A difficult anniversary is approaching, which has made me think a lot about personal relationships. Thus, I turned, as many have seen recently, to the virtues of music: as a companion, as a friend, and as a saviour.
It’s not easy out there. I’m sure many people join me in feeling that we are always fighting battles: some of our own making and some that aren’t; some that we deserve and some that we don’t. And part of that, from my side, is the life I have set for myself, and what it has done to me. “Damaged goods”, as the expression came recently. I should feel ashamed for living. What’s a man to do?
I’ve witnessed friends working together this week in perfect synchronicity. I’ve witnessed so many personal relationships thriving. And yet, as usual, while I’m glad to be on the periphery of anything positive, I’m so used to solitude (and occasionally negativity) on a daily basis that I’ve always had to find other coping mechanisms.
Music has long been that foil. That is not to say, of course, that there aren’t the best of friends out there, but working in isolation so long requires something that is always there, always tolerant, and always constant.
Music, oddly, cannot know me, and yet knows me better than anyone. When it speaks to me, sometimes I listen, sometimes I more than listen, and sometimes I unwittingly ignore. It cannot judge me or fall out with me. It’s a relationship I need, and cannot do without.
[Mobile users: a lot of videos under the cut]
I’ve always considered music taste to be a fascinating measure of the personality and of thought (supported by a little informal research and an article from a few years ago). Music has also grown increasingly social. It’s a medium that gets shared a lot these days and is always talked about.
What I’ve sought, then, to overcome some demons, has been some interactive inspiration surrounding music. To any friends who declared an interest, I recommended a song from my repertoire that I didn’t think they had heard before (or that they would not likely stumble across themselves) and explained why I thought it was personally suited to them.
It has been quite a challenge; I gave these an awful lot of thought. Some of the respondents I have had little contact with in recent years. Yet, it was an immensely fulfilling exercise, both in opening communication with friends, and in finding a wholesome way of sharing and engaging with them.
It’s exposing oneself up to a certain degree of vulnerability, offering a musical interpretation of somebody. The comments at the source remind me how much embarrassment remains about this subject. Yet, reaching out through music is fascinating for the way in which personal sentiment adopts a new dimension of sensory experience. Some of the feedback on the suggested music has been truly touching, and that makes it all indefinably worthwhile.
The most fitting conclusion to this fabulous collaborative effort is to list all the recommended songs. If this is the cross-section of my taste that represents friends, I can only emphasise how highly I commend them collectively.
The Cinematic Orchestra: Arrival of the Birds & Transformation .
Alphaville: Monkey in the Moon [Live, 1999].
Sleepthief (feat. Zoe Johnston & Coury Palermo): Reason Why .
Enigma: Sitting on the Moon .
Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Bittersweet .
The Saturdays: Issues (Vince Clarke Mix) .
Ladytron: Ace of Hz (Tiësto Club Mix) .
Aeroplane / Chromeo: She’s a Superstar .
Alphaville: Heaven on Earth (The Things We’ve Got to Do) [Live, 2011].
Erasure: Mad As We Are .
Theophilus London: Humdrum Town .
Amaranthe: Enter the Maze .
Kosheen: Little Boy .
Enigma: Following the Sun .
Libera: Mysterium .
Erasure: True Love Ways .
Kai Hawaii / Alphaville: Für Dich .
Ladytron: Light and Magic .
Tiësto (feat. Kianna): You Are My Diamond .
Fischerspooner: Danse en France .
Nick Nolan: Free For All .
Thirteen Senses: Into the Fire .
Ryan Farish: Holding Faith .
Chris de Burgh: The Risen Lord / The Last Time I Cried [Live, 1988].
Alphaville: A Handful of Darkness [Live, 2009].
Sleepthief (feat. Kirsty Hawkshaw): Skimming Stones .
Hopefully, the list can be expanded further in due course. It would also be wonderful to gather some of the response here as well; the measure of how this kind of interaction benefits everyone, and the special impact that music has on everyone’s lives, not just my own. Please feel free to leave thoughts below [can now be done via Facebook and Twitter profiles]. Thanks, as ever, for everything.