Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Song a Year: 1988, Run to Paradise

Sometimes a song that sticks in your head is not a song you particularly like. It can be an annoying ditty that worms its way into your skull despite your best efforts to delete it from your cerebrum. When I heard Britney Spears' "Piece of Me" I thought "My God that's a horrible song", and then proceeded to hear it every time I switched on FM radio and found myself actually knowing the damn lyrics.

Apparently the usual reason you find yourself with a song running through your head is because you have only heard a part of it, and your brain subconsciously keeps trying to complete it.

But when it comes to a song being associated with a year, you have to have heard that song completely, and much more than once. You still don't have to particularly like it.

And so it is with my 1988 song, The Choirboys "Run to Paradise".

1988 was when I did Year 12, and in the first week the entire class went on a camp to bond. This was about as dumb an idea as you could ever come up with given I went to school in a small country town where 97% of the class had been together since Grade 1.

We'd spent 11 years bonding, and had well and truly worked out who we did and did not wish to bond with. We knew who had gone out with who since Grade 5. We knew who had beaten up who in Grade 6. We knew who had got busted for smoking in Grade 7. We knew more about each other than we did about our families.

However, our teachers thought we really needed to get to know each other, and thus were forced to spend a week together doing "trusting games" (if memory serves me right a few people hit the floor instead of falling safely back into the arms of their team mates) and group activities that required completing a task without the use of one of our senses.

This served to ensure that when we got back to school the next week we would definitely continue to bond only with those people we had previously wanted to bond with, and were able to set our previous thoughts on other people in the most rock solid concrete. Nothing like waste of time to start Year 12, I guess - though it did help set the pattern for the rest of the year for me.

We also had to answer questionnaires that attempted to reveal things about us. Fortunately there was one new kid, so all 45 of us had an answer to the question "Who do you want to get to know better?". (And of course at least 42 of us didn't bother).

We were staying at a youth camp-site on the Murray River, with everyone sharing a cabin with 5 others. The cabin next to mine was full of guys who had ensured at least one had brought along his boom box. It was pretty cool - a double tape deck of the type that had a soft eject, it had high speed dubbing capacity, and a 5 band graphic equalizer. It also required about eight D size batteries than ran out pretty quickly if anyone dared use the fast forward button.

Unfortunately the most favoured song by the lads in that cabin was "Run to Paradise". And so like most 16 year olds, they played their favourite song over and over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over.

And over.

You see the owner had cleverly taped the song back to back on one whole side of a blank tape. So for 45 minutes without pause the Choirboys could be heard blaring out across the camp ground.

I liked the song for the first 5 or 6 listens.

By the end of the week I was ready to kill every person in the entire camping ground should the initial shout of Mark Gable singing "Baby!" be heard coming out of any speakers.

And thus despite the fact I liked other songs in 1988 - "Desire" by U2, "Got My Mind Set On You" by George Harrison, "Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS or the sadly underrated "She's Like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze (ahem...ummm err...ok people, move along nothing more to see here), when I think of 1988 it's the damn Choirboys, and even 21 years has done little to dull the memory.