Monday, July 29, 2013

Every Song Is A Time Machine


I was sitting in the back of the van. Or it could have been somewhere in the middle. I fail to remember the exact seating arrangements as we made our way back from abseiling and rock climbing.

Aberystwyth, Wales. That was a scary experience. I have to admit that the balls I had at the time were considerably (and metaphorically, I hasten to add) smaller; though I have now developed an attitude akin to “I’ll try anything once”, at the time the fear of heights, as well as the unappetising collection of rocks many feet below was enough to make me tap and remove my gear a lot quicker than I had put them on.

I did, however, manage to do some rock-climbing. Perhaps it is the feeling of going up, and of extending muscles to truly make that happen. Dropping down at a pace not controlled entirely by myself, with less effort, was probably something that was not wired consciously into my mind. I had enjoyed that, and it would become something of a minor activity I would indulge in some years later.

We then packed up our stuffs and headed to the center we temporarily call home, packing the van with the 15 or so public school boys that we were. The night before was one of the first nights I’ve spent away from my family, and the farting competitions were of tremendous entertainment value.

As such, you can imagine the kind of stuff we got up to in the van.

The cassette player (or was it the radio?) played its music, grinding through some selection of songs before reaching Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger. A recent hit, it made its way through the speakers, and the opening strains of the song almost immediately silenced everyone.

“Slip inside the eye of your mind…don’t you know you might find…a better place to play…”

The opening words was not something everyone knew. You know of the song, but you know what it’s like; anyone who attended a concert will know that the one, single unifying point of any song is rarely the opening few verses.

It was, is and forevermore shall be the chorus that gets our juices flowing.

And it was from this moment on, from this second, that a new memory was created, one that would be revisited time and time again in the near and far future. Anywhere I am in the world, whatever I am doing, I would be taken back to this very event in my life.

By now, the entire group sang along, everyone far more confident in the numbers.

“And so Sally can wait…she knows it’s too late as we’re walking on by…”

A song allows us to step through and back in time, a memory, an event, a life-altering moment hailed by the rhythm and verses of a musical creation.

Even if we have no particular preference for the song, or any inclination to buy the album and single, it drags us back, ripping through time and space, to the moment when that memory would be created.

“Her soul...slides away...”

You can disagree with me, but I do believe that every song is a time machine.

“Well don’t look back in anger…don’t look back in anger…I heard you say...”

At least not today.

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