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Music was my first love - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
Music was my first love
I spent Friday night dancing to the soundtrack to my life. Four hours of the sort of indie music that carried me through adolescence and undergraduacy: the songs I listened to in my room, the songs I sang along to and danced to, the songs I broke my heart to, and the songs that made it whole again.

For a moment as I heard the opening notes of "The Drowners" it was the early 1990s again, and I was a shy confused teenager dreaming of some kind of gilt-edged glorious beauty that I barely knew existed. Later, dancing to "Ever Fallen in Love (with someone you shouldn't've)", I almost felt as though I was back at Oxford, back in the sticky cellar of a tacky club, dancing at him while he danced at her and all of us knowing we'd go home lonely. But even the happiest songs have melancholy B-sides: I tried not to think of why "Rebel Rebel" used to make me smile. You have to just keep on dancing; "There's no other way".

The newer songs give me the thrill of still being in touch; it's good to know that somebody can still "Take me out" and I'll know enough words to sing along. "Do you remember the first time?" -- I do, and the last time, and all the times between. I remember those first "Teenage Kicks", when we thought we'd invented love and sex and the whole wide world all over again, and I remember every radio "Transmission" that gave me another set of words by which to understand the world, another reason to spend my pocket money on records I could hardly afford. And sometimes it all piles up like dust against the stylus until all you can hear is noise.

But all the time I'm writing new layers of meaning over each song as I copy out the lyrics into the margins of my life; this time I cried at "Just Like Heaven", and laughed at "Love will tear us apart", and looked back at the heartbreak wreckage of all the songs I'd lived through, and wondered how on earth I got here from there. "Letting the days go by", I guess.

*

On Saturday I went to acronym's birthday party, where he premiered his new EP. I am always awed when someone who counts me as a friend can actually create music rather than just endlessly listening to it and borrowing it and quoting it like I do. We sat and tried to listen unobtrusively, so as not to embarrass Andrew, but intelligently, giving his music the attention it deserved. It's good stuff; intricately interwoven electronica that still manages to sound clear and uncluttered. It's tinged with a loneliness that I've seen up close and personal. It's part of the pattern of somebody else's life, and I count myself privileged to see it.

Yesterday, at Andrew's excellent birthday dinner, he talked about plans for setting up a record company; tangentially, lnr and I recalled Richard Lanyon who we'd both known at Oxford, who'd been in a band and set up his own record company. "John Peel actually phoned him up!" we reminisced delightedly. That, we unspokenly agreed, was the pinnacle of musical cool: for the legendary John Peel to phone up somebody we actually knew.

*

John Peel died today.

That faint scratching sound you can hear, like a catch in the throat, is the needle hitting the end of the record again and again. The song's over.
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Comments
verlaine From: verlaine Date: October 26th, 2004 08:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I know Richard Lanyon! He was often round at our house when kauket lived with us. Apparently the other week he was projectile vomiting at the party that bluedevi was at while I was being dolled up to look like Virginia Woolf. I think I had the better evening... just.
barnacle From: barnacle Date: October 29th, 2004 12:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

The rest is noise

"Hi, Richard, it's uh John here, John Peel. I'm just letting you know that I've got your letter, so thanks for that, but I can't seem to find the demo CD anywhere. Can you ring me back on XXX XXXX XXXX? Cheers."

[Five minutes pass]

"Hi, it's John Peel again. I've uh found the CD. It was still in the envelope. Speak to you soon, then."

... tk.    tk.    tk.    tk.    tk.    tk....
barnacle From: barnacle Date: October 29th, 2004 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Art of noise

Actually, Richard tells it far better. I think because he tries to do the accent.
From: bibliogirl Date: October 26th, 2004 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)
As usual, you expressed this so much better than I could've...
juggzy From: juggzy Date: October 26th, 2004 09:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Jan. You get to the heart of it, as always.
fivelongdays From: fivelongdays Date: October 26th, 2004 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
OK, so I'm an LJ friend of an LJ friend of an LJ friend, but, frankly, that tribute to Peel brought tears to my eyes.

And would that be the same Richard Lanyon who went to Wadham College, back in the day?
j4 From: j4 Date: October 26th, 2004 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
the same Richard Lanyon who went to Wadham College

That's the one, yes. Now wondering how many other friends(-of-friends-of-friends) we have in common... it's a small world!
fivelongdays From: fivelongdays Date: October 26th, 2004 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I dunno if I ever met him, but I knew the name from way back when. I take it you were involved in the Oxford music scene in someway at some point?

Oh, and can I be cheeky and add you? You can, if you wish, add me right back.

Cheers

FLD
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 26th, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well said. Thank you.
From: besskeloid Date: October 26th, 2004 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
A fine entry. Thank you, Ms.
lnr From: lnr Date: October 26th, 2004 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Miss!

(As someone who gets annoyed at being call Miss :-)
From: minnesattva Date: October 26th, 2004 08:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

someone we actually knew

I am always awed when someone who counts me as a friend can actually create music rather than just endlessly listening to it and borrowing it and quoting it like I do.

I know what you mean. I watched stealthmunchkin play a gig at the Cavern last night, and it was crazy that someone I knew was singing songs that I knew ... even crazier, though, is that if I hadn't been ill these past couple weeks he would've made me learn the songs and stand up there with him, playing and singing them. He still wants to do that; it's one of the reasons he wants me to move to Manchester permanently. And today he told me I should write some lyrics for him (he thinks I'm better with words than he is) ...

Music shouldn't be so accessible! It's one of those things that other people do!

Lovely entry, by the way. I've read so much about John Peel today, and this is one of my favorite of all those things.
From: ghirlracer Date: October 28th, 2004 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Great tribute - I hadn't heard of his death when I first read this a couple of days ago, and the ending totally stunned me, tbh... I went to the BBC News site too quickly to comment at the time, but I'm back again now, and your post sums it up so well.
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