Friday, May 06, 2011

Misspent youth

Collecting the football cards that came with Anglo Bubblegum stood me in good stead later in life. Redolent of that sugary fruity flavouring (a sort of guilty pleasure) each packet contained a card with basic details about a player, his club, his position and so on. I could never work out whether I prefered the information or the gum. They took it in turns. Maybe it was a rather dry strip of gum that ran out in less than a minute; maybe it was Danny Blanchflower or Jimmy Greaves; maybe it was just the taste you needed. But all that Anglo Bubblegum pedagogy served me well when the sixties came blowing in to the Midlands where I grew up. Not only did I bask in the popular music that seemed so new and fresh, I scoured the album covers for information. Who wrote those songs? Who recorded them? Who played bass and who did the cover art? I geeked out on all the information, always keen to identify the key players and to trace the influences that had helped shape what I liked. Nothing much has changed. What might seem like a misspent youth was actually a substantial investment. A shift in the field to the world of theory and research is actually quite a small shift. I'm still listening out for 'new tunes' and trying to understand how they came about (who they were listening to when they wrote them and all that). Surely that's the starting point of a good literature review - creating your own map of the territory. And to think it all began with bubblegum!

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