Thursday, November 19, 2015

To You, Who Is Heartbroken

I see you sitting there, with your broken heart and sad little mouth... you look bewildered. I'm sorry you're cross. I'm sorry that someone didn't see in you what I see, but it doesn't mean that great stuff isn't there.

Let your mother tell you a little story to explain how it is... it won't make you feel better, because only chocolate, sleep and shouting will do that, but it'll help you realise this is only the first time you'll be broken, not the last.

Back in the olden days...

Yes, before mummy drank the magic potion that made her 6 foot and blonde, back in the...

Oh, yes, way before Daddy bought Mummy the Taj Mahal, back in the...

Yes poppet, it was just before the population of the UK got so confused and disinterested in politics that they voted in meerkats rather than humans.

Back in the olden days, before music got piped straight into your ears from a satellite by the good people at Bang, Olufsen and Offspring of Unspecified Gender, we used to have to go out and buy music on little discs.

This disc would be put into a machine and it would spin round and round, and music would come out of these big boxes on either side, called speakers. Everyone in the room would hear the music, not just the ears it was aimed at. We used to have parties back then...

Well, a party, my angel, was where you went to meet people... that's how we did dating.

No, it was ever so slightly before Tindr.

No, Mummy and Daddy met before Tindr.

Um, kind of romantic, yes... remind me one day to tell you never to get drunk at the Edinburgh Festival and go home with one of your mates thinking sex wouldn't change anything. You're in grave danger of winding up extremely married.

You could buy music in two different formats.

Singles. And Albums.

A single was just one song, possibly with some back up terrible songs to pad it out a bit. It was cheap to buy and it got you just that one song, with maybe a remix that no one in their right mind would listen to.

An album was a fully thought out collection of songs from that one artist. It was arranged in a specific way, usually, and sometimes had a theme or a story or developed in style through the album or it was sometimes a fairly steady adventure through one genre.

This is what you need to know about people.

Some people in your life will be a single. They will come bursting into your existence and you will want to play them 24 hours a day, sorry 26 hours a day...

We used to have 24, my dear, but no one listened to Scandinavia when they said a shorter work day was more productive.

You will be obsessed with that single. It will be the best thing you've ever heard and you'll play it to everyone you know, staring at them as they listen and hoping they love it as much as you do. They won't.

That one song will encapsulate everything you feel about a time in your life. You'll know it inside out. You'll listen to the other song on the single once or twice, but it doesn't give you that same feeling and you'll try and shut it out of your mind that you don't love other parts as much as the bit you first heard.

Then, the time for that single will be over. You'll get bored of that single and you'll stop listening to it because a new one has come along.

You will be a single to other people's lives too. Some people will come and love you passionately and briefly.

There are tips I can tell you for how to make it less brief and more satisfying but that is for another day.

If you're honest with yourself you will be frustrated that they really only seem interested in that one track of yours. You'll know there are more tracks you have, that you aren't playing because you don't trust that they'll want to hear. But don't be ashamed to want to keep playing that same track over and over again if it keeps them near. Some of us can't stand silence.

They will stop listening to you and you will be, as you are now, broken and wondering if you were rubbish all along and just didn't know.

You are not.

Because here is where the magic happens.

Some people in your life will be an album.
And you will be an album to many.

Some people will be track after track after track of better and better music that you think is endlessly clever, and more intricate and more elaborately developed.

Some people will be undulating tracks that race you, slow you, make you dance, make you think, make you cry, make you laugh and make you want them to be your own work.

You will be that for them.

Some albums will get cleverer every time you listen to them.
Some albums will play quietly in the background and you'll find them so familiar you almost stop hearing them but you feel the chill when they finish and something inferior comes on.

Your father is the best album I've ever heard. He's the music on the dodgems that makes me want to be 15 and on a sugar high, he's the whale music I want to fall asleep to, he's the music over the opening credits on my favourite sitcom. Every time I reach the end of his album and I think perhaps this is the time I'm bored of him, I wait in a few minutes of silence and there's a new hidden track I didn't know about. Every time the album spins I hear a riff or an instrument or a lyric or a note that I hadn't heard before and I can't believe I'd ever missed.

So, this one that you're crying over now, and do keep crying; it's important, you should. This one that has only heard your single, don't worry about them. It's not that you're not an album, you just weren't an album for them. And they not for you.

In 10 years time you and I will sit together and we'll play this person's single and you won't hate it. You will smile fondly and think of this time when this single was everything. You'll think it a perfectly pleasant piece of music that has it's place in your discography. You'll smile at it on the radio but never play it yourself.

Go and find yourself and album.

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