Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved By Music

Music is powerful, it can take you to another place, another time. A song can be your personal Tardis. If I should happen to hear ‘Daddy Cool’, for instance, I am back in high school, 1972, for some reason in the gym, with it’s polished wooden floorboards and instruments of torture for those not athletically-inclined.Me, Alan and Merrilyn, 1973

If I hear Muse’s ‘Knights of Cydonia’, on the other hand, I’m at the Big Day Out in Carlton, 2006, with thousands of other (mostly much younger) people, in a moment of pure joy. It’s 6 days since a huge bushfire (the Mt Lubra Fire) swept around our town, in a night of sparks, smoke and unnatural darkness. The fires burned on for days, around Pomonal and Hall’s Gap. I wasn’t sure if I should leave for the concert, but some rain came, and I went after all. Seeing Iggy front the Stooges brought the same primal  awe as seeing Halley’s Comet just before dawn, years earlier. But when they performed ‘Raw Power’, I was remembering how I’d gone up the hill from home at around 9 on the Sunday before. The worst of the fire had moved past with the wind, and I went to see what I could see. I saw vast flames erupting on top of Mt William, glimpsed fitfully through rolling billows of smoke, a vision of gob-smacking natural  raw power that made me (and the Stooges) seem a pathetic minor detail. At the festival that year I also saw the Violent Femmes (again) – Jesus Walking On The Water was my highlight of their set, Henry Rollins (spoken word), Sleater Kinney, the White Stripes, Mars Volta, Beasts of Bourbon, Magic Dirt, Magic Numbers – I forget who else. Mudhoney and Pearl Jam are playing in 2014, but I don’t think I can hack it any more. Maybe if they banned all those younglings, and put in more shade, I’d think about it…

Even if I’d heard the shout of acclamation that is ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, even if I’d known their music was going to Change My Life, I would never have been at the Palace in St Kilda to see Nirvana in early February 1992. I was almost 36, a ‘mother of five’ – the youngest only 8 months old – and if being the wrong demographic wasn’t enough, my younger sister had died on January 19th, and I wasn’t feeling brave or celebratory. So I never got to see Nirvana, live, in person. I’ve seen a lot of live video, though…

But I did get to hear ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ live, a joyous occasion when we went to see the great Patti Smith as part of the Melbourne Festival in 2008. It was in Hamer Hall, a splendidly traditional theatre. Our seats were in the stalls, quite close to the front, and as the night wore on, more and more people left their seats and crept to the front to dance before Patti. Introverts like myself don’t generally do that kind of thing, but I did stand up and sing along when the band played ‘Teen Spirit’, along with most of the people around me.

This isn’t what I planned to write at all. I was going to write about how I used to love to lie on the bed, eyes closed, cranking ‘Endless Nameless’, and visualising myself running up a narrow sandy path on a hill covered in granite tors. In places, where the music slowed, the going was steep, and where the music opened out, so did the path, as I climbed up, up around the south side of the hill. Finally, I would reach the top, where there’s a broad, flat rock, and as the song pants to a close, I flop down on this rock, and look out across the landscape to the east. It was so relaxing, I must do it again some time. I suppose I should add that this piece of music (the “hidden track” from Nevermind) is not to everyone’s taste, but I love it. It’s chili mac for the ears.

This endless, nameless hill exists in the State of Poetry, just beyond the pine forest where the little tea-house nestles under the rhododendron bushes…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/weekly-writing-challenge-music/

undergradjasmine.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/weekly-writing-challenge-moved-by-music/

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7 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved By Music

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  2. When I saw this prompt the first thing that came to mind was how music instantly transports me back in time, scents and all. I’m not going to have time to write it all down for a post but I smiled after reading yours because we saw many of the same bands at close to the same times, some in small clubs and some in large festivals. 🙂 And I have to admit…I never got to see Nirvana live either…

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