I’ve had a shitty month.
I’m lucky enough to have never been cursed by real illness, loss or poverty so I won’t pretend that I actually have a tangible grievance. But I got kicked in the balls by the last few weeks and although I guess it’s not the end of the world, the surprise and growing dull ache are enough to think I deserve a little bit of time to lean against a wall clutching my gut.
Am I going to share the cause with you? No. I don’t want to be that kind of blogger but the background of my mental state is probably important for what I want to write about.
I’ve been avoiding feeling sorry for myself but I’ve also been avoiding really socialising. Just not in the mood. I find it difficult to hide my emotions and have noticed recently then when people ask me how I am I seem to respond with a shrug, scrunched up face and ‘yeah, you know…. alright’ and a swift subject change. I don’t particularly want to inflict that on people. I certainly don’t want to discuss the root of my ‘alrightness’ so, it’s been me, the cat and the complete Frasier box set for a couple of weeks.
Unavoidable on my calendar was last night, though. The Rockingbirds were in town. True devotees of this blog, if such things exist, might remember that my very first post, the thing that inspired me to start a blog at all was The Rockingbirds’ reunion show. You can read that post here. Anyway, I haven’t been in much of a giggy mood and there are very very very few bands who I would have felt I couldn’t miss right now. Luckily they’re one of them.
It blows me away, the effect music has on the soul. I’m sure people have done many scientific studies to explain exactly what it is. I prefer to think of it as a little bit magical. The thing is, The Rockingbirds have been there since I was a kid. Even if they weren’t together or playing or producing anything new, that first album has always been there for me. Other things come and go. For a while, The Cure’s Disintegration was a musical angst-sanctuary. Then Superchunk’s Here’s Where The Strings Come In. The Lemonheads’ It’s A Shame About Ray. These are all still great albums and serve their purpose from time to time. But The Rockingbirds’ eponymous debut doesn’t age, is untainted by shifting trends or acquired wisdom. It’s beans on toast, Morecambe and Wise and Star Wars.
Seeing that same band who I adored as a kid still together, still singing songs, still clearly doing it for the love of it was a beautiful thing. But hearing those songs was magical. And I sang along. And I realised that these same songs have always been there for me. From my early teens right the way to my mid-thirties now. And they’ve said and meant different things to me every time I’ve had to fall back on them. And the songs have grown with me and, really, traveled along with me. And each of our lives is an individual road and sometimes we’re walking en masse with good friends or family, sometimes it’s just you and the person you love and you can’t control their journeys, ultimately you have to decide your own route and sometimes that means you’re going to be walking alone. And when you are, it’s so good to have your music with you.