Monday, November 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Iron Maiden's 'Somewhere in Time'

When we come to this time of year, I almost always delve back into my CD collection, and drag out this album. Why? Well, because it reminds me of the late spring and early summer of 1986, when it was released. I was coming to the end of Year 11, and this album was the soundtrack of that era for me. It reminds me of the group of friends I had back then, a group that for the most part still survives today. We used to listen to this album incessantly – at our hangout at the back of the Year 12 common room, walking to and from double Games at the Sporting Complex, between classes, in classes, on the bus to and from school…

It was an album that captured that time of my life, and it never ceases to bring it all back to me when I listen to it, especially on muggy November days, which is how I remember those days back in 1986. The HSC had sort-of started for us, but it was still the end-of-year excitement and joy that I remember with this album. Back in the day when our youth allowed us not to care about anything in particular, except our own passions. The laughter of the antics at our hangout at school, and in subjects such as Ancient History with Russell Parkin. My obsession with cricket, playing at school, practicing after school, and playing all weekend. The love of discovering new music and sharing that around.

16, 17 and 18 were some fun years. A long time in the past now, but they still flood back when I put this album on. It’s funny how the subject matter of many of the songs, dealing with such elements as time, actually corresponds so heavily with my memories of this era, and that it has become timeless for me in so many ways. The memories that the whole album wouldn’t fit perfectly on one side of a 90 minute cassette, and either having to put it on a 60 minute cassette and add something to the end (which is what I did, putting the B-side tracks from the “Wasted Years” single on them, Adrian Smith’s “Reach Out” and the humorous “Sheriff of Huddersfield”) or cutting out a song. And the wonderful memory of walking to double games one day, and the question being floated as to which song on the album would you consider the one to leave off in such a predicament. When my answer of “Sea of Madness” came forth, I was ridiculed, and the answer that became folklore amongst us was that I “hated” “Sea of Madness” and that I had said it was the most reviled song of all time. Yeah, great. Thanks Kearo, Bono and Anthony, you can all get stuffed.

I just felt like writing this today, on a warm November morning as I listened to this album, reminding me so much of those late days of 1986 when that kinship with fellow classmates was possibly at its strongest, which grew through the next 12 months before we all parted on our life journeys, rarely to be seen together again. Melancholy and happiness rolled into one.

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