SigNET’s Tremayne Crossley hit headlines all over the world last week when he posted online a magical and very moving video of his close friend, Jo Milne, listening to music for the first time in 39 years!
Jo was born deaf but can now hear music after receiving cochlear implants. At Jo’s request, Tremayne created a special playlist of songs for her to listen to, a selection of which were played on the Memory Tapes slot on Lauren Laverne’s BBC 6 radio show. The video Tremayne posted on YouTube of Jo listening to speech for the first time (filmed by Jo’s mum) subsequently went viral, attracting the attention of journalists worldwide.
Explains Tremayne: “I first met Jo when she was dating a good friend of mine, I didn’t know she was profoundly deaf at the time because she was dancing! She uses the vibrations through the floor to get the tempo and then copies other people. She’s a totally mint dancer.
“Jo has never been able to hear voices or music, she just gets what can only be described as white noise through her hearing aids. She lip reads really well and talks with a Geordie accent, she has to ask people to repeat what I say though as I have a Southern accent and she has trouble understanding it!
“It was heart-breaking when her eyesight started to worsen, and although she is okay around the house or pub she has to use Matt the guide dog to get around now. NONE of this has ever stopped her being brilliant fun and a beautiful person, she has mentored so many deaf blind people and is an inspiration to everyone who knows her.
“Jo recently had a bilateral cochlear implant in an attempt to restore her hearing, this is being gradually switched on over five sessions.
“The volume has to be increased slowly to allow the brain to adjust to the new information coming from the ears. Jo told me about a guy who went grey over a one-month period due to the shock of hearing how noisy the world actually is.
“It was with this in mind that Jo asked me to put a playlist of songs together, songs that I thought she needed to hear or that would form an ‘Introduction To Music’ playlist.
“I said it would be an absolute privilege but when I sat down to start I realised how monumentally difficult it would be, and what a responsibility.
“I decided I needed to set some parameters for myself, so I rejected everything from before her birth (which got rid of anything classical or deciding what Beatles tunes to use!) and restricted myself to one tune from each year of her life.
“This was still hard as I could have filled a disc for each year! I tried not to choose anything too niche-y and stick to well-known songs that I loved or thought were important, hence, you’ve got Soft Cell and not Flux of Pink Indians!”
Here is the list of songs Tremayne selected for Joanne’s ‘Introduction to Music’
Ken Boothe – Everything I Own
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – She’s the One – Live at Hammersmith Odeon
Paul McCartney – Silly Love Songs
Joni Mitchell – Black Crow
Steely Dan – Peg
Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky
Gary Numan – Are ‘friends’ Electric?
The Specials – Do Nothing
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
The Jam – Town Called Malice
Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Prince – When Doves Cry
Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
The Smiths – Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
Fleetwood Mac – Big Love – Live (Lindsey Buckingham solo acoustic version)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
The The – August & September
Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart
Ozric Tentacles – Sploosh!
INXS – Baby Don’t Cry
Nirvana – All Apologies
Richard Thompson – King Of Bohemia
Pulp – Common People – Full Length Version / Album Version
Everything But The Girl – Missing
Foo Fighters – Everlong
Massive Attack – Teardrop
Jimmy Eat World – For Me This Is Heaven
The Avalanches – Frontier Psychiatrist
Daft Punk – Digital Love
The Streets – Turn The Page
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps
Beastie Boys – An Open Letter To NYC
Nine Inch Nails – The Hand That Feeds
Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good On The Dance floor
Radiohead – Jigsaw Falling Into Place
Elbow – One Day Like This
Maximo Park – Tanned
Gruff Rhys – Shark Ridden Waters
The Joy Formidable – Whirring
Bat For Lashes – Laura
Haim – Don’t Save Me