So here I am yet again, unable to sleep due to my royally fucked-up sleep pattern of late. I know, I know being on the Macbook isn’t gonna help but I may as well be productive with my time. I have a sneaky feeling that I may have accidentally grabbed the regular teabags, instead of the decaf, yet again (oh the perils of being so very British!)
A chance encounter with MTV this evening has got me thinking (shock horror) Apart from the blatantly obvious, standard responses, I was thinking earlier how if you were to ask me about my happiest memories or times in my life, I would draw a blank. Or so I thought.
I don’t know if it’s the same for ‘normies’ also but music has the most profound impact on me imaginable. I have to be so freaking careful about the music I listen to, as a melancholy track that holds a memory can send me spiralling downwards before you say, “Change the fucking channel!” Thankfully, it works both ways however and my mood can be lifted also, generally by country music.
But the thing with music is that I hold the associated memories so close to my heart that something which triggers a happy memory then causes me to feel sorrow for that which is no more. Does that make sense?
As I was flicking through cable trying to find something to capture my fleeting attention span, I stumbled across MTV’s Ultimate Rock Top 20. I was born and raised a rock chick. It forms so much of who I am, which sounds ridiculously cliche, but I discovered myself and the fact that I am not one to conform through the bands that inspired and excited me as I hit adolescence.
As I perched on the sofa to see whether I agreed with the bands that had made the countdown, a smile spread across my face. Pearl Jam. Enter the incredible Eddie Vedder. Within moments I was transported back to my bedroom – my safe haven against all the emotional shit that wreaked havoc with my childhood. I was back in my lilac painted room, laying on my black futon, glancing up at my giant Pearl Jam poster which had its own corner whilst the rest of the room was a virtual shrine to Hollywood legend, Marilyn Monroe.
All of a sudden, I felt sad. I realised that this great, uplifting video full of long-haired 90’s musicians in checked shirts and ripped blue jeans, rocking the fuck out before stage diving into an adoring crowd was approximately 20 years old. 20 fucking years!!! How the actual fuck did that happen?!? I sat contemplating in amazement and sorrow at the thought that 2 decades have passed since I was that ‘Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!’ (you see what I did there? RATM ruled also!) kid who was ready to take on the world. 20 fucking years. Jeez.
So no, if you asked me to name my happiest memories, I would probably struggle with anything other than the obvious, but play me the soundtrack to my life and I’m there smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
I think of my life in chapters, each defined by the style of music that I was listening to at the time. I hear Silverchair and I’m taken back to the day I met my best friend in Design Technology – he thought it was cool that I had graffitied my folder with the Frogstomp artwork and being from Australia I thought that he was just about the coolest thing ever – he might as well have practically known them for all I knew.
I hear Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic by RHCP and I am transported to the coach trip I took around New England with my mum just a few short years after my dad had died. I also remember Mum’s incessant “Will you turn it down!” as my foam walkman headphones did little to ensure that it was only me that got to enjoy Anthony Kiedis’ vocals.
If I hear Motley Crue’s “Don’t go away Mad’ I am sat at my very-very removed relatives dining room table in Toronto enjoying a real family Christmas. This was less that 10 years ago and was the closest thing I have ever had to the sorts of family Christmases that you see in films. After we’d had our fill of turkey, marshmallow yams and all sorts of deliciously decadent things that the British just don’t do, my Uncle and Cousin got their acoustic guitars out and played some Crue. It was wonderful.
And ‘Fat Lip’ but Sum41. It was to that song that I met ‘The One who got Away.’ He said he fell in love with me the moment he looked into my eyes (after I over-enthusatically danced and moshed around, landing my incredible heavy and cumbersome boots on his toe). That song breaks my heart now for ‘What could have been…’
‘Undercover’ by Pete Yorn is the soundtrack to my diagnosis. That song encapsulates the feeling of freedom that I gained when the puzzle pieces finally fell into place and it all made sense to me why my whole life I never fit in and how just living life always seemed so damned easy for everyone around me. How was it that my friends were able to get up without fail every single day and just do it? How was it that they didn’t need to spend their break times hidden behind locked bathroom doors just sobbing and trying to ‘pull it together’ in time for the next lesson. Whereas most people may have felt despair at their diagnosis, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders – this was who I am. For the first time in my life I accepted myself.
This also reminds me of a highly amusing (with hindsight) anecdote about how music once tried to kill me. But that’s a different story…