When I turned 8, I had my first proper birthday party. It was in our house, so nothing fancy by today’s standards, but it was a party nonetheless. To prepare for this momentous event, my Mum took me to WHSmiths to choose a tape for us to dance to. I chose Abba and I had the time of my life dancing to that tape on my birthday and for many years to come.
When my sister turned 11, she asked for a portable radio / Walkman as her present. This being the 1980’s it was a basic affair which wandered in and out of poor AM reception, but it was a radio all the same. I was a terrible sleeper as a child and we shared a room, so one night as I lay there I decided to put the radio on under the duvet with the headphones on. It was about 10 o’clock at night and Radio 1 were transmitting their Rock Show. I lay there transfixed by this wonderful noise – the sort of music that didn’t get played on mainstream radio.
As soon as I was old enough, I started going to gigs; anyone and everyone that played locally -mostly rock as that was my favourite. I saw Hawkwind, Aerosmith, the Manic Street Preachers, Iron Maiden, and many, many more. Within a couple of years my life was mapped out, not by my school achievements, but by which bands I could see that year. Aged 17 I met my future husband who was working for one of the bands I saw. From that point on, music – already a massive part of who I was – became such a part of my life that it is inconceivable to think of a life without it.
And then along came our children. As you would expect, I have educated them in all sorts of music, taken them to gigs, bought them CD’s – I’m even taking one to see Craig David! (I may have to go in disguise). But as a teacher I’m acutely aware of how some children only hear music via TV or mainstream radio. I have Mummy friends who don’t even have CD collections -a shocking state of affairs! And then there’s education. As a teacher I have seen curriculum time dwindle at an ever increasing rate away from any creative subject, and yet any top rate musician will tell you that Music, Fashion, Art is what we excel at in the UK – in spite of education.
So this is what School the Kids is about. I want to awaken the senses of children and young adults to inspire their own creativity and to broaden their cultural horizons. I want to focus on the underground music movements, the music you wouldn’t hear on mainstream radio. Perhaps I’ll awaken some memories for you too with some of the music I pick out. I hope you’ll choose to share it with your kids and help them develop their own tastes. Let’s set the world on fire!