So, this is a bit of a random post. But, I felt like reminiscing. You see, there are certain songs by specific musical artists that remind me of Sonic the Hedgehog despite having nothing to do with the Blue Blur. And what are those songs? Well, they are:
Dark Lady by Cher
What’s Love Got To Do With It by Tina Turner
Modern Girl by Meat Loaf
As you can see, these have absolutely nothing in common with Sonic. I mean, at a push, we could maybe work them into a bizarre rock opera? Knuckles the Echidna wants a future with his modern girl, Rouge the Bat. But, he feels like she may be seeing someone else, so he visits the mystical Shadow the Hedgehog, only to realise that Shadow is with Rouge. Then, in the end, Rouge tries to deny her attraction to Knuckles, trying to convince herself that she’s not in love. Yup, there’s some fan fiction along those lines, I’m sure.
Anyway. I didn’t have that in mind. In fact, neither Shadow nor Rouge existed when this link was made in my head. This all happened somewhere between Sonic 2 and my personal favourite game of all time, Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
So, what happened? Well, before he managed to forge a successful career as an undertaker, my Dad had terrible luck with jobs. He was always a hard worker but had the unfortunate habit of joining companies shortly before they started mass lay-offs. One of his more long-lasting jobs during this time was that of a milkman.
This is getting weird already, isn’t it? He had a few escapades during this time too. I’m not talking Pat Mustard style romps here, but rather wayward youths trying to mug him for the milk, and an exploding milk float engine. But, the thing I remember the most about this time was collection day.
Every fortnight, my Dad had to go and collect the money for next week’s milk from his customers. This was actually quite a big job, partially because he had to fill in paperwork as he went, and partially because he liked to have a brief chat with each customer while they paid. Not wanting to leave his young family alone during these hours, it became a fortnightly family outing!
This was before my sister was born, so that meant my Mum, me, and my brother all piling in the car with him while he went up to Wainscott and collected the cash. Other than my Dad, none of us ever left the car during the money gathering. We did get to see all the regulars from afar though. Like ‘Tattoo Man’ who, as you may have guessed from our imaginative childhood nickname for him, tended come out of his house topless, revealing more tattoos than I’d ever seen one person at the time.
Now, my Dad knew this would be a pretty boring trip for us kids. So, we always finished by going to a specific newsagent. There, we got to pick some chocolate and, best of all, he’d paid for a subscription Sonic the Comic. If you didn’t know, that was a Fleetway published title that ran from 1993 to 2002. Released fortnightly, it featured a Sonic story, plus a handful of other series based on other SEGA IPs like Streets of Rage, Decap Attack, and Kid Chameleon. It even got some other licensed runs in the form of Sparkster and Mutant League Football.
The big thing though was always Sonic. We loved Sonic, even then. We had the Master System games. When we got a Mega Drive, we got it with Sonic 3. There were two cartoons on TV, The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic: SatAM.
So, Sonic became a big part of my adventures in watching my Dad be a milkman. But… why then do I associate those songs with Sonic rather than thinking of the fastest thing alive when I eat my milky cereal in the evening? Yes, that’s right, the evening. Cornflakes for breakfast? That’s disgusting Neil. Anyway. Music.
My Dad’s tastes in music are fairly simple. He likes Elvis, country music and Irish folk. He did once buy a Black Sabbath vinyl, though I’m not sure he meant to. However, if we were all going to be in the car for a few hours, my Mum took control of the tape player. Now, my Mum had a very varied taste in music. I actually first heard Bon Jovi thanks to her, I believe. For these trips though, she had three staple cassettes. These were ‘best of’ collections for Cher, Tina Turner, and Meat Loaf.
We listened to those songs every time. I still enjoy the bands too. It was those specific songs that really stood out for me. These days, I can’t help but think of Sonic when I hear them. Or, more specifically, the UK Sonic comic version of the hero. Whenever we head up to the larger mall in the area, we have to pass that same newsagent on the bus too. When we do, I still hear the songs in my head, remember the comics and smile.