Friday, 6 January 2012
Day 6 – Jean Michel Jarre - Equinoxe Part V
Oxygene was the first song I heard by Jean Michel Jarre and it was totally different from anything I had heard before. In 1978, he followed it up with another album called Equinoxe that completely absorbed me.
At school, my peers were all extoling the virtues of heavy metal and while I also walked that path, I couldn’t help being fascinated by synthesisers.
I heard Equinoxe Part V on the radio and based solely on that first hearing I rushed out and spent my hard earned paper round money on the album.
Nobody else at school seemed to like it at all and couldn’t understand why I had wasted my money on an instrumental album performed by a Frenchman.
I got home with my new album one Saturday afternoon and put it on my dad’s music centre – it sounded magnificent. It was music especially written to exploit the new technology that was available for playing music.
It was even better listening to it with headphones; it had a haunting quality that carried me away to a place free of the trauma and stress that my hormonally charged body was wrestling with at the time.
Academically, life was very tough. There was immense pressure at school to start taking work seriously because, as the teachers constantly reminded us, exam results were seriously important and would shape the path of our lives from this point onwards.
Sometimes it got too much for me – and may explain the reason why I lashed out so much. Not only was the school cracking the whip in terms of school work, I was expected to make choices that would affect my life in terms of choosing subjects for A levels. My dad encouraged me but even he had his own ideas about what I should become.
My dad always knew that I was clever and made sure that I kept on top of my work. He was totally aware of the importance of exams and almost grounded me when it came to revision, making sure that I didn’t waste my time outside when I really should be working towards a fulfilling career.
We used to fall out a lot at that time.
Coming from a working class background made it more difficult. My mum didn’t see my potential and her expectation was that I get as many exams under my belt as I could so that I could leave school at sixteen and start earning a wage.
That’s what had happened in her experience and that was what she was expecting to happen now.
My dad saw the bigger picture and while he had ideas of his own about what I should do with my life, we at least shared a common goal; I would carry on at school to complete A Levels and then see what happened.
Our expectations diverged at my career path. My dad saw me as a manager working at his place of work. I did not want to do that at all. In fact, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.
At the time, I thought that the pressure on school kids was too much; not only did we have to work hard to get qualifications that set us up for life, we were expected to make choices that would shape our future – and at the same time had to deal with all of the crap that mother nature threw at us.
It was tough.
I think that some people forget that and the pressure on kids can sometimes be a bit too much. I have tried to remember how I felt at the time and instead of guiding my own children onto a path that I wanted them to follow, I have tried to talk to them about the choices they have.
I hope I’ve helped them and I’ve told them I understand the burden they have, having been there myself – but it is even difficult as an adult because your mind changes and your own outlook on life is wildly different from theirs.
Such was my situation at sixteen. Jean Michel Jarre helped me through that allowing me to escape into my own imagination providing perfect accompaniment on my road trip through my warped mind.
And I think I made the right choices – eventually.