thoughtsfromthepanda

I do my best thinking while driving. I drive a Fiat Panda.

Archive for the tag “stories”

(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

male

female

tall

short

mostly thin

often long-haired

bald maybe

bearded

clean-shaven

old, young or somewhere in between

smartly-dressed

scruffy

drugged-out

drug-free

usually friendly, and

always opinionated.

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.

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(extract from) Colour me blue, not grey

I like musicians. I like the passion they have for their music. It’s the over-riding colour in their lives; the vibrancy; the soul. Most of all I like rock musicians. Their particular brand of passion strikes chords in my own soul. When I first started hanging out with the band, my horizons expanded again.

“Dig that riff!”

“Listen to that sequence!”

“If I could write a song that makes someone break out into gooseflesh the way I do every time I hear this song… I’m telling you I could die happy!”

The musos I know are essentially gentle people. Four men make up the band and eavesdropping briefly on their lives is always a treat. An evening with Aneshree, Mick and company gets me out of the grey sameness my life has been taking on lately. Three of the group sport long hair and scruffy clothes and with all of them, the preferred drink on these occasions is usually beer or whisky, with music the overriding goddess. With a superior album playing in the background, the conversation is interrupted every now and then to listen reverently to an instrumental section or a piece where the vocals seem to soar into a higher realm – gooseflesh stuff indeed. Their girlfriends – it must be said! – are sometimes left out of the conversation for large chunks of time, but they’re never far away from being appreciated with a quick caress of the hair or a lingering gentle kiss at the right moment. This I observe with a smile as I sit happily cross-legged in a chair letting the music and conversation wash over me.

I met the musos because I work with Aneshree, Mick’s fiancée. Mick is the bass player and after Aneshree and I became friends it was an easy step into the band’s inner circle. Lately, I’ve found my thoughts being interrupted by visions of Francois, the singer, but I still haven’t felt myself ready for anything new despite Aneshree’s hints about how much he likes me. The memory of my last interlude is too sharp. So in the meantime, I’m happy to read his latest lyrics and keep promising that in return, I’ll show him my paintings one day soon – but not quite yet.

“What exactly do you paint?” he asked me the last time I was there.

This is a difficult question to answer.

“Uhm… I sort of paint emotions,” I said after a long-ish pause. “If something touches me deeply I put it onto canvas. Like you with your lyrics, I suppose. So mostly you see people in my paintings – not landscapes. But they’re not coloured according to reality most of the time – my people are usually sort of blue or green depending on the mood. Anyway, I put my emotions down onto canvas through pictures of people. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

“Ah,” he said, smiling. “So just when are you going to let me see these paintings?”

This was definitely striking a still-raw memory.

“Uhm… one day” I said. “Maybe.”

He gave me a sharp look.

“What colour are you right now?” he strangely said next.

“What?”

“Come on – don’t think about it – just answer off the top of your head. What colour are you right now?”

“You are odd! All right – colour me blue then. How about you?”

“Yellow,” he said. “Happy. Is blue happy or sad for you?”

“Both,” I said with no hesitation. “Happy and sad, depending.”

He laughed.

“You really are not helping me here! That’s a very contrary answer. All right – so when is blue happy for you? And when is it sad?”

I thought for a minute and said, “I’ll tell you about the happy but not the sad,” and then launched into the story of those glorious wonderful scary moments in the sky last year.

Man that feeling

Up there, earth below you and above you only sky

Sky and parachute like a great friendly bird taking you back down to earth on your own personal flight through wonderland

When I’m not here with the musicians and their music, my life is turning grey

I miss the aeroplanes and the sky

Life is so boring without blue skies

Must get back into it I miss it so much – even the crazy fear you put up with because it’s followed by the promise of the purest ecstasy I’ve ever felt in my whole life

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