It’s the End of the World As We Know It!

6 Dec

rem eponymous_peterisms

Last night, I was driving around with a friend and we switched from Christmas tunes to some of our favorite old music; The Smiths, The Cure, The Pogues, The Jesus and Mary Chain, R.E.M., New Order, Siouxie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, The Violent Femmes, The Clash and Public Image Limited.  She asked me to stop when we came to New Order’s Temptation on my iPod, which I probably hadn’t listened to in over ten or fifteen years.  I joked that I would never remember the words, but as the techno beats hit my speakers, my voice found comfort in their old lyrics and I was once again transfixed to 1990, remembering every word.

For me, music is like a scrapbook, reminding me of certain periods of my life and always weaving bittersweet memories through the words and notes of each song.  Whenever I hear Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Judy Collins, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young and Led Zeppelin, I am reminded of my childhood where their liberating songs found a resting place in my mother’s home.  At my father’s, it was Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Harry Chapin.  80’s Punk and Alternative is definitely the music of my teenage years and whenever I want to feel young again, I return to The Smiths and The Cure.  In the last 20 years, I’ve listened to varied music and have learned to enjoy most of it, especially country.  I’ve also learned to not turn my nose up to or refuse to listen to music I don’t know or understand, because I may find something I enjoy in music I don’t yet know.

My husband Alex has really helped me to appreciate the great electronic dance music DJ’s of our generation and how the entire resurgence of music festivals built around these DJ’s is once again a liberating time for our youth, much like the late 60’s and 70’s.  Ahhhh…the times they are a’changin!

My mother stopped listening to some of her favorite music over time.  Just when I learned to really appreciate Bob Dylan and Judy Collins, she’d ask me turn it down.  When I asked her why she didn’t like to listen to it anymore, she’d reply that it made her sad and that she didn’t want to be reminded of certain times in her life, especially her drinking career, when she listened to that music most.  In her later years, she was more drawn to Janet Jackson, Garbage, Bob Marley, Madonna and the Barenaked Ladies.  She hated country and said it was “twangy” and never appreciated Patti LaBelle stating that she thought she shouted more than sang.  Although I totally disagree, it shows that people can introduce you to music but you don’t have to necessarily love it.  She would have loved Lady Gaga, of that I’m sure.

While driving around, I was reminded of so many musical periods of my life, especially the first time that I learned that to know all of the words to a song shows pure fandom.  I was about 13 and my cousin Caroline was 16.  She watched me a lot one summer when my dad had to work all day.  We would drive around and I was mesmerized by her diet of one Hostess ding-dong and about 100 Diet Cokes, resulting in the perfect, tanned body.  (I do not endorse nor recommend this diet, but it apparently worked wonders for Caroline!)  What I was most intrigued by was that she knew every word of Janet Jackson’s Control album.  She would play the tape on both sides, all day long,  uttering every word perfectly.  I was entranced.  She was so cool! Actually, she still is pretty cool!

It wasn’t until the other night, dancing and singing in my car, when R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World As We Know It came on, and I knew every word, that I realized, just like my cousin, how really cool I am too! cool   Some things never change but music helps us realize who we really are deep down under all our beauty and flaws!

I’m just proud of myself for still knowing all of the words.  If you don’t know the song, I posted my favorite performance of it belowIf you know the words…try and keep up! I dare ya!

For now,


*Let me know what songs impacted periods of your life in my comments below!


5 Responses to “It’s the End of the World As We Know It!”

  1. Shell Flower December 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I still know all the words of this one, great version! My favorite New Order is Ceremony, which brings me back to high school almost as much as Bizarre Love Triangle. I love going to record stores and buying my old high school albums on vinyl. Listening to the Grateful Dead still makes me a little sad, though, ‘cuz I still miss Jerry!

    • pamonn December 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      Yeah…I have a hard time with The Grateful Dead for the same reason. Somehow, New Order always makes me happy and of course I’ll always love Bizarre Love Triangle, no matter how many times I hear it sampled in pop music!

  2. Jenny Kelly December 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    I, too, remember all the words but must admit I quickly change the station when an R.E.M song comes on. Too many drunken frat parties with bad memories ruined that song for me. I can’t get enough of the Pandora 80s alternative station. It takes me back to our nights of driving around, going out to dinner, living as if we were invincible. New Order is still one of my favorites, Blue Monday is a classic. Do you remember the hand signals for Bizarre Love Triangle?! Ha! I’m with you Shell, Uncle John’s Band was “our” first GD song, we’d blast it from Pete’s cassette deck, but I sure do miss Jerry! xoxoxo

  3. Barbara Cole January 25, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Dear Peter, Tonight in the last 20 minutes I have read several of your letters and will have to admit that I have been truly changed. I read the letter “Dear Annie”, “The 25 Things You Learned From Your Mother”and this one. They are amazing and completely honest and very, very true. I was a victum of bullying throughout my whole school life, except for a different reason. It was mostly out of jealousy and complete ignorance that people took advantage of me and hurt me. I have always been very serious and had always been very afraid of certain things. I never knew exactly why I was this way until my first husband, (do hate to say this, but for the first time I’ll admit it to a stranger) raped me. It would be the first of many, many times he did do it to me. I am not ashamed of myself and I don’t hate him, but I have forgiven him and consider myself a survivor. After the first time my whole head went blank and for the first time in my life I saw red. And in that red a memory was released, a suppressed memory. It took almost 2 years to remember exactly what had happened to me and when I did it changed my life forever. You see, Peter, I was violently raped by my father when I was 4 1/2 years old. I won’t get into the gory details but I have now realized why I was like I was and why I was always teased and abused by my classmates. You see I was born back in the 50’s and those kind of things were not reported to anyone nor was it turthfully considered a crime. I have always loved life and still do but I was always very adamant about life, very emotional and I also always believed what I was told. Quite honestly because it was my way of dealing with the fear and portecting myself from ever going through that again. But instead of that it made me very different than the other fun loving children and a very vulnerable target. It started in Kindergarten and got much worse after I started to put on extra weight. Some of the things I went through were horrific and my heart will always be scared. Now that I look back and can remember everything that I’ve goon through I now realize that I never deserved any type of abuse ever from anyone, not ever. Noone does. For any reason. I very proud of you for holding your head up after going through what you did. Those children, even though they were children hurt you deeply and for no reason other than to make themselves feel dominate. And even though I have permited it to happen to me (though I couldn’t have really done much to stop the children even in today’s society), I will admit it to you now that I did stay married to my first husband for 17 years and over 20 rapes, plus physical, emmotional and mind-controling abuse, it wasn’t until this last July 1st when I left my 9 1/2 year relationship with my last boyfriend and years of neglect that I am finally free and will never willingly allow anyone to abuse me again. I don’t need to have anyone in my life that feels they have to hurt someone and feel better and above someone to either hide who they really are or how completely ignorant they are. In a way I am still having to handle some bullying. My sister, (though she and her husband are currently going through literally a living hell with his three teenage children) is constantly reminding me of all the things I’ve done wrong in the past. I admit, I’m not perfect in any way and have done some very rough things, I’m trying to heal now, not just myself but hopefully helping many others tosurvive and escape abusive situations

    • pamonn January 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It really, really moved me!

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