs today and realised a) I was singing along to “I’m proud, proud, proud to be a cow,” and b) I knew all the words. How cool is that?! (After that I did turn it down because it occurred to me the neighbours might be able to hear…)

  12. nicely written. very. thanks. and now I see Helen’s comment! about “proud proud proud to be a cow!” How does that fit with “easy listening”…
    I’ve been doing fabulous tonal riffs on “when my baby walks down the street” and another one yesterday that I forgot but lucking I blogged to my songs but wouldn’t you know google dropped it for some reason, but no matter.
    What we like is melody and words and presentation and quality and the new stuff is great but it has to earn its way in: there are already things there and they have to fit themselves in and that will take time and they will NOT all get it. There is stuff there already!

  13. Wall Street Journal article today had a funny article on how online downloads of music makes it easier for us to hide our “secret passions” for “easy listening.” I thought of you! Have a great day!

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