Posts tagged music
Posts tagged music
I want to write music. But it’s one o’clock in the morning and I have no piano. The formula is in my head, and I think that will last till tomorrow, but I cannot be sure. I want to sit at a piano with a notepad and pencil and no shoes and just write and play and play and write. I want to write about love, loss, laughter - all the cliches.
It’s been too long since I last sung. I need to sing. I miss my voice. All it seems to do nowadays is talk and discuss things about theatre and politics, all it does is order drinks over the bar and make small talk with customers at work. And underneath that is my true voice, the one that sings with soul, the one that I love and miss. I want to sing again. It makes me feel alive when I sing, it’s the one thing that I can do without feeling self conscious because although I can’t hit the high notes, I know I can do it. I have my own style, my own voice. But it’s getting lost.
I want to sing and sing with someone else. I want harmonies to send shivers down my spine, I want the lyrics to light up the air around me and I want to feel the almost unbearable lightness that comes when you close your eyes and let the music carry you away. I want to feel the room explode with emotion, and it doesn’t matter what that emotion is. Emotion is the fuel of music, emotion is what we need in our lives.
There is no better feeling for me than standing in front of people and singing, and seeing the look on their faces. That’s the thing about being backstage - people are amazed when you can perform. And I want to do it again.
Scrap that. I need to do it again.
Tomorrow, I’m going to get all my stuff done, and I’m going to take my clarinet onto campus with me, and I’m going to go into a piano room and write some music. I need to sing again. I need the music.
It could happen to anyone. You get home and walk to your room, and push open the door to find that it’s not yours anymore. Someone else is in there. There is no clutter. No mess. The books on the bookshelves replaced by DVDs, no desk to write imaginings on, no colours on the walls. It is someone else’s room now. And you stand and you stare, and there’s that feeling like you’ve missed the top step going upstairs, but you just keep falling. And then you start to think, is anything mine anymore? Your family treat you the same, but you can’t shake the feeling that you don’t belong. You’re a guest now. Your place at the table seems contrived, the bed that you sleep in is your brothers, not your own. And so you leave early from the two day visit, wait till everyone is out of the house and then pack your rucksack, walk out of the front door. Leave your keys deliberately on the sideboard. And you pause. Your hand lingers on the latch, knowing that if you close that door, you cannot get back in again without the help of someone else. You will be leaving for good this time. And you leave the door ajar as you do the compulsory check for your money, your phone, your passport. And with a final sigh, you pull the door closed. The sound seems to echo.
A dog barks. You walk. You jam your headphones over your ears, attempting to block out the sounds of the street you live - lived - on, wanting to lose yourself in the music. But every song speaks of home, speaks of belonging and it takes a great deal of effort not to run straight back again. You don’t. You flick through to music without lyrics, music that is just beats and synthesisers, hardly music at all, and you fall into step with your own heartbeat. Don’t look back. You feel like the street is disappearing behind you with every step that you take. You turn down the cobbled cut through to the train station.
It doesn’t matter what train you get on, as long as you get on. Pick a platform at the last minute, jump on a train and find a seat. Ask for a ticket to the end of the line, not a return journey of course. Your head is trying to convince you that this is the break you need, this is what will be the making of you. But you cannot ignore the fact that every fibre of your being is crying out for the train to stop, for the conductor to haul you off and send you back home, for your mother to be at the next station to hug you and tell you there’ll always be a place for you there, at home, but where is home now? You’ve grown up. Outgrown home.
There is no home for people like us. It’s not what we do.
With your music, the world twists
The suburban streets are slick with rain
Glistening under flickering streetlights. Footsteps echo.
In my mind’s glass eye the sights reflect and refract
Crooked creatures and smoke filled lungs
The people in suits smile with shark’s teeth and dead eyes
But turn to the mangled madmen and manacled musicians,
It’s safer with them.
So I’ll turn of the light and slip out the door
With glitter in my bowler hat and a broken chord for company
And slip through the cracks in the pavement
To join the rain dogs.
Softly sung folk music filled the air, drifting around the forgotten beer cans and piles of books that were scattered about the room. Carrie strummed the guitar. Her lips were slightly pursed and a small frown creased her forehead as she tried to remember the chord patterns to the song, fingers bending with almost perfectly executed bar chords. She was a pretty girl, her halo of dark hair frizzing around her face in a way she hated but everyone else loved, the kind of hair that people are instantly jealous of no matter how untameable. Undefined lyrics on a quiet voice that, sounding sweet now, was dark and sultry when raised.
