I have learned to play, more or less, the Londonderry Air on my new harp. The low A was out, so it didn’t sound quite right, but it sounded like the tune most of you know as Danny Boy. I even managed to get a few bits of harmony going. I even managed, I think, to get the posture correct.
It sounded like a tune you might recognise, at least.
I am moved, therefore, to think upon music. I know a lot of people like music, a lot of people love music, and there’s a section of society for whom it is everything.
Music isn’t everything for me. I wish it were, then perhaps I’d get somewhere with it, perhaps I’d have the dedication necessary to become truly great. Aside from singing, on which I remain untutored, it never has been. I suspect singing is always there because the instrument is just always there.
I say ‘music isn’t everything’, but that’s only because the movies and writing got in the way. I’d like to call myself Renaissance Girl, but that implies a skill that is not present. Music isn’t everything… but it should be. Music isn’t everything, but for me, it very nearly is.
Everytime I say ‘without music, I’d be dead’, it sounds entirely simplistic and over-dramatic. Believe me though, when I say that without music, I would be dead. Today has not been a good day, but there have been two bright spots: first, when I was finally typing out scads of stuff I’d written ages ago; second when I was playing Danny Boy on a cheap harp with cheap strings.
Without music I’d be dead. Or at least very, terribly hollow and dead inside. I might still live and breathe, but who would I be? I talk music most of the time, I think music even more. The only things that distract me from music are writing, movies and myself. That’s it. There’s nothing else.
Without music… who would I be? I define myself, the very basis of who I am, on the music I love, just as I define people by the music they like or love. It’s why I could probably never be true friends with a Phil Collins fan, because it’s absolutely everything I am not.
After all, wasn’t it at Knebworth where a crowd full of middle-aged middle-class women ignored Robert Plant, then started screaming for Phil Collins? I find this hilarious, because it’s the exact opposite of what I think should be. I don’t even really understand it.
Random thought that, wasn’t it? I define and shape myself by the music I listen to. It creates and informs my moods for better and for worse, while it does its thing on my personality in ways even I don’t conceive of.
Why all this now? Because I’m down, I suppose, because I can feel myself slipping back into the place with no air, no light, no happiness, as cold and heartless as a dementor. I’ve been buoying myself artificially with the Traveling Wilburys, but even I know that it can only last for so long.
When the Wilburys lose their power, I will fall back in the hole. The problem with having music as your master is that it only lasts as long as the song. When the song ends, what am I left with?
Without Jim Morrison, without Philip Lynott, without Dean and without Mario and without Led Zeppelin, I might be dead. But without them, what could I be?