Living with…no music…for forty years


The story of Joanne Milne is one that is particularly close to home for us.

Joanne’s story is the video that went viral this week. Deaf since birth and blind since her 20’s, the moment when she first heard after having electronic implants was captured by her mum and shared with the world. The overwhelming emotions that she goes through must hit even the most hardened hearts.

My mother-in-law was profoundly deaf and I recall the small steps (relatively speaking) that technology took her on in the 90’s. We laugh at the basic nature of teletext now but I can’t forget the magic of her portable colour TV with it’s ability to connect her to the outside world through those blocky screens. And 888, the magic of subtitles. For many years she loved Bruce Forysth game shows without knowing what he was actually saying. We worried that once 888 revealed the truth of the jokes in Play Your Cards Right and The Generation Game that all would be lost. But somehow she either seemed to forgive or forget his humour, and her love affair with Brucie games shows continued.

The mobile phone also presented a new opportunity in the 90’s, one that we take so much for granted now. Texting. With phone calls not an option, communication between us used to be by letters often a week or so behind and in between. For the deaf community the rise of email and texting transformed the immediacy of contact above and beyond the impact for the rest of us.

And now, through that magic thing called technology hearing for some is here.

The sub story behind Joanne’s journey to hearing is a friend’s present to her. Realising that she hadn’t heard music for the forty years of her life, Tremayne Crossley created the ultimate compilation.  Catching up on 40 years, the first 40 tracks that you should hear in your life. One from each year of her life.

Which inevitably has got me thinking, what would I have chosen? So over the next few weeks I hope you’ll join in while we count down from 1973 to today with the track that best sums up that year and you would share with someone. The special ones, the ones that sum up that year personally.

To start us off these are the first 40 songs that Joanne got to hear, which is a pretty cool list to be honest. Let’s see if any match what I choose!

Ken Boothe – Everything I Own
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – She’s the One – Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Paul McCartney – Silly Love Songs
Joni Mitchell – Black Crow
Steely Dan – Peg
Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky
Gary Numan – Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
The Specials – Do Nothing
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
The Jam – Town Called Malice
Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Prince – When Doves Cry
Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
The Smiths – Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
Fleetwood Mac – Big Love – Live (Lindsey Buckingham solo acoustic version)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
The The – August & September
Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart
Ozric Tentacles – Sploosh!
INXS – Baby Don’t Cry
Nirvana – All Apologies
Richard Thompson – King Of Bohemia
Pulp – Common People – Full Length Version / Album Version
Everything But The Girl – Missing
Foo Fighters – Everlong
Massive Attack – Teardrop
Jimmy Eat World – For Me This Is Heaven
The Avalanches – Frontier Psychiatrist
Daft Punk – Digital Love
The Streets – Turn The Page
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
Beastie Boys – An Open Letter To NYC
Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds
Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
Radiohead – Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Elbow – One Day Like This
Maximo Park – Tanned
Gruff Rhys – Shark Ridden Waters
The Joy Formidable – Whirring
Bat For Lashes – Laura
Haim – Don’t Save Me

Tomorrow we go back to 1973.

This list was revealed on Radio 6 Music as part of an interview on Lauren Laverne’s show with Joanne’s friend Tremayne Crossley.