Random tunes

One of my definitions of indulgence is spending the time to go through editing, sorting, and re-ordering my iTunes library. I know things are okay when I have the headspace to do that. It’s what I’m doing right now.

I have about 3,500 songs in my library, from classical to country and western (more country than western), from jazz to punk to heavy metal, and everything in between.

It’s surprising the simple joy I derive from this, though I gather it’s quite common. I can very easily wile away many hours at one sitting, and still have plans to do much more.

One of the pleasures is randomly selecting on music not heard for a while and playing it again.

Right now an old song from the mid-70’s is playing – Get Up And Dance by Supercharge. Hands up anyone who knows that song!

Not long ago I played what I reckon must be one of the greatest covers of all time. I reckon Marvin Gaye singing I Heard Through the Grapevine is probably number one, but Crooked Fingers do a wicked version of Solitary Man. It’s got a truly great arrangement, quite different to any other version you’ve heard, overlaid by the gravelly, lived in voice of the singer. This is my favourite version of what is a classic song.

A few months back when I was in the old job somehow we got to discussing what our karaoke songs are. I said this, Solitary Man. My supervisor, who I always clashed with, smirked audibly at that. I was taking the piss, but she appreciated it. Besides – I have been known to sing it (with gusto).

I’ve got some random stuff in my library too. There’s an excerpt from the great Danny Kaye movie The Court Jester which is a bunch of fun, and a few years back I found the theme song from Top Cat. It was one of my favourite cartoons growing up (they don’t make ’em like that anymore), and it’s a great little ditty.

Reminds me for years I’ve tried to get the original song for the TV series The Littlest Hobo. That was a great little show – a German shepherd, the hobo of the title, goes from town to town meeting with characters, largely kids, and playing pivotal role in making a tough situation better. Then he’d go off to the next town while the music played, a melancholy piece about never settling down. God, I remember I would have tears in my eyes by the end of most episodes because I loved that dog – and by extension all dogs – so damn much.

I think the series was from the sixties. There was a later series with a different song, but the original is much more poignant. If anyone knows where I can find it…

The other thing I have to admit to is that I was an ELO fan growing up, and still have a nostalgic fondness for their music. A New World Record is one of the first LP’s I ever bought, and it’s still a cracker. And on the follow-up album, Out of the Blue, there are still a bunch of songs I count among my favourites – say top 120. Sweet Talkin’ Woman is just a great pop song, then there’s Mr Blue Sky, and Strange Magic. None of their later stuff is cutting edge except perhaps for the orchestral sound, but gee it’s feel good stuff.

So many memories. One Christmas many moons ago my father bought a JVC Quadraphonic stereo, which was quite the big deal at the time. It was a particular sound system which separated out musical components into separate streams. There were albums made specifically for this sound system, and being members of the Doubleday music club mum would buy a few albums every month – she was a great music lover too (and I still have most of those albums now).

One such album was called Latin Festival, which had South American music, There were some great tunes on that LP, Brazil, and Malaguena particularly.

Sometime after I managed to convert those tunes into MP3 files, and they’re in my library too – a direct link to another time, another life. And still great music.

Shining on

It’s Saturday morning and I’m sitting at my desk while Rigby lays at me feet licking and chewing at the big hunk of bone that’s his weekend treat. I have my iTunes library on shuffle – right now it’s REM with one of my favourite songs of theirs, Strange Currencies, before it was The Cure, and before that an old Vince Jones track, I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.

It’s a splendid song. I listened to it thinking that’s how it ought to be. Love without romance is not real full deal, and if you don’t overwhelmed and confused at some point you’re missing out on the full experience. I don’t remember when I copied this version, but it was straight from LP. It cracks and pops as it’s playing, Vince Jones plaintive and happily melancholy as he sings about how he lost his head over you. It’s a song that brings back memories. There was a girl, many moons ago, who I would walk with down Brighton Beach, one end to the other and back again, just talking, coming to know each other, feel. I fell in love with that girl and I felt it tender in me. There were times I could have wept with it, happy and grateful, and at other times confused and unsure. I listened to a lot of Vince Jones back then (he’s a great performer), and there was one song particularly that seemed to sum up how I felt: Tenderly.

