By Hans Ebert
Money isn’t the root of all evil. Often, pettiness and petty people are. And so, after a few months of being surrounded and hounded by pettiness, and those who will always dwell in Petty World, I took off with a friend for what was going to be a one week break in Australia, where all we were going to do was bet on the horses, meet some new and interesting people who just might add something new to our lives.
Both of us had worked in music, we had met the movers and the shakers, but owned up years ago that fawning over successful musicians had become tiresome, whereas working with and to try and make struggling musicians understand their shortcomings was a struggle we didn’t need at this juncture in our lives. That umbilical cord had to be cut and listening to constant angry nattering at the world had to stop.
The week in the land of Oz turned out to be three weeks. It was a spontaneous U-turn. Whereas my travelling companion left after a week to be home with his family, hearing “The Logical Song” in a bar the afternoon before the scheduled flight back home made me decide that, Nah, why go back? The weather was brilliant, old friends introduced me to new friends, Supertramp was playing in my head, and I was thoroughly enjoying this new space I had found for myself, and which was a million miles from long rambling emails and sad, lost souls angry with the world.
The eureka moment was that, once again, music had dug me out of a hole that was suffocating me. As a girlfriend who came down to be with me put it, “Baby, who ARE these people? You meet some random people on social media, continue to take in strays when you know their pasts, and still trust them?” She then went over and put on Van Morrison’s “Moondance” album- and we danced to it. No words, we just held each other and danced. And I seldom dance. It was liberating, and suddenly there was clarity.
Listening to Sir Van sing “Into The Mystic” rocked my soul like in the days of old. Despite being 38, my friend is probably 120 years old when it comes to music appreciation. That night we talked and listened to everyone from Dylan, Jeff Buckley and Tom Waits to the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Ella Fitzgerald. I slipped in “Your Move” by Yes and asked her to listen to one particular line: “Send an instant karma to me/initial it with loving care.” It wasn’t a last goodbye, but maybe it is, or a lengthy break, but even break ups are so much easier to take when said through music.
That break away from the toil and trouble and the same old same old was a refresher course in who and what really matters in one’s life, and how, there’s a song attached to each. Of course with marriage, and the end of one, there’s an uncharted and unfinished bittersweet symphony even if that train might have left the station comprising everything from Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Our House” to the failure to accept reality heard on 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love”, and the hopelessness of Godley and Creme’s “Cry”. Big boys DO cry.
Life goes on, and dwelling and holding onto the past gets no one anywhere. Memories are great to carry with you, but there also comes the time to cut off all ties with those holding you back.
Again, music talks to you and gives you advice even good friends cannot. Maybe it’s because they’re not you, perhaps they don’t really know the inner you, and which music always manages to find. There’s no escape from music. But why run away from the one thing that keeps you honest? And sane. It’s there in the songs of Dylan, Lennon, Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and all those great lyrics Bernie Taupin wrote for Elton John like that “blue jean lady, LA Lady who married a music man”. Wonder whatever happened to that ballerina dancing in the sand?
In Sydney, I met my old mate Mark from our days in advertising. Mark’s been through hell and back, but he’s still there kicking on, being inspired, inspiring others and staying positive. What keeps him going? The love and support of a good woman and music.
We don’t see each other as often as we once did, but what keeps us in each other’s hearts and minds is music- the sharing of music. No agendas, but just the unselfish act of sending an email from time to time with a YouTube link saying, “You gotta check this out”.
The sharing of music. The joy in sharing music. And how such a simple act makes one a better person without having to tell the world what a changed person you are when actually always imprisoned by being crippled inside. Now, go forth and get some music into your life- and share it with those you really care about. You never know where it might lead…for you and for them.