There’s this party game (for very boring parties) where you ask people to list the following items in order of what they most require to what they can most do without. The items are food, sex, music, movies, and books. Whenever I play this game, music is always right on top. The other items change depending on time of day or month. Unsurprisingly, food is usually bottom.
I like music. I like it in the background while I work, while I shower, while I eat, sometimes when I’m reading, though it can also be distracting because I tend to slow down and sing along. This is also why I cannot listen to music during sex, because most of the time I am trying to remember lyrics or thinking of the video and then the music becomes far more important than other things and it’s like shhh, I need to sing the chorus.
I also like music because specific songs draw up very sharp, crisp memories of what my life was like when I first listened to them. They remind me of people, some I still know and many whom I don’t, and the grubby crowded smell and feel of life when I was younger.
When I listen to Sean Kingston or Timbaland, I can smell the floor wash-cigarettes-tequila-perfume-sweat cocktail of scenets that’s 10 Downing Street. Interestingly, 10 D smells the same in Hyderabad and in Chennai. Who knew? Don’t Tell Me by Madonna and Kiss From A Rose takes me back to playing hours of Civilization: Call To Power when I was in school. I love that game. I miss it. I was always India or Indonesia, and my Chieftain Title was Dame Shoutalot.
Undergraduate life was punctuated by music, most of which I barely listen to anymore, especially since my poor old iPod died on me, taking with it playlists of tracks that defined my life. Bands like Dashboard Confessional and Blink-182 have long since been consigned to the waste basket of memories, though I can still listen to I Miss You and What’s My Age Again from time to time with a nostalgic pull. Boston by Augustana and Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs were Reuben, through-and-through; my Reuben who now feels so far away, when we used to pile into his grubby silver Delhi license plated Alto (was it even an Alto?).
Reuben who is still saved on my phone as Father, more than three years after the phone calls stopped.
Most of that music ended.
Now the memories and the music are all blurring. Mysterious Ways is for you; most songs now are for you, and for me when I am happy and not tired.
Back In The USSR turned up unexpectedly on the radio last week, and that thrill was enough to take me through the rest of a miserable evening.
title source: trains by porcupine tree