Alex occupied the other sofa, tanned skin and creased clothes and threadbare slippers. He sat reading a battered copy of Sherlock Holmes, a tumbler of whiskey balanced on his chest and an inch of stripy boxers showing just above the waistband of his linen shorts. His lips half formed the words he was reading. Every so often, he would lift the glass to his lips and sip, smiling slightly at the taste and savouring it before turning the page and carrying on. He looked educated, bohemian, the way a student should be.
The light was low, four out of the five bulbs glowing and reflecting in the uncurtained windows. The street was sepia under the streetlights. Voices echoed from the nearby pubs and clubs, but they did little to disturb the aura of sophistication that had settled on the room. The flat was quiet.
With a sigh, Alex placed his now empty tumbler on the floor. “Good whiskey.”
“I can’t drink whiskey.” Carrie said, her fingers still plucking nimbly at the guitar strings. “Bad experience.”
Alex smiled at the hint of a story. “Well, go on then…”
“I went to a friend’s party and a guy brought a bottle of whiskey. I drank the entire thing, wouldn’t let him leave or talk to anyone else and just monologued at him for ages. Then I burped in his face, ran off to the toilet and sat there and cried for two hours.” Carrie grinned, her cheeks colouring slightly at the embarrassment of the memory and the volume of Alex’s laughter.
It wasn’t how it seemed. Neither of the two liked each other, not in the way you’re thinking. Alex had a girlfriend, a beautiful girlfriend with honey coloured hair and a great smile, a girlfriend who also happened to be Carrie’s best friend. Carrie and Alex were comfortable in each other’s company, good people to read together. And everything was serene and happy in bohemia.
Bohemia was the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland. There were twenty people sharing the flat where Carrie and Alex were relaxing, but they were out seeing shows or having a drink. By night they were a group of students, fighting for space on the sofas or telling stupid anecdotes. By day, they were a theatre company, performers and production team, professionals, at the Bedlam Theatre. A company to look out for, or so said the reviews. Needless to say, with this amount of theatricals under one roof things got a bit tense, but on the whole people got on with each other. They had to.
The flat was a high ceilinged affair, the second storey of an old house whose stone stairs reminded Carrie of films set in downtown New York. The wooden floorboards creaked no matter how softly people walked on them, and the pictures on the walls were clearly from Ikea or some other department store. But it was home – or had been for the past three weeks anyway. By Monday they would all be back at their separate homes, doing separate things.
Alex wouldn’t be going back to university. He was third year with a degree in theatre and no clue what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Carrie, on the other hand, was going back for her final year of English literature. Another year of lectures and books and pretending to do essays before having to venture into the real world. But she didn’t mind. There was a vague life plan in the back of her head, something clichéd to do with travelling and settling down with a family, but there was nothing certain. Not for either of them. For now, their thoughts were of the final show the next day.
A car engine revved outside as the two of them lay reading, the only sound apart from the occasional turn of the page. Their flatmates would be back within the hour, bringing stories of shows and the faint smell of drinks. But for now, they read, seemingly on a loop. Smiling to themselves they let the night turn into the small hours of the morning, each secretly hoping that the clocks would stop and the daylight would never come.
ADDICTED by Emma Geraghty
Performed by the Malfi House Band
Voice – Carly Schult
Piano – Holly Francis
Saxophone – Lauren Davidson
Clarinet – Emma Geraghty
Drums – Rachel Clutterbuck
Well I call myself a singer of songs but I don’t seem to be heard
And I call myself a writer of poetry but I can’t find the words
If every single line could take me back in time
I’d have no need for cigarettes or booze
Because the saxophone cuts me to the bone
And I can’t wait for my fix of the blues.
Repeat chorus with instruments
V1 I’m sick of life in this old town
It’s driving me insane
Just the same thing day in day out
Sick of playing the same game
Thought of moving to the country
So I could get more sleep
But I wouldn’t last, get me out of there fast
I need people to talk to not sheep
V2 I wanna make my way in the world
Doing what I do best
But what that is I can’t work out
Gotta get this off my chest
Give me the smoke of a jazz bar
Give me the style and romance
Give me the skill and the talent you’ve got
Won’t somebody give me a chance
I need clarinet, saxophone, piano and drums (x4)
CHORUS w. drums only
CHORUS w. all instruments
And in the morning
Will it feel as real
As the night before.
When you’re sober
And in focus
Will he still fill your head
Like he did before.
When you say it’s just one night
And there’s festival lights
Will you still get the buzz
Like the night before
And when your friends make a joke
In the days that follow
Will you still laugh it off
Or will you not be as proud
And not laugh as loud
As you did
All those nights before.
I saw the stars last night
Deep as trenches
As the bass shook the earth.
And people swayed with the music
And prayed with the music
Wishing that every night
Could be like this.
Song and poetry, first go on music editing software.
Poem: First Writing Since, Suheir Hammad
Song: Will I, Jonathan Larson, Rent.
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.