It evoked those twilit nights on Brighton beach, the earnest conversations and wilful hopes. Even now I can’t hear that song without thinking of her. That’s one of the beauties, and mysteries, of music.

So many memories. Now it’s Everclear with Everything to Everyone – summer days and sweaty drinks and convertibles and bare feet and parties and the tang of an unexpected kiss from an unexpected person and the mad rush of sex for the fun of it, the morning dawning clear the day after, all good.

It’s coming to that time of year. Through the last part of winter you feel as if you have become dormant, but ahead are sunny days. It’s a sunny day today. I have a steak defrosting and I’ll flip it onto the barbie later tonight. It’s Derby Day too, the festive beginning to a festive week in Melbourne.

I went for a stroll along Hampton street early this morning to the post office at the far end. On my way back I passed by a boutique in which there must have been 10-12 fashionably attired women getting their hair coiffed or having make-up carefully applied by the experts inside. Fancy that I thought, though I wasn’t surprised. Later those same women will grace the members enclosure at Flemington, looking glamorous and feeling mighty. I’ve been there too, though minus the make-up and wearing a suit and not a frock, but it’s a grand occasion nonetheless, and there’s even some decent horses running around.

I bought my bread at the good bakery, did my shopping, bought a lotto ticket for luck, with a newspaper, and returned home.

Time to go. Pink Floyd are playing.

Whistle while you work

Strange as it might seem, there was a time when I would sing at work, or whistle. It seems odd to me now, these years later, but at the time it seemed a natural thing, and no-one ever complained. In fact I recall people smiling as I did so, and occasionally encouraging me.

Once, working after hours on a part-time cleaning job, the manager working alone in the office stopped to tell me how much it pleased him to hear me sing as I worked, to hear someone so expressively enjoying himself. That was at BMW Melbourne, where I worked 2 nights a week for a year to earn some extra cash. He was a lovely man, and I think saw in me someone a little different to what he expected.

I might be Clint Eastwood now, but back then I was someone different.  If I wasn’t singing I was wise-cracking. I reckon I spoke double what I do now, or more. It gave me pleasure. There were words in me, opinions, witticisms, and they just spilled out of me. In one job I had followers who would sit and listen and laugh and tell me I should be on radio, or have my own show. I modestly accepted that as my due.

That was the thing though: it was pleasure. I didn’t do it for the audience or to please other people, but because I had it and must let it out.

Over the years I matured and changed, as you do. I became more laconic, which was really my natural state. I might occasionally run-off my tongue, expounding on some notion, and I never stopped the witty asides, but they came from the side of my mouth.

As for the singing? Well I still sing around the house sometimes. As was revealed in that quiz last week my mum was a singer and I grew up listening to her. That was a pleasure for me. I learned all the old standards that way, and my love for music in general. When I sang aloud it was mostly the same old standards that mum had sung, word perfect after years of listening.

Cry Me a River was a favourite. The Julie London version primo. “Now you say you’re sorry…” I can hear mum singing it now. Then later I did to. It Had To Be You, What’ll I Do, Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off, I’m a Fool to Want You… At one job I went through a Nat King Cole Stage – When I Fall in Love, Pretend, even Mona Lisa, a song I’m not particularly fond of. There was Sinatra too, always Sinatra – My Way and New York, New York. I mentioned Sam Cooke the other day – well I’d sing Cupid, and Wonderful World with relish. I sang Alfie after Dionne Warwick, It’s Not For Me To Say with an authentic Johnny Mathis quaver in my voice, and I would croon like Ray Charles singing Georgia, in the shower at home, and at work.

And I whistled. I couldn’t whistle a cab these days, but back then I had a strong and sure whistle, clear and melodic. I’d mop the floors or clean out the toilets whistling as I went.

