While other teenagers played video games or perfected their eyeliner skills, I watched music channels. When people ask me how come I have an American-English accent, my guess is MTV did it.
At the age of 15, I spent most of my pocket money and whatever I earned serving high teas (at a Leonidas lunchroom) on trips to music stores. I liked to discover new-to-me artists and relied on the staff to tell me about their recent favorites.
I would listen to the same songs over and over again while studying the lyrics that came with the cover jackets until I knew them by heart. Many nights, I fell asleep tangled in the cord of my earphones, ballads still murmuring on repeat.
As I got a little older, hunting for new music finds became a thing between my friends and me. And we spent long evenings, sitting around a table, doing not much more than drinking cheap wine and playing our discoveries for each other.
A lot changed since then. Still, my best friend and I kept this transfer of tunes going in one way or another. Most recently, we thought of starting a shared Spotify playlist.
My move to Singapore put a lot of miles in between us and YouTube links, sent in WhatsApp messages across different time zones, never arrived at the right hour, and eventually, got lost in our feeds.
But now, with our Spotify list, we have one place where we can add tracks for one another, and which we can then stream whenever more convenient to either of us.
Just like how the best wave you take is the one your buddy sees from start to end, a good song becomes better when your best amigo also knows its beat.
Besides, it’s another way of staying in touch together. And whenever I see that Arjen has added a new song, it feels a bit like getting a cool gift. Although, admittedly, regrettably, he also sometimes sends me plain rubbish.