Written on the 29th August 2013
Lost in music
“So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it. She taught him that after a celebration of love the lovers should not part without admiring each other, without being conquered or having conquered, so that neither is bleak or glutted or has the bad feeling of being used or misused.”
Hermann Hesse – Siddhartha
We all remember where we were when a momentous event occurs. Hearing a great song for the first time deserves to be held in the same regard; more so perhaps as it is an individual’s history and its consequence takes on a profounder, more personal experience.
Pottering about an attic back in ’93 I first heard Radiohead – it was ‘Anyone can play guitar‘ and I nearly fell out of the sky in my attempts to hear it emanating from the kitchen. It’s a wonderful frisson of enjoyment and enlightenment to savour.
Lovers of proper rock music will have numerous such experiences. A famous example of a tune overwhelming a driver involves that legendary purveyor of top tunes, John Peel. The story goes that he had to pull over on hearing ‘Teenage Kicks‘, such was its magnificence as the gold standard of what rock was about – attitude and melody in perfect harmony.
On a sunny evening driving over the border into County Tyrone at the end of August, I was listening to four lads from Donegal on the radio. No nonsense down-to-earth folk who knew how to play a song and with ‘Carricktine’ they had a wisdom beyond their years. I listened on with interest, through the sleepy town of Aughnacloy.
Coming towards Ballygawley roundabout, they were gearing up for their next song. I’d noted their name, In Their Thousands and made a mental note to go see them. What came next was a John Peel moment. The song itself builds up slowly, deceptively drawing you in and then BOOM, it spears you and you are lost – the brae outside Ballygawley roundabout will forever be the place I’ll recall as being where that musical epiphany occurred, where a sadness I had for two hours lifted instantly and perfect musical harmony in the form of ‘The Pattern’ gave way. The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernini in Rome wouldn’t have a patch on it!
I got in touch with the writer of the song, Ruairí Friel, and he gave me a twenty five minute interview today that I could happily play most of, but the purpose of this piece is to hear a bit more about this great song, what his inspiration for it was and how it grew. ‘It’s a waltz about love and death I suppose’ he tells me at the end and that makes a lot of sense the more you hear it.
Listen to the song at the end of the interview (we only give you a flavour – buy it soon!) and if feeling brave, do a waltz while whispering those words to your muse: ‘your flame never stays the same, your flicker just gets quicker, in the darkness of my room, I finally see the pattern…’ Thank you Ruairi for sharing the song’s provenance and how it developed. Look out for these lads; they too will have people falling out of the sky for some time to come.