By Hans Ebert
I was half-watching a repeat of the television series “Life On Mars” the other night and on came “Reflections Of My Life” by Marmalade. I can’t remember if I ever saw the band perform ‘live’, but this track was hugely popular in Hong Kong when some of us were in our first bands, and others were in the middle of their first slow dances.
From half-watching “Life On Mars”- it’s a very good, gritty series, by the way- to “full-time” listening to the song for the first time made me realise just what a very good pop song it is- a perfect balance of words that rhyme and melodies that soar. After that, the mind went into Rumble In The Jungle Overdrive- a tumbleweed connection of the night before, love, the sex mistaken for love, the only real love, the songs that matter, David Bowie and Glenn Frey leaving us, all the great music they made, all the music you’ve been promising yourself to make, but put off for another day that seldom comes, mortality, those who matter, those who continue to disappoint, the strays taken in, the shakers, fakers and two-time wasters, rights from wrongs made along the way etc etc. it was Hendrix singing Dylan’s “Crosstown Traffic”.
While the mind clicked away going backwards, forwards, and into today, and back again to that filtering process where you stay with who and what makes you happiest today, playing with all those pictures in my mind had a musical soundtrack.
Each of us has a musical soundtrack to our lives. It’s what brings us together, and share stories and grief when a Bowie or a Frey passes through to the other side. This is one of the best things about social media: the ability and the means to be alone in a crowd with only thoughts for company, and that you’re still able to mentally check out and share thoughts with friendly strangers- strangers with whom you have more in common than those close to you in real time.
And on every journey you take- and the most meaningful are often taken alone when deciding that going out for the sake of going out, or moving in with someone for the company, never lasts while accepting mistakes made, and thinking, What If.
Though loathe to look back and regret anything while asking, What if, having this thought pattern accompanied by music- that personal jukebox playing in your head- can often inspire, and also offer clarity when confusion reigns and grey clouds gather above.
Music is our secret weapon. Music has a healing power that has been scientifically proven, yes, but it also has the power to move us from here to there and places where one should be, or where, for some inexplicable reason, we find ourselves. Often music has guided us there. As Marmalade sang, in music are also reflections of our lives.
Me, I’m a romantic, probably to my detriment. I love women, and despite a failed marriage that I managed to detonate for no other reason than I could when my companion, partner and lover was- and remains- the only woman for me, and “passing fancies that in time might go”, the thrill of the chase is hardly gone.
We each have an internal driving force and mine is the cocktail of women, romance and songs. Sometimes, I wonder if I am more in love with the emotional quotient behind a song, which needs a woman to live out the lyrics, or if it is actual attraction with some degree of commitment. And then there are those times when things become self-entrapment. This is when that song has ended, but you’re still with the same woman wondering how the hell to get out of the relationship with no dramas and Stealers Wheel are singing “Stuck In The Middle With You” and you’re the joker to the right having his head kicked in by Reservoir Dogs.
Life has a nasty habit of never going according to the script in your work. It doesn’t work that way, and there is no such thing as an “amicable parting”.
Still, all these are life lessons and everyone handles relationships in different ways. One can hang in there and become resentful of the other person, or make that decision to walk away realising the best counselling sessions are the songs you carry with you throughout life, and the new ones picked up along the way.
As for my box of musical chocolates, it’s a varied one, but mostly influenced by that special “her”- hope she reads this- and some of the space oddities collided into while wandering off into a walk on the wild side while those coloured girls went, “Shoop de doop da doop da doop”. Music. She’s our best friend and most loyal partner offering unconditional love no matter how much it hurts. Sometimes, hurt is good.