Most of us are locked in, all of us have lost the chance to socialise, to meet and drink and talk and eat and see music and work out and enjoy things outside the house. But music doesn’t have to stop and The Great Confinement has opened up a chance to explore at home, to dig up old favourites and find new pleasures.
In this series we ask: what music is making your life better? Today, interior designer, author and no fan of algorithms, Megan Morton.
WHAT ALBUMS OR ARTISTS HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING SINCE BEING CONFINED TO HOME?
My ears have been my CV silver lining. I bought a record player back in early Covid breakout as I returned from Indian about 24 hours ahead of the disease and isolated for 2 weeks in my bath tub listening to Ravi Shankar. The bliss was real.
I think our ears actually our last stance. I think David Byrne wrote about this some time ago when Spotify was blowing up. (Wish it would. I hate the ‘we thought you would like blah blah, because you like blah blah’. I am like NO, you don’t assume ANYTHING with music! I actually refuse to pay for Premium. It humiliates my family, but I just grin and bear the bad ads: surely the Squarespace ad where the voiceover calls ‘Olliieeeeee’ is not a real ad but designed to make people sign up ad free?!) Not me, my ears are my last stance and I will stick by them. Music for me is as autobiographical as my wardrobe, jewellery or photo albums.
WHICH HAVE BEEN GETTING MULTIPLE SPINS?
I recently moved house (not recommended in a pandemic) but I did it to The Mac* and everything was ok. I like to listen to the This Is Us soundtrack, because the series travels over so many time periods, it really does seem to distil some of my favourite sounds. For all the Joni Mitchell lovers, there is a darling part where Rebecca Pearson (the main character) visits Joni’s house with son, Kevin, and it’s just beyond.
I have a dear friend, Catherine Swan, and so much of our friendship is tied up in sharing music and its sense of place it gives us. It’s so nice to have a long-time friend who loves the same sounds as you and sometimes I pull over if I get a text from here and it’s got a song preloaded!
(*For those new to the party, Megan here refers to a band from ye olden tymes called Fleetwood Mac.)
HOW HAS LOCKDOWN CHANGED THE WAY YOU CONSUME MUSIC?
I grew up on a banana farm. I was concert/music obsessed. One night my dad bought me a ticket to the Eurythmics. But just one ticket, no friends for support! So he drove me up in the banana truck and waited for me. Inside, Annie Lennox pointed to me (she didn’t but I could have sworn she did during the chorus of Missionary Man). I proceeded to take my shirt off. I walked out in a bra speechless. My dad was in a total fit at the sight of me and I said, ‘calm down, I am fine. The music went through me!” He laughed. We would drive around together for hours with his banana business listening to Johnny Cash and I knew he knew what I meant by that.
It was the beginning of a long and deep obsession I had with live music and the performative aspects of music. This is what I do feel very sad for my kids about. When you feel every note/chord literally inside as it was intended - just one of the best feelings ever. I never walk out, even if others do or a performance is off. I just love being witness to people braving a stage with a band.
WHAT ALBUM FROM YOUR PAST HAVE YOU REDISCOVERED? WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT?
My list (in preferential order) goes like this:
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, but really just Lloyd
The Tom’s - Petty and Waites,
Electric Dreams (Giorgio!) then Greatest Hits from Queen, David Bowie, George Michael and Kate Bush. There is not a step out of sequence from any of these masters.
HAVE YOU FOUND NEW MUSIC – OR AN ARTIST OR GENRE - THAT WAS UNEXPECTED? WHAT’S EXCITED YOU ABOUT IT?
I lived in LA in my most formative years. I still get the best feels listening to Tupac, Run DMC and all the other amazing sounds of that time. I also love UB40, sweet music from southern India, opera, Aretha Franklin, Tanita Tikaram, k.d. lang, Stevie Wonder. I grew up on Talking Heads, Gang Gajang, Finn Brothers, soundtrack to ABC’s Sweet And Sour, the Mentals, so I was always looking over my shoulder to other countries’ sounds.
I haven’t found any new music, because quite frankly there is so much good stuff in the back catalogue to discover and rediscover. The last time I ventured to new was 2013 when pop was going off. I mean I was truly pissed off when I thought I liked that Robyn Thicke guy one-hit wonder, Blurred Lines, until I realised he was just all over-synthesised and a famous person’s kid. But it just led me all the way back to Robert Palmer, who is simply irresistible!
WHAT’S THE BEST MUSIC TO FLATTEN YOUR (ANXIETY) CURVE?
I really don't like to get up without something cued up! I know that sounds terribly tragic. But some nights I even go to bed thinking about what I will put on alongside the thoughts of if I have enough coffee beans or other morning business!
Megan Morton runs style and design community, The School (theschool.com.au), from a place genuinely called Mimosa Moon, and her books include It’s Beautiful Here and Things I Love.