Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Do you have albums in your record or CD collection which you associate with pivotal periods in your life? I have many such recordings. One album which brings back a cornucopia of memories is Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield.

I might never have heard of this masterpiece if it weren't for a radio announcer named Len Thuesen. He had a radio show on CHED, the local rock station in Edmonton, from nine o'clock to midnight where he featured new music and popular rock groups. At times, he even featured less-popular artists.

One night in May of 1974, Len played both sides of Tubular Bells. I felt amazed at the beauty of this largely instrumental recording which Mike Oldfield composed. He played all of the instruments as well.

Scraping together the few dollars that I had for groceries, I purchased the LP. Since I had no record player of my own, I took it to my mom's place during weekends and played it repeatedly.

When I left home for good, I took the LP with me. I bought my own stereo and enjoyed Mike's masterpiece whenever the mood struck me. When I bought a stereo cassette recorder, I made a copy of the record so I could hear it in my Sony Walkman. As I mowed my lawn or traveled, I filled in the boring hours with that classic album.

After forty years, I finally have the CD version of Tubular Bells. Now I can listen to it without surface noise and clicks. I can also have it on my MP3 player so I can hear it while doing chores outside this summer. I certainly will remember the times when I was a high school student in grade eleven and how I associated some parts of side one with the lessons in electronics class.

I also remember buying a few second hand radios and fixing them up at school. As I did, the catchy melodies of Tubular Bells often played in my mind.

Though I didn't mention this classic recording in my three memoirs, I did have many conflicts with church elders about the supposedly demonic music I listened to. The fact that the beginning of Tubular Bells was used in a movie called The Exorcist didn't make me fearful that I'd be possessed by a demon. Nevertheless, I did believe in  quite a few superstitions which I wrote about in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It's available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

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