These days I will sing occasionally, when I’m cooking or doing housework. Different times though too. I’m older, and besides there is so many more opportunities to listen to music now than there were then – no iPods, no iPhones back in the day. I don’t do Karaoke much, but if I do my go to songs are My Way and Solitary Man. I still love it all though.

Don’t judge me

It’s true, two of my least favourite songs of all time – songs other people seem often to cherish – are Imagine by John Lennon, Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.

Both are too stomach-lurchingly trite and saccharine for my tastes. If I hear them I turn them off before I start to grumble too much. Let’s face it, they’re both pretty puerile, even if the sentiments are noble.

The thing is, I love other stuff by them. John Lennon is a better songwriter than that, and a legend. By himself, minus the Beatles, I’ve got eight songs of his on my iTunes.

As for Satchmo, he’s a great too. I’ve got a few of his solo stuff on iTunes, and many collaborations – with Ella Fitzgerald and Streisand, and others who he did work with.

Does this make me a cold-hearted Grinch? Maybe.

Feeling normal

I’ve made mention many times about how long it seems that I led what I think to be a ‘normal life’. A normal life is a life you take for granted. It just happens. You have your routines and habits. You go out for drinks or dinner every now and then, you catch up with friends, attend family functions, you go to the gym maybe, do your shopping at the same time and same place every week, you catch the tram or train to work. The same patterns exist within the workplace. You see the same faces, you have the same conversations, you attend the same meetings and when you go to lunch you go to one of your regular places.

I lived some variation of that life for many years, as do most people. A key component is a level of comfort and security. You have enough income to support these activities, and there’s no real threat to your complacent peace of mind. Everything fits together neatly until it is virtually a system of living.

I see this very clearly now that have very little of that. Certainly, there’s no comfort or security in my life, and there’s very little meaningful routine because I don’t have the income to support it. Even at work and back in the office environment it’s different on a superficial level because I’m just a visitor; and at a more fundamental level because I’m playing a role foreign to my authentic self, and feel it very keenly. I’m dumbing myself down, dimming myself, which is necessary to fit in, but which feels somehow insidious. I am not myself and feel a phoney.

It’s funny how you come to miss these things so much. They seem so simple and small, but the absence of them leaves gaping holes. You know very well what you no longer have – and you pine for it.

This weekend I actually set some time aside to do something which in retrospect seems to epitomise the carefree frame of mind of yesteryear: I’ve gone through my iTunes library, rating songs and adding to playlists. It’s such a frivolous activity that it feels refreshing and almost wistfully self-indulgent. It feels almost normal.

Like a lot of men I could spend many happy hours over my music library. At one stage yesterday I remembered I’d probably die one day and one of the most horrifying aspects of it was knowing that I’d never hear this music again (I’m less sure that I’d miss out on much new I haven’t heard).

I worked at that for about 2 hours yesterday, and another hour today. I made some observations which were perhaps not surprising, but which I hadn’t really defined previously.

‘My’ music pretty much falls in the period 1987 – 1997. I liked plenty of music before that, and much after, but it is the music of that decade which seemed to best fit to me. I know at the time there were so many bands whose music I eagerly anticipated, and whose LP’s I purchased as soon as I could (another part of normal life – discretionary spend).

I seemed to follow whole clumps of bands through that period – U2, REM, The Cure, Midnight Oil, The Pixies, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Crowded House, NIN, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Radiohead, and so on, bleeding into bands like The Dandy Warhols, Ben Harper, Foo Fighters, The Verve, The Whitlams and the like at the tail-end of it.

Some of the albums released in this period are objective classics but hold great subjective meaning to me also. Losing My Religion, for example, by REM, was a great album released at an interesting time of my life – the great title song still reminds me of a particular woman. I recall concerts I went to through this period – Pink Floyd at the tennis centre minus Roger Waters in 1988, and Roger Waters solo 10 years later at the same venue; U2 at the MCG, where I saw Paul McCartney also; Peter Gabriel at the tennis centre, and Hunters and Collectors at the Palais, and so on…

It’s a period of time which coincided with my maturity also. I wonder if it is coincidence that the music I like best arrived just as I was properly becoming a man – but I suspect it is. In any case, these were my burgeoning years. Post that I was to build on the foundations I set then and climb steadily to a life that at one stage might be termed supra-normal. Back then though it was all energy and attitude, hunger and supreme confidence (in memory – doubtless there were many times I struggled and had cause to doubt. It was not all smooth sailing). I was striving to make a name for myself and to enjoy every delight life had to offer up.

