• James Booton

Time, Family & Friendship - How we connect through music

Words from @mary.olive.writing


I found it in a dusty box in my parent’s loft. There were piles of them, stacked one on top of the other. It took me about four trips to get them all downstairs, I lay them out across my bed and study them one by one. They hadn’t been touched for years, yet I welcomed them into my life like old friends.





My parents adore music and this record collection felt familiar to me despite it being my first encounter with these vinyl’s. Artists I have grown up listening to; The Undertones, Madonna, Prince, Susie and the Banshees, The Clash, Whitney Houston...all lay before me waiting to be played again. I pawed through the piles of music, my eyes drinking in the array of 80’s punk and disco artwork. Each album felt like I was holding a piece of my mum or dad in their former life, I wondered when they had last been played and which albums had been loved the most. And that’s when I found it.


It was a seven inch vinyl, and it felt small and thin in my hands. No artist name, no album title, nothing. Just an explosion of blue, green, white and red speckles over the entire album sleeve. I slipped the record out to study it further. It turned out to be an original 1982 Factory Records product of New Order’s Temptation EP featuring their single 'Hurt'.





That night, I took the EP around to a good friend of mine’s house to play it on his record player. There was five of us in his front room, cans of beer and old records littered the rug. An acoustic guitar stood propped up against the wall and a lava lamp bubbled in the corner. The room was cosy and we were all merry in our celebrations, my friend and I having just graduated from university that week. My friend slipped the EP out from its sleeve, passing the artwork around the room as he set it into his player. I’m not sure when the EP was last played, but it was easily twenty years ago.


Suddenly, the room filled with abrasive, euphoric synths and electric guitars. The vocals pumped through the air in an unrelenting energy. The vinyl crackled as it spun around, coming alive as we listened. 80’s punk music at its finest. Instantly, I heard my dad. I can’t quite explain how. But he was just there, present in the music playing. Much more there than he would’ve been if we had used YouTube or Spotify to play the track. I imagined him, as a student probably not too much younger than myself now, listening to this exact EP and wondered who he was back then.


I imagined his house in Netherton, the boarder terrier he used to own and the early dates between him and my mum. Knowing it would be a little while until I listened to this record again my ears soaked up every moment of the music, absorbing every wild drum beat and clashing guitar riff. I felt a little softness inside me and closed my eyes. I was filled with that specific happy-sad feeling music brings. The gentle nostalgia, so uplifting and important. It was one of those moments you want to slow down to really appreciate. There I was, surrounded by the people I love, all smiling and happy as my dad’s music swirled around us. And I realised, in that moment, as I continue to realise time and time again the overwhelming, undeniable, all consuming beauty of music.


For a moment I felt complete connection to my world. I felt the presence of true love in that room. And then, the 8 minutes ended and we were left in the afterglow of Tom Chapman’s lyrics, “Tonight, I think I’ll walk alone // I’ll find my soul as I go home” settling amongst us.


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