Waxing Lyrical

I expect you’ve all been wondering what I’ve been doing to relax after taking my final exam of the semester (and indeed of my degree, as the rest of my modules are essay-assessed) on Thursday, and I can reveal I have been unwinding and giving myself a well-earned rest by… well, preparing the final draft of my dissertation plan and reading some more secondary criticism on female hagiography. But enough of my crazy shenanigans.

I felt impelled to blog today after a very touching conversation with my father. I don’t often get this personal on this blog, but this discussion really made me pause for thought and I think beautiful moments like this should be shared.

Today I did something I rarely do: I went to my Papa and asked him for some meaningful advice. Don’t get me wrong – my father and I have a wonderfully close relationship, but when it comes to problem-solving I normally turn to my Mama first.Β  Papa is always more of a silent shoulder (equally crucial to me), but today I felt the urge to ask for his wisdom. I had been debating a decision all day – a decision that in the greater scheme of things was really quite insignificant, but one that meant a lot to me – about whether I should confront someone, (like I said – I don’t do ‘personal’ on this blog, so I won’t go into detail.)

After offering some words of encouragement that genuinely helped, he suddenly got up and moved to his study, saying: “I know a song that will help you make up your mind.”

My Papa has what can only be described as a monumental C.D collection – literally thousands lining the walls of his study – and his frenzied passion for music has deeply coloured my childhood memories, as he educated me on some of the greatest artists in the world on the long car journeys we shared (it is from him I got my love of Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Vonda Shepard and bizarrely Gloria Estefan and Catatonia.)

For this reason, I knew that whatever he found for me a) would help in just the way he said it would b) would become an intensely special song to me. And it did.

Again, revealing the song would give more away of the problem than I feel comfortable with, but I can reveal the artist he played was the hauntingly honest Dory Previn. We listened together, I shed a tear, and I immediately took the C.D upstairs to burn it to my iTunes library as it had inevitably gained a special place in my heart.

It’s funny how music – whether dancing along to Yellow Submarine or Show Me The Way Back To Your Heart in the car when I was seven, singing Hide and Seek on the back of a school bus with my best friend, or listening peacefully to Dory Previn on a rainy Saturday – can fuse you to a moment in time and to a person. Even funnier how it can bring a moment of clarity that helps you make a difficult decision so much more resolutely than mere words.

Do you have songs that have defined a moment in your life? I think we all do, but I’d love to discover how music has shaped you.

Image taken from seier+seier+seier‘s photostream.


6 thoughts on “Waxing Lyrical

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Waxing Lyrical Β« No Day But Today. -- Topsy.com

  2. They’re not exactly what you would call a sentimentel songs on their own but “Leave, Get out” by JoJo and “Babycakes” (I forget the artistes”, remind me of a fantastic summer I had back when I was at secondary school. Two friends and I, spent a lot of time round at the eldest’s house, doing not much at all except watching music channels and having bbq’s when the sun came out for a bit. We didn’t have to go to work in the day and even when she (the eldest) got some bar work, the other friend and I stayed at hers and cooked a 3 course meal for her. Much hilarity was had with her little cousin baking a cake with us.

    I’m trying to think of a more poignant one but that was a really happy time and I wish I could have summers like that again.

  3. Aww, your Papa sounds great πŸ™‚
    I know I’ll have many, if I sit and think about it (and I think I will) but what immediately jumps to mind is My Old Friend The Blues, many versions of which I love, but The Proclaimers’ being the one I listen to repeatedly. They played it as their encore last time I saw them live and it absolutely made my week πŸ˜€
    The reason is this: I always wanted to be a musician. Incidentally, I got it from my dad, teaching me to read music before I could read words. I worked hard for years at piano, clarinet, sax, and the academic side at school, got all the prospectuses from Guildhall, Royal College, Royal Welsh… and then when it came to choosing my degree, I had a panic. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t good enough. I absolutely no way could stand on a stage and have loads of ears and eyes paying attention to me. So I gave up on it, and did the ‘sensible’ thing. I went and did Maths, where I knew I could sit in a corner and not draw any attention to myself, and where if I did anything wrong, there’d be no audience to know about it.
    So, I did a year and a half, was desperately unhappy with it, and ended up failing everything spectacularly. I had a major ‘What the hell am I doing, screwing everything up?’ chat with myself, with my mum and dad, and even with some teachers at school who I went back to ask. Eventually I realised that I’d made a big mistake a couple of years earlier, and changing to study music was undoubtedly the best decision I’ve ever made.
    This song didn’t help me make the decision, or anything, but I do remember sticking it on itunes the day I sorted everything out and crying with relief for a moment or two *blush* It’s one of my favourite songs now – listening to it when things get stressful reminds me that I’m in a good place πŸ™‚

    Just when every ray of hope was gone
    I should have known that you would come along
    I can’t believe I ever doubted you
    My old friend the blues

    Lovers leave and friends will let you down
    But you’re the only sure thing that I’ve found
    No matter what I do I’ll never lose
    My old friend the blues

    Sorry for the essay!

  4. Wow, those are great responses!
    Jayne – I love how some songs remind you of a particular summer – songs that remind you of good times can be as poignant as ones that remind you of sadder occasions. πŸ™‚ Sounds like a great summer.

    Claire – that is a beautiful story. πŸ™‚ That song could not be more perfect for your situation! I’m glad everything worked out OK, I know I’ve had similar nightmares when it comes to degree choices etc. And yes, my Papa is amazing. πŸ˜€

  5. You know I do, I just cannot think of them, I have a few songs that when I listen to, they take me back to a time in my past, sometimes a good memory, sometimes a bad, but nevertheless, take me back.

    One such song is ‘Everlong’ by Foo Fighters, I mean, to this day it’s my favourite song in existence but when I listen to it, it takes me back to one of the greatest nights of my life so far! The time I saw them live in concert, it sends shivers down my spine when I hear it again. Brings up such great memories.

    I wish I had more nights that were as great as that one.

    I’m not even sure if this has much to do with what you’re asking, but it made me smile πŸ™‚

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