As I look back it seems a soundtrack to my life then, as indeed it was. And oftentimes hearing those songs again – as I have these last two days – I recall vividly what it was like to live back then.

Funny thing is I was only coming to understand what normal life was then. The standard was in the process of being set, the pattern established. How I wanted it all though

The songs that tell that the tale

I went for a drive at lunchtime yesterday to the nearest shopping centre, the car radio on as I drove the short distance from work. On the radio Wherever I Lay My Hat starting playing, the Paul Young version (as opposed to Marvin Gaye), which is not only a great song (a rare case of the cover being better than the original), but a song that resonates with me for other reasons.

Listening I was cast back to the early to mid-eighties. I was young then. I had energy and spunk and a shitload of ambition. I was ambitious about everything, and hungry to the point of being ravenous. It’s a time of your life when everything seems bigger, louder, more colourful. Breaking free from school and the home of your parents and life suddenly seems wonderfully vivid. It did to me anyway.

Women were a big part of that. I’d experienced the usual adolescent urges, and was busting to get loose once I turned officially legal and independent. I don’t think that was uncommon, and probably isn’t still. At that age you’re full of juice. What may be uncommon is that I still feel much the same now as I did then in many ways.

Somewhere in that decade while living this life the song began to mean something to me. I listened and felt much like the eponymous character, his melancholy denials proclaiming my own restless and unreliable lust. Once more I think that’s likely a familiar conceit. Who doesn’t see themselves in the lyrics of a song sometimes, or in a character on the big screen? At the time it was no more than that.

At some point, I fell in love for the first time, and it was a kind of revelation for me. Up to then though I was uninterested in anything serious, or so I convinced myself (at heart I was, and remain, a romantic). I had a cynical and flippant disregard for the very idea of love, and all the fripperies that attach to it. Get outta here! I was too busy having fun.

Then you fall in love and everything changes. Some things change forever, but other things just as long as you feel it. That love passed, and it left me devastated for a while – that romantic self was badly bruised. Then it hardens. It’s done. You remember it, but you’ve moved on. And though you have an eye out for it now you don’t cool your heels just waiting for it to come your way again. You’re hungry still after all. And now you have a harder edge to you. You’re more mindful and aware, less inclined to be impressed by the surface realities and the novelties of being a big boy now. Without knowing it, without thinking, I fell into some of the same habits – ways of being? – as before, though with an entirely new motivation.

When I fancied myself like the character in the song I almost certainly wasn’t, but in the years after I became more so. I hear lines in this song and memories are recalled, memory memes more than specific memories, laid upon each other over a stretch of years.  “…you keep telling me, I’m your man,” one line goes, the singer frustrated by his companion’s deluded hope, the misguided light in her eyes. I’ve been told that too, and variations of it, seen that look in their eyes, and mostly – not always – felt no, I’m not, and I can’t be. Can’t be because I was not made for that mould, not that person, not the ideal they saw in me. Mostly I thought that with a kind of weary sadness, as if it was something I would change if I could.

I’m sure there are women out there who today might read this and recognise the truth of it, too late. When I was a kid, not yet 10, there was another song I cottoned onto, Lee Marvin in his gravelly voice singing Wandrin’ Star (a song I love to this day)It appealed to me and I would sing it as a kid and now looking back I see a theme emerge, this desire, for whatever reason, for independence, and more than that, to explore, to travel, in mind as much as body, to experience – and the corollary of that, to not be stuck anywhere, the resistance towards status quo, the distrust of belonging to anything or anyone, the need to stand as an individual.

There’s some rich psychological stuff in there. Go for it, Freud.

