The healing power of laughter… and music?
I always say that music is like a cheap holiday…
You put it on to be transported. To feel.
Depressed people are supposed to smile at themselves in the mirror. Look. You’re smiling. This must mean you are happy. The body fools the mind. The mind is doing a great job of making the body feel crappy - this is the body’s revenge! It has been proved to work. And laughter is a physical workout. And a rush of emotion. Mwa ha ha ha!
Music is a nostalgia trip and a titillator and a comforter and a heart-string yanker and an adrenalin surge and therapy…. and a….
Look! This song has come on and I just broke the speed limit - it made me do it, officer! The music! Put the musicians in jail, not me!
I just read a great quote: “write your truth and make it rhyme”. Even if it’s an imagined truth?
Why not? Still yours.
Music. Lyrics. Synergy.
Music. Performance. Audience. Communication.
Music. Power. Desire. Excellence.
Ask a better question
Followers of this blog will know that I am banging on about 2 very big things at the moment: undeniability and delivery systems.
For almost every circumstance that requires analysis, you can ask a better question.
Instead of ‘how does a band get heard?’, a better question might be ‘WHY doesn’t a band get heard?’.
I was at a soundcheck not too long ago, and in the gap between acts, the sound guy cued something up. It was “Perth” by Bon Iver. So undeniable, I bought the album. Based on one track. Full price, and the physical copy so I can read the lyrics and production credits and glean other clues as to why this record is so awesome…
And now I’m telling you.
So, Wednesday, then.
Tough gig for me - up at 5.30 to take the backline in for 8am at Hyde Park. Airport-style security, sniffer dogs and full body search etc., and then I was into the arena. All the staff at the BT Vision stage are top-notch, as is the gear that they have provided for PA and monitoring. This is going to be a great gig.
And it is. FranKo arrive at 11am to soundcheck, full of the joys of Spring (or Summer, even). The sound is as good as I’d hoped, and they are excited to be previewing a segment of new song “Take A Seat”. Right at the top of the set. This leads me to fatuously suggest that their new album should be called ‘Take’, and feature Take A Bow, Take A Seat, Take A Ticket, Take A Dump….
I am informed, in no uncertain terms, that my sense of humour has not improved.
The weather has decided to be kind and some friendly faces have turned up to see them. Always welcome :) They rattle through a tight, crisp 30 minute set that sees Pitchfork and 10 Feet make very welcome appearances.
Best of all, though, is their decision to include If Today in the set, the sound gear so good that the subtleties and dynamics of the song shine through for possibly the first time in a live context. It’s really great, and Tommy sounds impassioned and on it.
All too soon, it’s over, and we hang around to watch Spector who are on at 4pm. Best of all was our decision to catch Nik Kershaw. Yes, I know I’ve bleated on about him before, but he was awesome, playing all his biggest hits and new song “The Sky’s The Limit”.
Sir Chris Hoy and the tri-athlon brothers are wheeled out onto the main stage and we drink in the pride that is oozing from every pore on site. The athletes look awkward but proud to be in the spotlight, and there is good will being projected at them from every angle.
A Great British day out. And great for FranKo and I to be a part of it. With thanks to everyone who came down to see us.
What drives us to create, to write, to run? To be an Olympian, a rock star, a chef, a nanny?
Necessity, sometimes, sure. But I think we all have a hole to fill. There’s a certain holistic karma to knowing we all have a role to play.
Me, I can’t not create. But I don’t want to be defined by what I can’t do. Far better to make a decision that’s positive rather than a default.
“I just fell into it”, “It just happened, really” - these won’t do.
Desire first. Then everything else.
Let’s get to it!
A 9 y.o. gets his first iPod
Ineveitably, the ubiquitous iPod rears its head at my home.
I could talk to my son about vinyl, about speakers, separates, the joy of anticipating the release of a new album by your favourite band. About cover art, analysing lyrics, how important music was and is to me. But I don’t.
He wants an iPod for his birthday. A part of me is pleased. Then it comes to filling the beggar.
“What would you like, then?” I ask innocently.
“Labyrinth,” he answers decisively.
It’s not what you’re thinking.
It’s songs from the 1986 muppet movie by David Bowie. And then he wants Star Wars (better), the Tennant-era theme from Dr Who (good), Tankus the Henge (very good), and then Moshi Monster tunes.
And then more John Williams (phew) from films he likes. And then Maroon 5’s “Jagger” and (gulp) “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” by 1D. He’s heard them at the school disco. Swallowing hard, I buy them all, downloading. I realise I will have to listen to all of these in the car now, when I can’t escape.
He’s been given an iTunes card for his birthday, too. I want to instil that he should pay money for tunes, not steal them.
He wears the headphones and sings tunelessly along with everything, enjoying the sensation and blissfully unaware of the politics of music, and shouting when he speaks, as he’s not used to headphones etiquette. The subtleties (when there are subtleties) are mostly lost on him, but he knows what he wants and he knows what he likes. And he can spot a tune from a country mile away. But he also knows and likes what the music makes him FEEL.
Because then he makes it all better by asking for Prodigy’s “Firestarter”. Good boy. And then Adam & The Ants’ “Stand & Deliver”. Great!
Why these two songs? Why, that wonderful phenomenon called ‘Horrible Histories’, of course. Both these classic songs are parodied in skits based on Charles II and Dick Turpin, respectively. And why did HH pick those songs to spoof? Because they are so damn iconic and fine. My kids enjoy them because they are great upon first exposure, I enjoy them because they were great the first time round, and still are! With a witty, educational spin, and a killer delivery and accompanying visuals to boot!
Quality shining through once again.
Music and lyrics, the brokering of feel. Nostalgia and melancholy, pathos and euphoria. AND entertainment.
It’s all there, if you can find it. Pin yer ears back! Oh, and spead the word when you uncover a diamond.