So console myself of a difficult anniversary, I have turned to the virtues of music, setting myself a challenge to select songs for friends that reflected how I see them.
I’m sure many people join me in feeling that we are always fighting battles – some of our own making, some that aren’t; some we deserve and some we don’t. I was termed “damaged goods” recently. What am I supposed to do with that?
I’ve witnessed many personal relationships thriving. And yet, 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. Working in isolation so long requires something that is always there, always tolerant, always constant. 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.
What do I think suits you?
I’ve always considered music taste to be a fascinating measure of the personality and of thought. So I took on a little interactive exercise.
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.
I gave these a 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 wasn’t just the annual ‘happy birthday’ that we’re often reduced to. It’s thinking about the relationship in some way.
It’s exposing oneself up to vulnerability, offering a musical interpretation of somebody. There’s still quite a lot of embarrassment around the 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.
A fitting conclusion to this collaborative effort is to list the recommended songs. If this is a cross-section of representing friends through music, I must really commend them!
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 .
Perhaps this list can be expanded further in due course. I may yet gather some of the response here as well; the measure of how this kind of interaction benefits everyone, and the impact that music has on everyone’s lives, not just my own. Please feel free to leave thoughts below. Thanks, as ever, for everything.