I know it though. I’m not oblivious and haven’t been for many years. I’m knowing and self-aware and very often self-observing. For what it’s worth the romantic in me exists still, and I would love to be swept off my feet and tumble into something that was beyond my control.

The song ended, then another song came on from some time back then – Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Under The Bridge, another great song. More memories, of driving to work, of a girl, and another song related that spoke to me, Soul To Squeeze.

More memes. Life palimpsest.

Dumb talking heads

I’m curious about this. I was at a barbecue on Melbourne Cup today. We were sitting outside in the sunshine, had finished lunch and were sitting back talking, drinking and listening to music. A song came on, Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads. One of my mates immediately commented “the girls hate this song.”

I hadn’t time to be properly surprised at this when a woman next up to me piped up affirming that very point. Then her sister sitting next to her agreed.

I was astounded. As far as I’m concerned it’s  a great song by a great group. From what I can gather though, it seems that for many – and seemingly many women – this song induces a bleak existential angst. The lyrics, which at some point pronounce “this is not my life” are taken to be depressingly negative. I’ve never encountered that response before, and every bloke I know loves the song. Is this a real thing?

In hindsight I’m surprised I didn’t delve further. I was in lively conversational form and this piqued my curiosity. Perhaps I feared getting into an argument?

Driving home I thought about it. The whole conversation displeased me. I liked the women, but this reaction seemed ridiculous, even dumb, and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I don’t find the song lyrics depressing. They’re provocative perhaps, but not in the simplistic way that some obviously see them. If anything I think they pose a worthwhile query. Perhaps that is the issue. It’s a question that makes some uncomfortable with the answer?

Me, I’d rather face the uncomfortable questions than avoid them for being too close to home. Still, I can’t believe this is an issue. Que?

Memories of Floyd

On Friday night I sat down with my nephew to watch a documentary on the making of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd way back in 1975.

My nephew I suspected wanted to watch something else, but I got to the remote  ahead of him. He’s only 16, and not a great music lover in any case. A band like Pink Floyd must have seemed like ancient history to him, I figured. We chatted on that though as the program began, and he told me likes the older music, and none of the current stuff. He’s a thoughtful kid, and I sensed watched the program with as much fascination as I did.

Pink Floyd is one of my favourite bands. I’ve had a reverence for Roger Waters particularly ever since I got a handle on the band. Somehow I respected his stubborn intensity – perhaps understanding of it in some personal way; and his lyrics are provocative and intelligent.

Since Pink Floyd split off into factions fans have tended to one camp or the other. There was Roger Waters, then there were the rest of them. In truth every member of Pink Floyd were talented artists, and each had their moment. The counterpart to Waters was Dave Gilmour. For me it was natural to incline towards Waters because it was his view of the world that seemed the spiritual heart of the band. Against that was  Gilmour’s immensely influential guitar playing, and the iconic guitar licks he wrote and played. The reality is probably as it seems: together they did wonderful things, apart they are mediocre. Waters continues with his intelligent, occasionally coruscating songwriting, but without the musical inspiration of Gilmour and the others; and Pink Floyd has lost focus and bite without the passion of Waters.

These are arguments that Pink Floyd lovers could carry on for hours in pubs all over the world. On Friday night we were locked into a moment of time, before the split and any of that meant anything, in 1975 when they wrestled  with the creation to the follow-up to Dark Side of the Moon.

I seem to recall watching a doco about that a few years ago, and writing about it here. That was an iconic album of genius. Wish You Were Here would rival that, but it’s creation was much more difficult. Watching scenes recorded back then interspersed with Waters, Gilmour, etc today reflecting on it all was fascinating.

I was aware of my nephew sitting beside me for several reasons. For his father, who died earlier this year, Pink Floyd was his second favourite band after the Beatles. He was an obsessive music fan, to a degree that it makes almost shocking to find his children have only a cursory interest in it (which, however, seems consistent with the times – my generation were much more connected to the music of the day than this generation). I told my nephew how in 1988 I went with his father to see Pink Floyd in concert at the tennis centre. It remains the best concert I’ve been too.

