A Day Late and a Dollar Short: sorry about that.
In response to my last post, I was reminded that as well as the quality of the music I listen to and the pride I have in where it’s from, my enjoyment also stems from the place this music holds in the story of my life.
This struck a chord with me (it really did: the pun is coincidental). The events of my life, such as they are, have almost all been accompanied by some kind of music. there’s the obligatory “Our Song”, there’s the music that was playing when I read three quarters of The Amber Spyglass for the first time over the course of 8 hours. there’s also music my brothers played while I was growing up and music that swept the nation when I was a teen.
All of it, the entire soundtrack, pulls memories inexorably from wherever they’re stored and leaves them glistening dully in the light of Today. Sometimes this is great: I love that I can put on the record that I fell in love to and it’ll always make me smile with memories of hot chocolate and midnight on the river. Sometimes it’s unwelcome: we don’t always want to remember the past.
I think the thing that amazes me about these stories is the way they’re different for each of us, just like Kanji sound different in different parts of a word. the songs we listen to tell more than one story: there’s the one the lyricist wanted to tell, there’s the ones we make for ourselves by listening as a part of our own lives, and there’s the stories that everybody else who’s heard the song could tell.
Popular music, globalised and marketed, tells millions of stories with each play, and in some way all of that makes music more than just a form of entertainment: music is more like a key that unlocks hundreds upon hundreds of boxes, each containing a fragment of our species’ history. It’s easy to believe that what makes us human isn’t our tools and our houses, our writing or our exploration, but rather the music that we make each and every day, and the tale that music will come to tell.
I’ll see you next time.
This is from the