Hunting High and Low
This is an autobiographical snapshot of a day almost 30 years ago when a-ha became the rock to which I clung to in order to navigate stormy seas. To this day they remain very much a part of my family.
I bought the album just after my twelfth birthday – using some of my birthday money. I remember walking into my local branch of Woolworths with a five pound note in my pocket. I’d already decided that I wanted to spend it on music. At that time I was the proud owner of several compilations such as ‘Now That’s What I call Music’ and also the ‘Hits’ albums. We listened to the radio a lot in our house and I liked these collections – they had all of the songs on them that I’d grown fond of hearing as I got myself ready for school.
The music section in the store was located at the front of the shop, just as you walked in through the doors. As I perused the albums I noticed the Hunting High and Low cover at the front of the ‘A’ section. I can remember picking it up and taking a good look at the cover and reading the song list – most of which were alien to me. I didn’t recognise all of the songs and I certainly didn’t know the names of the band members. The sticker on the cellophane cover said £4.49 and the deal was done.
I couldn’t get home fast enough to play my new purchase. My Mum, however, had very different plans and she insisted that I eat my lunch before disappearing into my room. I remember that it was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon and my Mum had opened the French doors in the living room to let in some of the Spring sunshine. As we ate, a light breeze picked up and caused one of the doors to swing back and smash a small pane of glass. It’s strange the details that you remember sometimes and the importance they seem to hold. I think that this memory has stayed with me, because the broken window distracted my Mum and I found the opportune time to retire to my bedroom.
My room was at the back of the house and the sun was pouring in through my window – the net curtains gently billowed in the breeze. I felt so calm and relaxed with the sun warming my toes. I lay upside down on my bed – I liked to do this as from that angle I could look out of my window and see the sky. The walls were decorated in hideously patterned wallpaper: large yellow flowers – very seventies. There were a few posters on the wall – extracted from my Jackie magazines. One of them was of Dolph Lundgren – I’m not sure why. Possibly my teen hormones were beginning to kick in. If so it was a very short love affair. We’d only lived there for 7 months and my room had yet to be decorated. This never happened – as I started to put up more and more a-ha posters my Mum refused to decorate unless I took them all down- not an option.
I must have listened to the album six times that day and I would have listened to it again if it had not been for my Mum who came into my room to tell me that she was not prepared to listen to the same 10 songs again. The ultimatum: listen to something else or come downstairs and help prepare the tea. For me there was no contest – I went downstairs and helped Mum prepare the tea.