Morning all, well it’s monday and we’re back to regular full five day week’s for a while. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I know I can’t possibly make it up to you, but I shall try with this, my column from yesterday’s Sunday Times:
A MILLION MILES FROM NORMAL – By Paige Nick
WHAT’S THE MEANING, WHAT’S THE MEANING OF LIFE?
There are lots of reasons why some people choose to live alone. Some don’t want a person they fancy to see them in their oldest, most comfy pants. While others would be humiliated if a partner were to discover the state of the lappies in their sink, or how much butter they go through in a month.
Those things don’t bother me so much. Take me, take my slippers. There’s an entirely different reason why I choose to live alone, and that’s because I’d be mortified if anyone I cared about discovered how pathetic my CD collection is.
It’s not that I don’t like music, I love it. It’s just that I’m not very good at it. I don’t know how most people manage to keep up with what’s going on in the music scene. Which band just brought out what record, which singer is doing whom, and what cut of meat Lady Gaga is wearing this week? I’ve also never quite understood the point of remixes, and forgive me, but until yesterday I had no idea what ‘feat’ is supposed to mean when placed in a song title.
iTunes and having an iPod has helped marginally, but on a deeper, more genetically dysfunctional level, I simply lack the musicality to know what’s what. When someone asks me what kind of music I’m into I usually try to change the subject by tripping, or spilling something on myself. I’m so musically lame, that I couldn’t even pick out a favourite genre, I really do like a little bit of everything, depending on the mood or the occasion. Major musical-life fail, I know.
But I’m not completely melodiously challenged. Putting the music itself aside for a moment, lyrics have always fascinated me. It seems there’s a song out there for every imaginable life situation. There are songs for if you’re single, songs for if you’re in a relationship, and songs for if it’s complicated. Songs for if you lost your dog, ate a cake, and went to space. There’s even a song for if you walk like an Egyptian.
No matter what you’re going through, you just have to turn on the closest radio and somehow the tune that’s playing feels like it’s talking directly to you. Maybe it’s because we’re the complicated opposably-thumbed creatures that we are. But we have this incredible ability to insert our own meaning into stuff, especially music.
When you’re going through a break-up, every song feels like it’s about loss, heartbreak and sorrow. Or if you’ve just met someone, chances are the song playing will be about waiting for the phone to ring, or roses and kisses and oh baby’s. At the time it almost feels like they wrote that song especially for you. Whether that’s actually what the artist had in mind at the time is another matter entirely.
Take the hit song, Life, by Des’ree, for example. It goes (feel free to sing along): ‘I don’t want to see a ghost/It’s a sight that I fear most/I’d rather have a piece of toast/And watch the evening news. CHORUS: Life, oh life, oh life/oh life/doo, doot doot dooo/Life, oh life, oh life, oh life/doo, doot dooo’.
Now, depending on how you’re feeling when it plays, you could take it to mean that Ms ’Ree is pondering the meaning of life and that she has a fear of dying and becoming a ghost, and wondering what we were put on this earth to achieve, and is reminding us to enjoy the little things in life, like toast. Pretty deep stuff, man.
Except, chances are that when Des’ree wrote that back in 1998, she was just having a slow day at the piano and it was a general smash and grab for words that rhyme with ghost, toast, and most. Or maybe she was feeling a little peckish, so she really did just want to eat a piece of toast and be in the park in the dark, and it’s unlikely that it has anything to do with having an existential crisis about the meaning of life at all.
But either way, don’t worry, be happy. If you need a certain song to have a specific meaning to help you get through the day, more power to you. Or rather, in the words of Usher (feat. Lil’ Jon and Ludacris): ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! Yeah, Yeah! Yeaah!’(repeat).