Friday, 27 February 2009

Saw the ghost of Elvis...

Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn reminds me of Return to the Forbidden Planet, perhaps more than songs do that were actually in the show. Well. It reminds me of the auditions, and for me that show was so much more about the process than the product, ace though the product was. I end up back in the new music room in Johns watching some guy whose name I don't even remember (he asked us not to consider him for casting in the end - pressure of work) singing his heart out. Hugh was at the piano, dressed in black tie from the night before (...dirty stop out...still one of the funniest things ever and top of the list of stories to tell at his wedding...). The guy just walked in and said he was going to sing something. There must have been a reaction from us on the panel that I don't remember, but he then said, 'or I can sing Walking in Memphis if you like?' Hugh just started playing - not the chords, the full accompaniment, and we had Walking in Memphis. It was fantastic. It was sunny, and I was excited. The words reflected the moment - a beat when there was suddenly more to the world than the everyday. 'But boy you've got a prayer in Memphis'. 'And she said -- "Tell me are you a Christian child?" And I said "Ma'am I am tonight".' It's all about hope, and I love it.

Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes from Paul Simon's Graceland sends me straight back to the A1198 and the A1, driving in the dark with the volume and the heat up as high as they would go. It's a patch of road that has been significant, on and off, for most of my life. The whole album is important, but it's this song that has the association. And I'm driving back from Royston at two in the morning, tired, worried, jittery, elated, buzzing. Or I'm driving back from St Albans in tears. I've done that a few times, but only once with this song in the background. It has T, C, my dad, W, R and all sorts of other people woven through it. I've written about this a bit before. The album wraps up the rollercoaster of the last 4 months of my life in itself. The incredible highs and the deep misery are all there. Love, pain, anger, sadness, loss, relief and joy. I'm sort of proud of the strength and depth of every one of those emotions. I lived them all, and felt, feel, alive through them. It will always mean that, this, part of my life to me. True experiences. I've never listened to it with T, I don't think, but I almost feel about this song and that album the way I feel about my journals. Musical memory, in the way that they are the paper one.

There are other songs, and other memories associated with them. By My side from Godspell, because I've known it a long time has a couple of attachments. Singing it in assembly at school, reasonably well for once. Singing it in the kitchen of the ADC at mini-camp. Damien Rice's Canonball is Andy singing it with the guitar in 95a. And Hugh. Specific moments and emotions. The music is the key to their clarity. I recall totally, just for a flash, but the flash is a bead on a wire.


  1. You made me buy that of Itunes...

  2. Grr, someone effin stole me eff outa the last sentence...

  3. Walking in Memphis I assume, or did you buy Diamonds too? And I'm glad, whichever. They are songs you should clearly own...

  4. Whilst I agree about owning in general, you should totally know about for when people randomly mention songs you don't know in blogs :)

    *Then* go and buy it, once you know you like it!