(extract from) The siren song
When I was very young and all the lessons lay before me, I revered the music makers as god-like creatures from another planet. Each week, with fanatical devotion, my friends and I would buy the magazines that printed interviews, photos and song-words, and from these and top-40 radio we were informed, entertained and guided.
The music makers fed our emotions. They said:
This is good, or
That is bad, and
we believed them, and were mystified if we didn’t understand. We wondered then what they heard that we were deaf to.
The music makers are
old, young or somewhere in between
usually friendly, and
In other words, music makers come in various guises, but there is always some mark that sets them apart. I always thought it was something in the eyes. If you look closely, and in the right light of course, you will see a different sort of soul shining through.
Different. There’s the thing. Different how? Different why? And do we envy the music makers, or pity them for this mark that sets them apart?
This depends. When they soar through the heights, we envy and adore. When they fall, we are mocking, scornful or sad, depending on our own innate generosity.
I shared my life once with a music maker. I put words to his music and spiritually, for a while, we were twins.
A genius with the guitar, he had a voice like honeyed smoke, with that bad boy allure any good girl worth her salt wants to tame. His hair was long and said ‘So what?’ to the rest of the world, and I really liked that – later. In the early moments of seeing him though, he had no street cred for me at all except in his soaring fingers, because he was stuck in a raucous pub doing bad covers for the drunken Friday night masses. Wasting his considerable talents being the background notes to a bottle blonde who fancied she could sing, he was disillusioned with life and hungry for something new. We met at the bar counter while the blonde was strutting her stuff without him in the misguided belief she was doing the song unplugged.
He smiled at me, and in the dim light at that particular moment I saw in his eyes the shadow of the mark. Noting the ‘So what?’ hair, my gloom lifted and I smiled back. He asked me then if I was enjoying the music – careless, unspectacular small talk. It irked me because I suddenly and instinctively knew he had much better conversation to share. I looked away briefly to order another red wine, and looked back. Red wine always makes me very truthful and sometimes a bit stroppy, especially when it’s a common-or-garden box wine as this particular glass was, and I decided not to get bogged down in small talk because it was boring and predictable and I really couldn’t be bothered any more.
So I replied truthfully: “No, not really. It’s a pity you’re doing this commercial crap, covering other people’s songs, because I noticed you can actually play.”
His eyebrows shot up just as the barman returned and slid a red wine towards me and a whisky towards the music man.
“Put her drink on my tab,” said the music man, and the barman nodded and moved away.