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Tuesday 22 September 2015

You've Got A Friend

As I've mentioned here before, I have a couple of notebooks, of different sizes, that I tend to carry around with me. They’re very useful for scribbling down thoughts, ideas, quotes and overheard comments etc.

In one of those I wrote down the following thought, “Music is like a life-raft on the turbulent seas of life”.
I know why I wrote those words at that time, although I’m not going to share that here.
The point being that there are times in all of our lives when we need a bit of comfort, and for many of us at least a part of that comfort comes via music. You only have to listen to the lyrics of many songs to realise that this is nothing new.

Sometimes we need music to raise our spirits, to reassure us, to cry along to, to escape into, or to motivate us. There is music and a song for every occasion, emotion, mood, mindset and situation, and if you have an open mind, musically, there will always be something out there that can work wonders in one of those aforementioned situations.
I expect we’ve all been there at one time or another during our lives? In fact I’d suspect that you’re lying if you say that wasn’t the case.

I’ve been a passionate music lover for as long as I can remember. I’ve played the drums in local bands, been a DJ on local radio and with mobile disco’s, I’ve written about music in various publications and on websites.
Music has been a constant and huge part of my life and I’m very grateful for that. I find it hard to see how it can be any other way for anybody and consequently the people that I tend to mix with and choose to be friends with, usually share that passion, albeit to varying degrees.
But over recent years music seems to have increased in importance to me and I’ve found myself turning to it more and more often, and not just because of a personal situation either, but often just because I’ve felt the urge to listen to music.

I realise that music is now more accessible than it’s ever been. It seems to be everywhere, inescapable even, in this Internet age. We can find it at the click of a mouse, or the tap on a smartphone. Whether that is a good thing, or not, is a topic for another day....

I’m not sure if I’m alone, or unusual, in feeling this way, but I suspect I’m not. The more I talk to people of my age, this seems to be a common theme. Yes, as I’ve mentioned, the people I mix with are musically minded people, but even so.....

As we grow older the amount of music that we become familiar with and hear, especially if you’re open minded to it, naturally increases. Using myself as an example, I was born in the late 1950’s and since the mid ’60’s have been absorbing music of varying genre’s. Some of that is bound to sink in, like a form of osmosis, regardless of how you feel about the music itself.
I’m sure we can all recite the lyrics and sing along to songs that we’d forgotten all about, or to songs we’d rather we didn’t remember! Why can I always sing along to songs that I dislike?

Music is also something that continues to deliver, often because no matter how many times we listen to a particular song, or piece of music, there always seems to be something new to discover within it.
I have often found myself listening to a song for the umpteenth time, and suddenly hearing the lyrics, as if for the first time, and finding that they really resonate with a particular time in your life, a situation you’ve been in, or are going through.
Funnily enough, I was having a conversation with a friend about this topic just last week. A conversation during which we both mentioned exactly the same number one song from the 1980‘s. We had both heard the song recently and we’d both been suddenly struck by the relevance of the lyrics, even though we’d both listened to the song countless times over the years.

The musical library in my head is expanding everyday. More songs are being added and old songs from the distant past, are being dredged up and remembered, often like old friends. A snippet of a song on the radio, in a film, or even on a TV commercial, can transport you back decades to another time, and another place. Music, just like the sense of smell, has the power to do that.

Music can be like that life-raft, something we can cling onto in times of need. But it can also be a time-machine, transporting us back a day, a year, or even decades, to times past.
Maybe that’s the ultimate beauty of music? It can mean many different things to many different people, and we can all use it for our own ends, and needs, whatever they may be.
What else can provide such a ubiquitous and enjoyable service?

PS: Since writing this I’ve come across another note I’d written, this time on my phone. Who needs a notebook these days eh?
It was ‘scribbled down’ some months ago now: “Music is a refuge, a safe haven and a loyal friend. One that you can rely on in times of trouble”.

Music is a loyal friend that doesn’t answer back, or question you or your actions. A friend that always says exactly the right thing, at just the right time.