When most people meet me they find I’m Friendly, Affable, Smiley, Mumsy (like a group of really tedious dwarves) but my fiction is often Dark, Scary and Violent, the kind of dwarves you don’t want to meet on the walk home from the pub.
I’m a glass-half-full person, carrying a hidden Gothic underbelly.This means I can be totally chilled and positive (Global Warming? Man, the earth will survive. Nuclear annihilation? Nothing a nice hot chocolate and group hug can’t sort) whilst simultaneously being drawn to graveyards, spiders and creaking door hinges.
I’m Mary Poppins wearing Morticia Addams’ undies beneath my frock.
So, when it comes to music, my favourites allow me to dip my toe in sorrow, go ankle deep in heartbreak, and sink up to my neck in melancholy. Sometimes, It’s good to wallow.
Last beat of my heart, by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Forget My Way or Wind beneath my Wings, this is the only track so far I’m definitely having played at my funeral.
When I hear it, I’m twenty again, listening to this for the first time. I’m sitting on the floor of a scruffy flat, desperately in love, wrapped in the arms of that love, wishing the four minutes of this song would last for the rest of my life.
From the opening drums to the introduction of an accordion and the off-kilter lyrics, it’s not mainstream. But as a piece of music to accompany my coffin disappearing behind those crematorium curtains, I can think of none better.
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Wiiliams. Let me just say, I am NOT a classical music fan. Generally speaking, you put me in a room with a symphony playing and I’ll feel instantly depressed… and not in a good way.
But this music moves me. That opening sweep of strings can bring me to the verge of tears.
I don’t know if any clever boffin-types have done studies on this, but I definitely think there are notes/ key changes/ chords that have a direct connection to the emotion-triggers in our brains. They’re like magic buttons you can press to make you feel.
Vaughan Williams isn’t considered a world-class composer by many and the ‘hook’ is from a work of 1567 by another man, Thomas Tallis, but if I want to take the hand of Melancholia and sink beneath the waves of her welcoming sea, I choose this one.
Well, it could be Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins, the tiny, perfect pearl that is Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths, Close to Me by The Cure, Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up) by Florence and the Machine…
But I’m gonna go for… Happy by Pharrell Williams. I shouldn’t, I know. I like nothing else by Pharrell and he needs a good slap for teaming up with Robin Thicke and making Blurred Lines (no, no link for that one- if you want to listen to that rapey, sexist drivel you can find your own way).
But the sun’s shining and sometimes I need to take off my black lace gloves, expose my pasty white skin to the world and soak up some Vitamin D. And it’s the catchiest song ever- damn it!
This was written for the Writing 101 Day Three challenge. It’s late. Soz.