I spent hours trying to work out the lyrics to my favourite song, but mi conocimiento de las lenguas is very limited so I have to content myself with listening. It came off a CD my dad lent me full of music from South America that he used to listen to when I was little. One of my earliest memories is the song “Mas Que Nada” by Jorge Ben - as a five year old I knew the chorus but not what it meant. Me and my dad used to sing along to it in his Alfa Romeo driving to his house.
With my dad, music is a central part of our lives. I played the violin because it was the only instrument taught by my primary school. My dad inspired me to learn the guitar, the drums, the clarinet, singing, the piano… Weekends at his house were (and still are) spent playing music and listening to things out of the mainstream. My dad’s hands which held me so softly play such rhythms on the drums that I can’t help but sing along. He used to do the music, and I’d do the lyrics. Now we both do our own.
But real music is dying. My little sister’s favourite artist is Justin Beiber. My brother’s is Eminem. When I visit home, I make them dance to Glenn Miller and the Buena Vista Social Club. I don’t listen to pop music if I can avoid it. Give me Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Genesis, Queen, Rush, Suzanne Vega, Seth Lakeman, Daryll Scott, Tom Waits. Definitely Tom Waits. Give me music in different languages, sing to me from Iraq and Vietnam and Mongolia and Sweden and Spain and India. Don’t make me endure Lady Gaga and her stupid fashion sense any more.
Since when has music been about image? When did the sound cease to matter and the style takeover? I don’t listen to the radio that much because I can’t stand the processed crap that is pumped into the homes of everyone in England. Bring back jazz. Bring back the music we danced to decades ago. I wasn’t born then, but I put on those songs with their ritmos Latinos and I am there. Give people the music that they deserve, not the pop culture that we have sunken into.
There is no dance more powerful than the one you dance for yourself. In your room, on the street, in a bar… When you close your eyes and abandon yourself to the twists and turns of the rhythms that invade your mind. You feet start to tap, your hips go from side to side and you raise your arms above your head. Spin. You know you want to. And close your eyes. You dance better with your eyes closed, trust me.
And all the better if the music is in a different language. Music IS a different language - the melody, the harmony, the percussion. The less you think about the lyrics the more beautiful your dancing is. Let your mind wander - you’re not in your room any more. You’re in Brazil, it’s getting close to midnight and it’s raining. The heat is wonderful. You can hear echoes of music from a nearby bar. Dance. Make yourself move, tire yourself out. You will be breathless, but there will be a smile on your face.
Just a bit of automatic writing, let’s see how it goes »»»»»»»
When you dream in technicolour and songs fill your chest with an unbidden desire for adventure. You can’t help but hope. You can’t stop smiling.
On top of a cliff, staring out over an expanse of forests, and you wonder: what is out there? You want to explore everything, you want to live more than you have lived before. This is it.
When you spin in circles in the rain accompanied only by the bemused looks of passers-by as they hurry along under black umbrellas. You want to tell them to throw away their raincoats and laugh with you, but just smile to yourself instead. They wouldn’t understand.
Tonight is yours, irrevocably and irresponsibly yours. Dream for as long as you want, the light will reach you sooner than those locked away in offices and slouched in front of television screens. Chase the shadows, trust yourself - you don’t need a torch, the monsters under the bed and in the cupboard are more afraid of you than you are of them.
Don’t just seize the day, embrace it. Hold it close to you and whisper your dreams in its ear. Live for the moment, because if you look to far into the future you will be overcome. Life is there to be consumed, it is there to inspire, to give you imagination and a reason for being. It is not there to be predicted or planned. Don’t waste your hours preparing for a future that is uncertain - be proud to be alive, be proud of each breath you take, never stop marveling at what life has to offer. Don’t be afraid. Be curious. Don’t be angry. Forgive and move on - life is too fleeting to hold grudges, and you might lose something in that moment of rage that you can never regain.
You are the day and the night and all the thoughts inbetween. You are the catalyst. You are the sculptor, the author, the poet. You are yourself, completely and unfailingly you. Surrender to the dreams in technicolour and the desire for adventure.
I would like to say I’d die for you. I’d like to say I would endure all the circles of hell for you, I would take your place in front of a firing squad. I will save myself for you - I will not hurt myself because I know how much it would hurt you. I will never leave your side. I will be yours and exclusively yours. You are perfect. I am only complete when I am with you. You make my life beautiful. I love you.
But I’ve been taught not to lie.
I would never die for you. I wouldn’t endure all the circles of hell, and I certainly wouldn’t get shot for you. What I will do is live - not for you, but for me and for the moment. Live as fully and as completely as I can. Because death would achieve nothing apart from grief and the eternal unknown. I will breathe and consume life in all it’s pitfalls and glories.
I will not save myself for you - I will get ink tattooed all over my skin because that is what I want. I will get piercings as well. I will get so angry that I split my knuckles punching a wall - it’s happened before. I will take risks because I love the thrill of putting myself in danger. Because it makes me feel alive.
I will leave your side. I will take myself away for weeks because I need time alone as much as anyone else and maybe more. I will only end our relationship when I feel like there’s nothing else I can give - I’m only willing to put so much work into this. I never envisage long-term relationships. When it does happen, I will appear to get over it quicker than you, but it might tear me apart inside.
I am not yours, I never will be. I am my own person, and I belong to me. You’re almost on par with my family and friends - almost.
You are perfect? No you’re not. I wouldn’t be with you if you were.
You do not complete me. You do not make my life beautiful. I don’t need someone to complete me, that’s not what this is about. You make my life hellish and full of nightmares because of the way you make me feel - like the world is out of my control because you make my head spin and my knees weaken and my stomach twist and all the other cliches that this kind of thing is meant to do.
I don’t love you.I do love you, from the depths of my heart and mind. That’s something I would never lie about.