Adventures of a University Finalist

Monday, February 20, 2006

Crisis Talks in the Middle Classes


A Girl Called Eddy - Girls Can Really Tear You Up Inside

Change of tack again. I'm now looking to move away from a platform that focuses on individual songs toward more general theses. I have found myself recently missing the opportunity to speak at length on music as a social phenomena and I think that this can be seen by my rather lacklustre prose over the last month since my return. So to begin this new revival in the fortune of Adventures... I thought I'd begin with my thoughts on what I like to term aural medicine; those songs that one reaches out for in times of hurt and crisis. This is mainly due to such a crisis moment striking me only yesterday after a particularly harsh reminder of this life's bitter truths. So there I was - a sullen silhouette stretched across the minimalist background framed by my bed sheets crying out to oligarchs, spectres and tyrants to save me from such pain and then it happened. Initially, there was a insubstantial thrum that one could have possibly mistaken for an inefficent radiator. This was soon replaced by a piano simplistically sketching an equivalent to rain drawing an elliptical pattern on the canvas of a bedroom window. Then came the recognition and words upon my lips. 'Heartache' by A Girl Called Eddy, the beautific Richard Hawley produced miserabilist. Why this particular song would appear I have no particualr idea. Maybe it was the ghost of Freud whispering in my ear. Perhaps it was a particular need for self-immolation especially when one considers that listening to her admittedly fine album leads to unwarranted stigmata travelling up your forearm. It really is the boy meets girl dynamic taken to the zero end of the Love Is.. continuum.
This of course led to dust being blown off a long neglected digipak and revelatory repetition of the opening track, 'Tears All Over Town' before a wet shave and a quick effort at progressing further through the new Ian McEwan paperback. There was also the advantage of feeling a lot less drained at the end of the exercise than I had been at the start. Now could such a rapidfire recovery have been achieved by some comfort television ('Angel' preferably pre-Fred), a good book (some Loeb/Sale Batman collaboration or some of Busiek's Astro City), or even a different song? It's an interesting question. Why did those fraternal twins representing that most flawed of democracies, the brain, decide upon a song from an album that had to be switched off whilst driving through the Peak District as it brought about images of tyres colliding with low stone walls? Why not that eternal pick-me-up of solid Kraftwerk funk, 'Love Machine'? Why not Todd Rundgren's whimsical 'Marlene'? Why not the frankly idiotic 'Smackwater Jack' by evergreen popstress Carole King? Does such an unconscious derive from personal circumstances, the form in which the crisis unfolds, or perhaps even a completely random generation. Could an extra degree of personal grief have resulted in Neko Case's 'Guided By Wire' tickling the speakers' output? I think that's what makes this particular brand of remedies: the inevitable moment of shock and awe.
Then again, I may not be the best case for this kind of activity. Songs do not stick to me like pollen as they do to other members of this species that has a penchant for savouring the hermetically sealed moment. Probably one of the most significant factors in a person's listening pleasure is past experience. For instance, the Pearl and Dean theme tune just sends synapses a poppin' for me without any movie connotations required whereas for others it no doubt brings about memories of back seat fumbles, the smell of stale popcorn and battles for arm rests. As a result, I'm sure that other people have had experiences so powerful that the external stimuli surrounding the event has sent them into never ending listening feedback loops of the same three songs playing on the jukebox in the dive where their first love broke their heart. Frankly, my rampant and unabated mission for eclecticism naturally prohibits me from becoming too attached to one single three minute assemblage of chromatic structures and chords.
So, I guess that means that I've now become a little interested in what my readership makes of the subject. Do you have a single song for rejuvenation (and if so did it come from a less than expected source)? Or is it a more haphazard process? Could it even be deemed by as precise a term as "process" at all? Emotions have long defied easy categorisation otherwise literature as an effective medium would long ago have ceased and we would have a world without such pretencious art voyeurism as 'Me and Everyone Else I Know'. Can music ultimately harness them? After last night, I'm not so sure.

Buy - A Girl Called Eddy