How music makes you remember

I've never had particularly up to date music tastes. When I was in junior high in the 1980s I LOVED the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band when everyone else was listening to Billy Joel. At uni in the early 90s my neighbour was into the Indigo Girls while I was obsessing over Simon and Garfunkel.

Still love 'em. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. But I kind of moved on from S&G to listen more exclusively to Paul Simon over the years and it's been a while since I pulled out Sounds of Silence or Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme.

Last night I was driving by myself and suddenly realised that I had complete power over the car stereo. This is a novel occurrence. Usually I have children in the car and they groan at my music taste. So I pressed play on the sound system and up came Paul Simon's cool voice and Garfunkel's amazing harmonies.

For about 5 seconds it felt weird. Suddenly I was 21 again, back in my college room and wearing high waisted jeans. Along with that came a whole lot of other feelings that went with the time. I nearly didn't continue. I wasn't sure I wanted to go back in time, but there were no other CDs in the car and then I realised I still knew all the words to I am a Rock and I went with it.

If you'd asked me at the age of 38 how life was when I was 21, I probably could give you an answer but it would probably involve a reasonable amount of revision and redrafting, given what I know about myself now. It would be "I was this and this, but I didn't know it then."

Listening to this music, however, took me back to exactly the person I was. No revision, no hindsight, just the feelings and the hopes and dreams I had when I was alive at that point in time.

It also made me feel closer to the years in Pakistan. Sometimes I wonder if I've completely forgotten them (or jammed them away in a drawer) but 'being' 21 again brought them back in an odd way. It was as if I could dip back into them if I wanted to.

Music is amazing. It's worth keeping those old CDs and tapes, even if it's just to remember where you've come from.