If you’re not from Australia I might need to explain ‘dag’. If you look in a dictionary, it will tell you it’s the dung-covered wool that hangs off a sheep’s bum. Yes I really did just say that and no, that’s not the kind of dag I am. A ‘dag’ is similar to a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd but the problem with using those terms is that both geeks and nerds are kinda cool nowadays and a person who is a dag is by its very definition, uncool. So I’ve pretty much never been cool, particularly in regards to music, and it always bothered me. I grew up in a house where Opera was the staple on our stereo. When we were asked to say what our favourite song was in kindergarten, I named a song from a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. My trajectory as a dag in this life probably began right there. And did I mention that my mother made most of my clothes, and that my outfits were often mini versions of her own?
Luckily some relief came in the form of my Mum’s friend who had an older (and way cooler) daughter. She’d grow tired of records and cassettes and pass them on to me. This is how I discovered Abba and I fell head over heels. Smugly I paraded my new cool love of pop music at school little knowing that, now it was the late 80s, Abba were the epitome of daggy.
Eventually I realised I could listen to the ‘right’ radio stations and be a bit more in the know about stuff that was cool and stuff that wasn’t. Being a pre-internet world, my exposure to the world of pop was limited by the range of the AM band on the kitchen radio but still, I was getting closer. Madonna rocked my world.
School’s finished and I go to uni, start hanging out with some cool student types and realise I had fallen behind in my quest for cool yet again. I still loved the Material Girl but apparently the cool bands and artists were the ones almost nobody had heard of – and they certainly weren’t the bands that paraded themselves on commercial radio.
Thank goodness the internet arrived and I suddenly had the world of music at my fingertips. I could even find out – with a bit of help from Google and his mates – what was considered ‘hip’. I discovered bands from all over the globe, from different genres with different levels of ‘known’ ness.
I decided to make music my career and was suddenly surrounded by people who seemed to have a great deal more knowledge of bands and cool acts than I ever will. I have thrown myself into the discovery of music over the years and my tastes are really diverse but I have realised something. I may have plenty of ‘indie’ and ‘alternative’ albums in my possession now but you put on ‘Get into the Groove’ and I’ll be busting moves in the middle of my living room. ‘I’m Going to Wash that Man Right out of my Hair’ comes on (for the non-dags among you, it’s a song from the Gershwin musical ‘South Pacific’) and I will unashamedly sing along with every word. And it’s not just the music that reminds me of my youth. I love Julio Iglesias and I think Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it off’ is a pop masterpiece.
I moved in with a boyfriend a while ago and he suggested we combine our CD collections in the bookshelf, all in alphabetical order. He was mortified when he saw that the first CD on display would be Abba. He was a cool musician type himself and luckily soon got hold of a CD by ’78 Saab’ to take pride of place in the music on show in our house. So when I married him about a year later and he said I should be the one to choose the song playing as I walked down the aisle, I knew he must have really loved me. I choose ‘Dancing Queen’ unbeknownst to him until the day! I loved the way he smiled when he heard the opening bars.
When I’m not making and performing my own music, I make my living from singing covers. One of my favourite gigs is dressing up as Lady Gaga and singing her songs to kids. I love eating cheese and banana toasted sandwiches, I adore the taste of cheap Lambrusco and sometimes I listen to Barbra Streisand records. None of these things are ‘hip’ but they are me. The people that are important to us don’t judge us on our unfashionable tastes. I’m old enough to realise that trying to be cool is actually tryhard and proudly being yourself is about as cool as you can get.
So now that I’ve revealed a bit of my (daggy) self – please tell me a bit about you (just comment below, I’d love to hear).
All the best,