Childhood Memories, Music And Car Journeys

It’s funny the things you remember from your childhood. For me, I have so many memories of trips in the car. I can’t remember specifics as everything has merged into a mangled mess, but being in the car is something that comes to mind when I think back to being a nipper.

There’s a distinction between being in my dad’s car and being in my mum’s car though. With mum, it was only ever short journeys – things like driving to school or going to the supermarket. When dad was around though, we were always in his car and he did the driving. This tended to be longer journeys, so the likes of going on holiday or a day out at the weekend.

As such, the majority of my actual car journey memories is us as a family of four in my dad’s car, with them all taking place from the back left of the car. I’m not sure if all siblings do it, but my bro and I had our own side of the car. It wasn’t even a question of who’d sit where. I’d be on the left behind the passenger and he’d sit on the right behind the driver. Much like in gang warfare, we each had our own territories and we stuck to it rigidly.

Despite being impatient, bored and asking “are we there yet” way too many times, I actually have fond memories of those car journeys. It was a chance for us all to be together and my folks attempted to make it fun. We obviously didn’t have the car entertainment that kids do these days – there was no ability to watch TV or play games on a tablet. I therefore remember playing things like I Spy, word association games or stuff like guessing what was in a lorry by the name on the side. Yeah, that last one was a bit odd come to think of it.

I also remember music playing a key part. We didn’t really listen to the radio, so our car journey soundtrack used to comprise of my folks’ favourite music. Remember, this was a time before cars had CDs players, so we’re still talking tapes at this point. The glove box was full of them, as was a plastic container that always seemed to end up infringing on my side of the car.

The thing that’s weird though is that certain songs and artists instantly take me back 25 years. I become that same seven-year old who was sat in the back of the car looking out of the window – probably being annoyed by his brother. Again, there’s a distinction between being in my mum’s car and my dad’s car as we used to listen to different stuff in each. Here’s some of the music I remember:

  • Mum: Phil Collins, The Bee Gees, George Michaels, Take That, Seal, David Essex, Lighthouse Family, Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  • Dad: Genesis, Queen, Peter Gabrielle, Thompson Twins, Martika, Madonna, Mike Oldfield, Erasure, Sinead O’Connor, Pet Shop Boys, Elton John, , Eurythmics, Pink Floyd

Some proper belters there! It’s memories like this which I wonder if Toddler L will have in the future. As a family, we too spend a lot of time in the car – be it travelling to see family, days out or just getting from A to B. We tend to always have music on too, so it’d be interesting to see what songs she’d associate with us in the future.

Generally, we’ll listen to the music that we want to listen to. So this’ll either be Radio X or an album on Spotify / Amazon Music. We do also listen to nursery rhymes and kid’s audio books in the car, but this is the exception rather than the rule and usually saved for long car journeys.

As such, Toddler L not only recognises, but also enjoys, what we listen to. We’re talking bands such as Don Broco, Biffy Clyro, Funeral For A Friend, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Silverstein, Yellowcard, Paramore and Twenty One Pilots. Probably not what you’d deem kid-friendly music, but I’ve not heard Toddler L singing swear words – yet.


Despite her young age, she’s already become an expert at moshing in her car seat – nodding her head to the beat, kicking her feet around and playing drums with hands on legs. She also regularly asks for music to be played loud and isn’t a fan of stuff that doesn’t have guitar riffs or a heavy drum beat. That’s ma girl!

Like I say, it’ll be interesting to see what Toddler L remembers in the future and whether she has memories of listening to music in the car. A song can instantly take me back to being a kid again, so I wonder whether it’ll do the same for her. Only time will tell!