Sony Spotlight: Lou Stirna
December 10, 2016
As we continue to turn the spotlight on the devoted men and women of Sony Legacy, please meet Lou Stirna from Sony’s Learning and Development team…
What was the first record you ever bought?
It was actually two: The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson and the Theme From S’Express. Me and a friend pooled our pocket money together, headed off to Woolies on East Ham High Road and made a perfect pact that we’d share them equally throughout the week (promising not to listen to them on a Wednesday – in our 9 year old heads this made sense!). It speaks to my negotiation skills that not long after purchasing said 7 inches, I managed to secure both copies for my collection…where they still live today, although S’Express has no sleeve?!
Who is your favourite Sony artist and what is your favourite Song/Album by them?
So many….The Clash, Manic Street Preachers, The Foo Fighters, Michael Jackson. However Grace by Jeff Buckley has to be one of my favourite ever albums. I purchased it during my first week at sixth form college and had it on loop on my journey in. Not a day went by when I wasn’t to be found daydreaming during a Politics lecture that Buckley was singing each track to me (oh the shame!).
At 16 I’d all but convinced myself that our eyes would meet over a Rush album (one of his favourite bands, yep…I was a bit of an obsessive Buckley fan!) in Tower Records at Piccadilly and he’d rescue me from a fairly mundane teenage existence. Fast forward two years later to 1996 and I’d cottoned on that this wasn’t happening so subsequently set about postponing the daydreaming for a while and concentrating on my A Levels. After leaving I took a boring job temping at a city bank that I was thoroughly miserable at, however my daily highlight was walking through the cobbled back streets to Bank station with this as my soundtrack… In my happy place and back to what I did (and still do) best: daydreaming.
What’s the best gig you’ve been to? Or What was the first gig you went to?
A difficult one as growing up in London with a fairly convincing fake ID (sorry Mum, Dad!) meant I was spoilt for choice but the Manic Street Preachers at Kentish Town forum, May 1996 is definitely up there with the best. I lost my friends, had too much snakebite and puked on my favourite fur coat and lost a shoe in the mosh pit…. However despite all that I managed to find my way to the front of the gig during From Despair to Where and I swear Nicky Wire and I made eye contact. I was on a high for weeks after that! Every now and then I see them around work and go totally fan girl and spy on them from afar! Tragic!
A special mention also has to go to the best gig I sadly never got to attend, which was Nirvana at Brixton Academy that I begged for tickets for – I don’t think I’d thought about how I’d get in! I was obsessed with Nirvana as a teenager and devastated that April 1994 when I heard the news. So much so my art GCSE had a Nirvana theme to it as a homage!
What’s your favourite album?
A double A side cassette that I listened to so much it actually broke!! Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah / Our Troubled Youth by Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear. I was massively into the riot grrrl scene in the nineties. I spent far too much time listening to this album when I should have been studying for my GCSE’s. I loved the noise, the passion, the messages and the sheer anger and rage coming from these amazing women (and men!). I went to a pretty uninspiring school and this album really helped me articulate my frustrations. It introduced me to a whole range of record labels including Wiiija, Kill Rock Stars, Too Pure and 4AD (still one of my favourites today along with Secretly Canadian).
The whole music scene totally awakened me politically; introducing me to a different philosophy and take on life. I got interested in writing for fanzines, sent copious letters to the bands at their PO addresses (no emails back then!) and even started up my own short-lived band. It was a really great scene to be a part of and helped shape opinions I still have to this day. On a lighter there isn’t a week goes by that I don’t listen to Beauty and the Beat by the Go Go’s– can’t go wrong with Our Lips Are Sealed and We Got The Beat for a massive poppy uplift.
Any stories you’d like to share from your time working in music?
I’m forever grateful for all the free vinyl I get given. My department are always green at the bits i manage to scrounge. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. And, as said earlier, I still spy on the Manic Street Preachers occasionally when they’re in the building. I just don’t drink snakebite anymore… Or wear that smelly fur coat!
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