Self Expression Magazine

Soul Food – Music

Posted on the 17 August 2011 by Tmd05 @tmd05
Soul Food – Music

John Williams - Composer

We can’t always understand each other because of language.  But everyone, in every culture, understands a battle drumbeat or a mother’s lullaby.  John Williams – Composer

I honestly don’t know where I’d be without music in my life.  It has meant so much to me from the time I heard Appetite For Destruction as a 10 year old.  I remember that afternoon well, I distinctly remember thinking afterwards to the effect of, “What was that?  That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.”  This was well prior to growing into an angsty, confused & generally fucked up adolescent, but I knew at that moment that I had found a communication medium that was going to enrich my life forever.  Not that a 10 year old could put too much stock in such lyrical content as, “Turn around, bitch, I’ve got a use for you,” - even after allowing for the fact that my gutter rat sensibility could accurately interpret such a statement – but you get the point:  My life had changed.  In music, I had found something that I related to & was more than willing to submit myself to enthusiastically & without fear of consequence, if any consequence was to be forthcoming at all.  My very being, at its core & to the surface, had turned into something altogether different in the space of 45 minutes.

Whilst I had become acutely aware of how one’s being can be so completely & utterly altered in such a short space of time, I still wasn’t prepared for the further changes that would manifest within myself over a few short years.  By 1991, when I was in year eight, I had no idea of who I was or who I wanted to be.  Something had taken root in my mind for which I had no answer; I was completely lost.  It was that same year that I had made a deliberate, calculated effort to alienate myself from those with whom I had knocked around previously & set about finding others with whom I could connect on a level beyond kicking a football around at lunch time.  In that respect, I got lucky, for those people I did find eventually are my best friends to this day.  However, that’s not to say my personal journey from that point was a smooth one, far from it.  Despite this, I – and, presumably, those who were similarly minded – were fortunate in that it was from around 1991 that the “alternative” music scene began somewhat of a crossover into the mainstream, at least as far as album sales went.  All of a sudden, bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden & Alice In Chains were exploding & kids like me had artists with whom we could relate & enjoy together on a commercial level not previously seen.  Whilst these bands were favourites of mine around this time, (although I must confess I did, and still do think that Smells Like Teen Spirit is a steaming pile of shit) it wasn’t until a couple of years later when I heard  Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins that I believed I had found a band & a record that was able to so comprehensively sum up everything I felt but couldn’t for the life of me articulate.  I don’t know how many times I cried to their music over the following years, it was a lot, I know that much, but that’s OK; I now reflect back on that as me simply being grateful for having a voice, even if the “conversation” went no further than my bedroom.

My depression, anxiety & self doubt would only get a lot worse over the years before it got better, but I still had music & I continued to immerse myself in it.  In 1996, after I turned 18, I bought myself my first guitar & started receiving lessons.  Monday’s were bliss: I had a hush-hush arrangement with my supervisor that allowed me to start work on the 6am shift so as to allow me to make my psychologist’s appointment at the Royal Melbourne that afternoon.  This would be followed by a trip across to Footscray for my guitar lesson.  Times spent in my bedroom during this period meant I was occupied by one of only three activities – practising music, listening to music or sleeping.

To this day, music plays a role in my life that I still sometimes struggle to articulate properly.  The best way to put it, I suppose, is to say that it feeds my soul; I understand it & it understands me.  After all, if I’m listening to music then that is all I’m doing.  As a general rule, when the music is playing then there is nothing else that I can be doing save for little domestic chores around the house or posting nonsensical bullshit on Twitter. Music pulls me in & takes me to a place of warmth & happiness that few other things do; it is still remarkably adept at inducing a tear or two, or at least a lump in the throat.  The difference being these days, whilst I still have occasions where I battle my little demons & struggle to articulate properly, more often than not these emotional musical moments mean I’m reflecting back on a time when I wasn’t so capable of handling said demons, thereby allowing me to proceed in tying a knot around the difficult periods of my adolescence.  Further, it truly is an amazing feeling to be able to sit down with my guitar & approach playing it with the same enthusiasm & be enveloped by the same calmness as I did & was as an 18 year old.

I know not everyone is a music fan but I can’t imagine my life without it, especially now as my daughter is getting older & starting to show an interest in both listening to & wanting to learn about music.  Her developing interest is an enormous source of pride for myself & essentially adds another layer to the importance of music’s presence in my life; I can’t imagine anything else being capable of feeding my soul in such a way which, quite simply, makes me ask – what feeds yours?

Soul Food – Music Soul Food – Music Soul Food – Music

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