For as long back as I can remember, music has played an important part of my life. Discovering the wonders of Elvis Presley as a nine year old would forever alter the way that I looked at the world. To me at that time, I felt as if I had discovered something that no one else had any idea even existed. It was truly a magical and innocent time for me, and from that point on, I had to have music on in the background for every one of my waking moments - the hours of my day devoted solely to school would at times seem unbearable. From Elvis I moved on to pretty much whatever happened to be playing on the local AM Top Forty radio stations in my area. You can well imagine just how limited I actually was in regards to my musical choices, seeing how I just so happened to be growing up in the deepest, darkest musical abyss that was southwestern Ontario of the late 70's. To my young and naive being though, I didn't really know quite how awful it really was, and how much I was really missing out on. Of course, this all changed the summer that I turned fifteen, 1979. This would be the summer that, for better or worse, changed me in ways I can't even begin to describe. Those brief months became a revelation to me, and from this point on, there was no way that SW Ont would ever be able to hold me down!
It was getting towards the end of June 1979. Grade Nine was rapidly coming to an end, and summer vacation was beckoning us all. Couldn't wait for those lazy days of summer, especially as this summer just happened to offer something very, very special. My father was a teacher at the local community college, so he too, got to enjoy a couple of months vacation each and every summer, just like myself and my brother. As a family, we also had immigrated from Ireland to Canada a decade prior to this summer, and while my Dad had returned home a few times over the preceding ten years, the rest of us hadn't. This was all about to change, as my family would be spending this summer's vacation in Ireland, as well as England - my Mom's parents had moved there from Ireland a number of years earlier so we were going to spend an equal amount of time between both countries and both sets of grandparents. I was so excited, although at the time, I had no idea exactly what kind of adventures awaited me, nor how profound a change these brief couple of months would end up having on me.
Although, my brother and I had more cousins living in Ireland, we did have a handful our age living in London, England, and they were more than happy to show their cousins from the colonies exactly what a huge city has to offer. Nothing in Canada prepared me for the grandness of London. At the time, we lived in a small town with a population of slightly more than 1 100. The largest city was a twenty minute drive from where we lived, and even then, its population didn't quite reach 250 000. I was captivated instantly. I surrendered completely the second my cousins took us to Kings Road in Chelsea. I had never, ever seen or heard anything quite like I found here. Punk rock was alive and kicking, so to speak, although by the time I had arrived in the UK, the original punk movement that had exploded in 1976, had long since disappeared and been replaced by what many classify as a second wave of the punk rock movement. By the time that I arrived, punk had splintered into a number of sub groups, many of which I found exciting beyond belief, and for the brief couple of months spent in England and Ireland that summer, I couldn't consume enough of this new music fast enough. I discovered what would soon be called New Wave and Pop Punk were my favourites and to this very day, I remain faithful and true to my first loves.
In just over a week's time, I will be going to see one of my very first loves, Depeche Mode! They have a show at Toronto's Molsen Amphitheatre on Friday, July 24 - just so happens, this show falls on the day after Jim's birthday! We're going to make it a bit of a family day as Sara is coming with us - she was also allowed to bring a friend with her so she wouldn't be stuck all day with our boring selves! This is also a bit of a big step for us as we've been keeping pretty much to ourselves this past year. Certainly, this event will have the largest crowd of people that we've had to interact and function within since the attack. Could prove fairly interesting. If nothing else, it certainly is a testament to how much I adore this particular band as I can't think of too much else that would motivate me this much that's for bloody sure.
Now, as an aside and for anyone that might be interested, besides Depeche Mode, my other all time favourite bands would have to be the Clash, Social Distortion, and Manic Street Preachers. I have a boatload of almost rans but that list would be too long...If I were stuck on a desert island, though...