At the same time I sensed my nephew was absorbed in the cultural history we were being served up with. My nephew loves history, has a fascination for things that have gone before. He mentioned he had done a quiz that told him the sixties was his era. Here on screen was a time 40 years  past, a different era, though recognisable. The fashions were different, people wore their hair differently, and yes, the music was different too. But there were names that any half smart person should recognise, as he did.

I lived through that era, though I was young, and my memories of it sketchy and scattered. I was glad to have lived then. It seemed a freer time, a time both more impulsive and more innocent. I reflected how lucky I was to have lived through such an interesting passage of time. I often think these days – and others agree – that I grew  up in the right time. It was better being a child when I was than it is now.

For my nephew it’s not nostalgia he feels, but history he absorbs. If he could go back he  would, I’m sure. He can’t, all he can do is read about it, can watch programs as we did the  other night, and otherwise tap into those of us who were there. For once I felt that responsibility, but was glad of it. These are our lives, his, mine, his father’s, the journey we share and pass on.


My 2013 music

It seems most years I put together a post listing out my favourite music from the year before. I haven’t done that for 2013 as yet, and it’s because I’ve forgotten. It’s been on my mind periodically to get it done, but each time I think it it feels like a chore. I love music, tres, but geez, without sounding like an old fogey, there’s much less music I love today than there used to be.

In fact, it’s rare these days I can match the word ‘love’ to the word ‘music’ when it comes to recent releases. There’s the odd bit of musical inspiration that stands out like a nugget of gold in a pile of slag, but you wouldn’t hold your breath searching for it. I acknowledge that I have become one of those people who think things musical were in the past, but I also understand why.

I was brought up on rock music, and particularly guitar rock, and I guess what you might call classic pop. Rock music doesn’t get much of a go on the mainstream radio networks, and the depth of authentically good rock bands is pretty thin. Pop music still exists, in a way, but in large part very different from what it was. My impression of the current music scene is that it is dominated by female performers whose audience are teenage girls in large part, and electronic-based music. The good old days of grunge are long gone.

That being said here’s my belated list for 2013. Bear in mind that these are relative. If you compare the list I put together today to one I might have compiled 20 years ago then the list 20 years ago would be far superior, averaging I would think a full extra star. In fact, there are songs that wouldn’t make the list 20 years ago which I would consider superior to most on this list. That’s how depleted the once rich music scene has become.

Here it is:

Do I Wanna Know? – The Arctic Monkey’s

This was my favourite song for the whole year. I’d listen in the car driving, turning it up and banging my hand on the steering wheel in time to it. Clever song from a band that has really matured. Reckon their album AM was the best of the year. Why’d  You Only Call Me When You’re High? another top song, on an album of very good songs.

From Can to Can’t – Corey Taylor, Dave Grohl, Rick Nielsen & Scott Reeder

This is another song I’d bang the steering wheel too. Like any grown man with good-sized balls, I love Dave Grohl. He’s the sort of dude I’d happily hang out with over a slab, and the Foo Fighters are possibly my favourite band and the last real rock hold-out. This song swells and builds, heavy on the drums, jangling guitars that get the pulse racing, good old-fashioned fucking grunt music, but with intelligence. Comes from the soundtrack to Sound City – From Real to Reel.

Applause – Lady Gaga

I’m a little bit embarrassed putting this here, but the truth is that this is a driving, compulsive bit of music. You can’t help but listen to this and feel yourself flowing with energy, and itching to get up on the dance floor. If it makes me want to dance it must be good. Lady Gaga is by no means my kind of music, but I admire her.

Happy – Pharrell Williams

Yep, another song I’m a tad embarrassed to have here, but not because it’s no good but because it became such a massive mainstream hit. I’m too cool for that. I’d have rated this song higher, except that, in the way of these times, it got completely overdone. It’s a good song though, and the lilt and melody epitomise the subject matter. It’s a bright and optimistic song that leaves you feeling fine. And I like Pharrell.

Resolution – Matt Corby

The only Aussie on this list, this is a good song. Not great, but good. Hopefully, it’s a harbinger of more and better things coming from Corby.

