During 1960/61, one of my favourite hobbies was roller skating. Twice a week, along with several class mates, a change of clothing would be stuffed in our satchels in readiness for a quick getaway at 4.00pm. Blackwatch tartan trousers come to mind, so tightly fitting in the legs that I needed to stitch the seam near the ankle after putting them on, and then unpick the seam to take them off. In order to carry out this necessary task (usually on the bus journey there) I kept needle, thread and nail scissors in my blazer pocket. I was thirteen years old, not the most carefree of ages; but the freedom felt from gliding at speed around the skating rink at Great Harwood or the main hall of King George’s Hall in Blackburn, seemed to transport me to a higher plane where nothing mattered save for the sheer pleasure of the musical moment. During these wonderful episodes of abandonment, my favourite song was ‘Poetry in Motion’ by Johnny Tillotson. It was a song that contained the perfect rhythm for skating. So much so, that even today, almost sixty years later, when I hear this record playing, I am transported back to roller skating and that higher plane of musical pleasure, where I sing-along to every ingrained word.
I feel sure that most of you reading this will have had similar experiences. I've witnessed first-hand in care homes where residents suffering from the onset of dementia and loss of memory, on hearing a record from their youthful years, they instantly recognise it and join in, singing along to the words. Which proves the memories are there, they just need a little prompting.
I promised to include some interaction with this weeks Blog. So how about joining in with a little experiment? Listen to the radio, especially music from the sixties, seventies or eighties. Pick out a favourite and close your eyes, then make a note of the place the music transports you to. And if you do have an elderly relative with dementia, share the experience, and witness the change in their demeanour as recognition kicks in and a sing-along, or even a dance-along develops. Happy times forever remembered in music.
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