Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How much away is Manchester?

I get something into my head, a song for instance or an idea, and I overdose on it, moderation does not seem to be a great part of my nature. I named one of my favourite songs last night and then thought about why. It took me a while but I realised what it was about this song that gets me, it’s the memories that have attached themselves to it, the memories of people and places. The things I have attached to the song. It reminds me of my 25th birthday (I think I mentioned that my parties are always a mess) and two of the attendees. Well, sort of.

I was living in a shoebox at the time and my friend, some of you might remember the long since unmentioned, the LLL had tripped her way down from Brisbane and we made rather a time of it. Some weeks, despite being alcohol sodden, are remembered with startling clarity. That shoebox has such a golden glow for me; I was happier (and unhappier) there than I’ve ever been. It was a dire little hole in the wall but the whole of Newtown was out my back window and I loved it. I remember where everything was, all the furniture, the marks on the wall, the six million cockroach corpses, I remember the hot late summer nights watching tv and drinking pink slurpees, I remember getting fucked off my face, I remember the phone calls, I remember the arguments, I remember the texts, I feel like I remember everything. It was a weird year, I suppose. I don’t even know what brought the LLL my way, just my birthday possibly. I was in love with Newtown and passed the contagion on to my friend.

The stereo sat on the chest of drawers that my aunt had lent me the year before; I still have that stereo, those drawers. A few weeks later it would be the witness of lines and longing but on this day it was just music. Now the LLL and I rarely agree on music. Her lack of love for Jarv never ceases to horrify me and I will never forget her Spice Girls phase. Still, we usually manage to rub along okay – even better if, say, one ends up Retro. ‘You have to listen to this.’ *Groan* And I played her Piazza, New York Catcher and she liked it. It’s all in the lyrics, baby. Yeah, I know. It reminds me of her to this day because, of course, when she ran away to England I was supposed to run with her. I regret not going more and more but that’s probably because I feel the need to bolt. It’s also because I miss my friend, my supreme drinking buddy, and one of the few people to really appreciate who I am and what I’ve come from.

The second memory is more of a place, a little place in the sun midmorning just outside the back door where I used to have my morning tea and apple. A little place that M. would follow me to if ever he was around. It was, I suppose, our place. I sometimes used to kick the half deflated soccer ball against the wall out there. It was where we sat and got stoned that Easter – so discreetly even though we were, I think, the only ones home. It was where we sat and chatted and procrastinated back when we were friendly but not friends and long before we ceased being friendly at all. It is a particular line that gets me every single time - The sun upon the roof in winter will draw you out like
a flower
and it did, you know, for both of us.

How could it not be a favourite song when it reminds me of two people I have loved so much and who, these days, I never see? I miss them so much and I miss the time I had with them. I’ll send this to the LLL, she’ll understand but M. is gone from my life and that’s something else I regret.


Mark said...

Um, what else is good by Belle and Sebastian? Are there other songs where they don't sound vaguely amateurish and embarrassing?

nailpolishblues said...

Er, possibly they always do? It might be part of their appeal. What have you listened to?

colonel eggroll said...

This is a great post. I just finished reading the catcher in the rye, and your post reminds me of the end where he says "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

So true.

nailpolishblues said...

Excellent point, Julia. I must remember that.

Mark said...

I was thinking of stuff like Sleep the Clock Around and If You're Feeling Sinister. Songs like that really made me not want to listen to more B&S.

nailpolishblues said...

I didn't really get into them until Fold your hands[..?] and have never really delved into their archives. I guess their later stuff is slicker.