Old Skin – Olafur Arnalds (featuring Arnor Dan)

This is the odd song out here. Most would never have heard of either the song or the singer. Even I have to ask, who the fuck is Olafur Arnalds? This is a quieter, melodic song, tinkling piano building into a fuller sound overlaid by a plaintive male voice. It’s a seductive song you feel as much as hear. One of those songs you hear in the background and wonder what’s that?

That’s the official list, but I’ll make reference to a few others in passing. Gotye partnered up with Perfect Tripod to cover the old Reels classic Quasimodo’s Dream. The more I listen to it the more I think it should be on the list. It’s a great song, this is a very good version, and Gotye is always excellent. I encourage you to seek it out.

Another notable cover was Heart doing Stairway to Heaven at the Kennedy Centre. Check it out on YouTube.

Another Aussie, Vance Joy, had a monster hit locally with Riptide. Clever song, clever film clip. And liked John Newman singing Love Me Again. He’s a great voice and you find this song hooking you. Retrograde, by James Blake, gets you as well if you’re willing to give it time.

Finally, mention must go to Queens of the Stone Age. Their album, …Like Clockwork, was maybe next best after the Arctic Monkeys in my opinion. And their song The Vampyre of Time and Memory belongs on this list too. Understated, but powerful.

That’s it for 2013. Worth noting that I only added 18 songs to my iTunes library last year. Considering I have about 3,500 songs in total that’s pretty scant, but tells a tale.

My love don’t like crap music

About 15 years ago – a time almost inconceivable – I cottoned onto a song that for a fair while epitomised everything I hoped for when it came to love. This is not something you would talk about, either then or now, though it’s okay to post anonymous commentary on it. The song was I Need Love, by Luka Bloom. For a while I thought it was a great song, and though I haven’t heard it for a while reckon it’s still pretty cool. I listened to it all the time back then, as you do when you riff on a song and a feeling. Yeah, I thought, that’s what I need to, and that’s how I need it.

About that time I was falling in love, and so the song had a particular resonance for me. I listened to the words relating them back to what I felt, and looking at her. Ultimately I ended up including it on a mix tape that I left under her pillow as I took my leave.*

I make mention of this now because of the dream I had the other day, and wondering what song it was I dreamt of. It wasn’t this, but it approximates the sentiment. The other reason is that a woman sent me a song the other night, have a listen to this before you go to bed, she said.

I actually listened to it the next day as I was going into the shop. It was a bit of a nothing song, though clearly it meant something to her. It got me wondering about the nature of these things. What happens when someone you like recommends a dud song to you? Worse still, that person you’re getting all squishy about as you start falling in love makes you a mix tape full of just rubbish music. You can imagine that sinking feeling as you listen to a mindless combo of bubblegum pop and inane dance music. Is it enough to kill off fledgling love? I suspect it is.

That’s how I’m feeling. Attractive as she is, I deeply bored by this woman who sends all sorts of things all the time. I’m too well-mannered to tell her – there’s nothing worse than being told you’re boring. That’s what I am, bored by her conversation and befuddled by the variety of links and music she sends me, none of which is particularly profound. Truth is, boredom kills desire. She could do the dance of the seven veils before me and I doubt I’d feel a thing.

That’s something that should end, which is ironic because I effectively ended it the other day with someone I have a much closer rapport with.

I like her. Fun, smart, confident lady. She likes me. We’re just in different places, and I felt I had to tell her. Sure, we can do all the things she was so eagerly teasing me with, but the fact is you’re not what I’m after, and I don’t think that’s something I can compromise on yet. That’s pretty well what I said. It seems hard-line, but you can’t go leading people on believing something that isn’t the case. I’d love to have red-hot sex with her, and may still, but the bottom line is that I want kids still, and she’s got all she wants.


* Do people still do mix tapes? It’s a bit different now that tapes – cassettes – have virtually ceased to exist. And I tend to think it’s a bit of a generational thing. Plus the crap music these days doesn’t encourage it either.