Music Moves

16 05 2012

I don’t know if this happens to anybody else or whether it is just me. When I listen to some songs, I am swept away to places beyond my wildest imagination. Some of these places are real, some of them pure fantasy.

The song that has the greatest effect like this on me is ‘A Month Of Sundays’ by Australian band The Church.

That opening acoustic chord strum sets the scene magnificently. It takes me away to another world. I see myself standing there; in a forest of gold. All the little water droplets that hang on the leaves are diamonds; the streams diamonds too. The leaves are cashmere, warm and inviting. The only thing stopping me from plucking more from their branches is the fact that I have no where to put them. It’s pure luxury. I can see the sun poking through the foliage, but it’s not blinding. The drums play as I take slow steps.

As the lyric comes in, all that disappears. I suddenly find myself in a stereotypical American suburban backyard. It’s a clear, crisp night, stars shining all around and there is snow on the ground. “Walking outside, you come to a door. You go inside and wonder what for. At least it’s good to be out of the wind”. That door is a door to the garage, but there is no car in there, only a few small clues that there has been.

Then comes the chorus and I’m in a different place once again. It is still night, but I’m now back home; I’m in Australia. It’s winter and has gotten dark early. There is a stiff breeze up and it’s blowing across my body from the right. There are people huddled around a fire. Some of them I know, some I don’t. We are only outside because there isn’t enough room inside for us all. There is a tall gum tree in the far corner of the yard and it’s casting an eerie sight. The escarpment in the distance is black while the sky presents a beautiful, rich navy blue. The gum tree looks exactly the same as it does in daylight; that it, there is not much shadow from other houses or structures in the area. The fact that it is so tall and light from the fire and the flood light by the back door reach the very top of the tree sends chills up my spine. Or is that the breeze? I get up to leave, but begrudgingly, just like Steve suggests.

Another song, ‘The Golden Dawn’, again by The Church (yes, they are my favourite band if you can’t tell) has a similar effect. Unlike ‘A Month Of Sundays’, this song is an instrumental. This doesn’t so much transport me to a different place, but also a different time. The weird thing is, I can’t figure out why I go back to this point in time.

The place that I find myself will never be found on any map, it isn’t geological. It is the back seat of my dad’s 1980s XF Falcon. I remember it well. I am a Holden man at heart, but I have fond memories of that car. The car isn’t in the car port, it’s on the road. It’s a hot summer’s day at the beginning of the new millennium, so Australia is still in the stranglehold of drought. Looking out the window, all I can see is grass that is dead or is dying. On our left is Oran Park Raceway.

Not only can I see all this vividly, the smell still lingers in my nostrils. It’s a combination of sunscreen and a small bottle of Castrol engine oil, with the sweet taste of the coconut scented sunscreen dominating. I also remember there being a blue hairbrush in the glove box. In fact, that brush was in all the cars that we had when I was young. As I said, I can’t figure out why this song brings back memories, because it’s not like my dad played it on high rotation.

Now for something different, a song from the Scots; Simple Minds. The song is ‘Belfast Child’. It might just be the fact that they are from Scotland themselves and that is also where most of my family lives, but I always feel myself standing in the Scottish Highlands looking down the mountain side. Down below me are the lights of a small village, behind me is an old castle. Consistent drizzle is coming down and there is an icy wind blowing. An eagle passes overhead. There is a rustle is the bushes not far off, but I don’t flinch; I am at one with the world, nothing can scare me.

Suddenly, a time lapse seems to take place. I am still standing in the same place, my footprints well marked in the shin high grass. Now the village below is near dark, only a few lights remain on; flickering like candles in the wind. The sky has cleared and the drizzle has stopped; looking up the stars are reminders of far off worlds. They make me feel as small as they appear. As I look back down, the last of the light go out. I watch the village like a hawk for a little longer.

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